Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Challenge: Clean Those Fridge Door Shelves

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been trying to organize and declutter my home bit by bit, 15 minutes at a time. Right now, it is the turn of the fridge door; a small space consisting of a few shelves that have become a catch-all for jars and bottles of every description: sauces, condiments and preserves.

Why am I posting a silly thing like this on the blog? Because it is one of those small things that I never get around to, but it makes grit my teeth several times a week when I rummage through the jars. Making this public will motivate me to get the job done. And maybe you'll peek into your own fridge and discover that you want to do this with me. Social support is a powerful help for the big and little things in life.

From now until the evening of Monday, May 14, the mini-challenge is to clean and declutter the shelves in your fridge door.

If you want to take the challenge, it is simple:
1. Leave a comment on this post saying you're in.
2. Go clean your fridge door :)
3. Come back and leave a comment on this post by Monday night saying you did it!

If you want to send me before-after pictures or write a post on your blog, feel free to do so, but really you just need to clean and that's IT.

Don't get distracted and start cleaning the rest of the fridge, or the whole of your kitchen (that just leads to being overwhelmed and frustrated). Just do this small thing and give yourself a pat on the back. Babysteps, as FlyLady says (By the way, that website is a great resource if you feel overwhelmed by clutter).

By Monday evening, I plan to
1. Remove all contents.
2. Wipe down the shelves of the fridge door.
3. Examine everything that I have removed from the shelves of the fridge door.
4. Discard all bottles that won't be used.
5. Group the rest in some fashion- all jams together and all Asian stir fry ingredients together, for instance.

I will also try and come up with some recipe ideas to use up ingredients from the fridge door shelves.

Who's with me? Watch this space for updates.

Saturday, May 12: I'm all done! After putting this off for weeks, this chore took all of 20 minutes max.

Here are the highlights-
Biggest rediscovery: A bottle of the fancy extract fiori di Sicilia which was an impulse purchase several years ago.
Most over-represented: Pickled peppers. I have 4 different kinds (Indian green chilli pickle, pickled jalapenos, pepperoncini, and some bright red ones from Trader Joe's), and will need to think of ways to use them up in chutneys and pestos.
Unlikeliest fridge door resident: A bottle of instant coffee. Neither V nor I drink this stuff. But I remembered that we bought it for my parents last year. I'll have to use it up in some iced coffee drinks.
Sadly wasted: Another impulse purchase- a bottle of Manchurian sauce from the Indian store. It was horrid and I felt guilty about wasting it so there it sat, taking up space. Today it finally was dumped and the bottle recycled.

The shelves are now tidy and there's plenty of free space in there. The fridge door shelves, if well-stocked with sauces and curry pastes and that sort of thing, can be a wonderful resource for quick meals.

As promised, I came up with a recipe to use up some of the jars. I used the remnants of a jar of roasted almond butter with flaxseeds, and the remainder of a bottle of giardiniera (Italian brined vegetables- don't ask me why I collect all this stuff) to make a big and completely delicious noodle salad in a nutty sauce.

Noodle Salad in a Nutty Sauce
1. Cook some noodles. Any kind will do- today I used thin whole-wheat spaghetti.
2. In a glass microwave-safe bowl, mix some almond butter, peanut butter (I used chunky), teriyaki sauce and sambal oelek. Microwave until the nut butters melt and whisk everything together, adding water as required to make a thick yummy sauce.
3. Dice some cucumber and slice yellow/red bell peppers. Today I added some of those Italian pickled vegetables.
4. Toss the vegetables and cooked noodles with the sauce. Garnish with plenty of minced cilantro

So simple and so utterly tasty. Cabbage and carrot would be wonderful in this salad too. Mint or green onions would be an excellent garnish. Top with some toasted sesame seeds or crushed nuts for a nice crunch. This noodle salad is perfect for lunch boxes, picnics and potlucks in the summer days that will be here soon.

Now do entertain me with tales of what's hiding in your fridge door shelves.


  1. I am definitely IN ...

  2. I'm in Nupur. I've been meaning to clean my fridge for couple of weeks now, ur challenge will make me DO IT.


  3. Do I have to do the freezer door as well? ;-)

    It is a great way to re-familiarise yourself with your 'collection!'I do the same to the rest of the fridge too - one shelf at a time and it is no work!

    I'm in!

    1. No leave that freezer door alone! Let's clean the whole freezer next week perhaps? ;)

  4. I'm so going to try and do this !!!

  5. I'm NOT in but only because a full-fridge cleanup was forced upon me last month. But I can attest to the peace of mind that follows! PS My sister is a fellow Fly Lady fan and I use several of her principles ...

  6. I'm in!!! ... we just moved in to our new house and the handprints of the movers are on the top my mind always. This post has really motivated me to clean it right away. Any suggestions to clean the fingerprints on the steel door??

    - Nithu

    1. No idea- never had stainless steel appliances.

  7. Oh done and my gosh had some old old stuff to throw !!!

    Almost 50pc now empty can't wait to buy new stuff to fill it up again!!!

  8. Wow ! when did this start and end too, Cool. Will do this soon, before monsoon and will link this page for inspiration :)

    btw how is dale doing ? Just concerned.. take care.

    1. Dale's doing great, Kanchan. Needed anesthesia to get dental work done but that went well. Thanks so much for asking!

  9. Done!
    Did it first thing Sunday morning. But, first I made some all-purpose household cleaner: hot water+vinegar+dish washing soap. Turns, out I had probably tackled it just a couple of months back - everything was reasonably clean and organised already!
    Still, I got a re-look at the stash. I decided to, finally, trash the 20yrs old chocolate sprinkles I obviously hoarded for too long (apparently, regular birthdays were not special enough!)... And used the 2yrs old package of Himachali hazelnuts to make dukkah (before they became too old)!
    Freezer next month perhaps? I think I did it a few weeks ago. But come monsoon, the freezer will be an ice magnet!

    1. Love your homemade cleaner recipe!
      I am with you- hoarding the special ingredients until they get too old. I'm definitely clearing the freezer soon, got to make room for the ice cream maker bowl now that summer is here.

  10. This is great. I should do it sometime.

  11. Oooh, I had the instant coffee issue. I took a bottle to school and now I am saving money on buying coffee and I am getting rid of the instant coffee as well :)


Thanks for leaving a comment- I try to respond to every single one.