Even small, hidden, and unexpected spaces can be beautiful.

Most of the time, however, my refrigerator is an uncertain, gnarly place, jars out of order and fruit in the meat drawer. Sometimes, specialty ingredients used for one meal creep into the back of the fridge to die slowly next to the pickles winking past their due date (can pickles really go bad? They are pickled!) Most of the time, my fridge is clean but in that tentative, not deeply cleaned sort of way: a sponge passed here and there and over and yon. It is the place of the quick and hurried, the children’s leftovers balanced on cans. And in the side door, a calvary of caloric salad dressings we haven’t used in a year or more: when we do eat salad, I always make the dressing now myself from olive oil and various vinegars, or mustards and eggs and herbs.

I am not one to make resolutions at the start of the year, but I do sit down at the beginning of every month and make goals for the month. Really, these goals are just a written list of recipes I want to make, to-dos around the house I want to complete, crafts to make, and special projects or places to visit with the children. I post them next to my calendar as motivation and as a reminder that life is always full of happy and festive types of things to do. If I start to feel out of focus, my list gives me energy and encouragement.

For January, one of the items on my list was to clean thoroughly and reorganize my refrigerator.

Working quickly, this task was accomplished during Eric’s nap today. I cleaned shelves in between setting Katie up on home school tasks (writing out her letters, sequencing and patterns, visual analogies, spelling/reading and slate work) and checking her work.

Do you like to look in others’ refrigerators? I do. I love to see what people have inside of pantries, purses, closets…


Well, I’ve got a baby in my fridge!

I love the new organization of the door shelves. I took all the butter out of their packages and stacked them to conserve space, and I put the partially used butter into a small ramekin just for fun. I decided to rid the shelves of things like, oh, lemongrass from 2006 when I went on a Thai cuisine spree. And the sambal chili paste that moved from our old house to here? See ya, babe. The mustard collection? Reduced. Goodbye salad dressings I never use. The best part of the door shelves, and a goal of this project, is that the bottom shelf of the door is now entirely free for me to make a “Kiddos’ Shelf.” I plan to stock this with juice, raisins, and healthy snack options, even a daily cut-up fruit. They can reach it and prepare the snack themselves. This will correspond with another goal this month of freeing up a low kitchen cabinet to fill with their plates, cups, napkins, kiddo cutlery, straws, and placemats. By equipping them with the means to prepare their own approved snacks, I hope to teach them to embrace more independence and self-reliance.

I made a shelf entirely for fruit. How many of us discover frightening remains of forgotten fruit in our crisper from time to time? I know I do. Now it is all set out on its own shelf where I can easily see what we have and what I might need to replenish. And why not use a beautiful bowl to store apples and pears?

Likewise, how about a pretty stand to hold a bit of good chocolate? Why not make the fridge a cheerful and whimsical place? We often spend time beautifying the large rooms of our houses, but why not put something special in a small and surprising space? We open the fridge daily, so let’s do it up. Can a refrigerator be decorated? Heck yes!

Was this picture of my cheese and yogurt drawer really necessary? No. But come on, it is CHEESE! Cheese needs its own picture.

Below the cheese drawer is another shelf on which I store some types of bread, and leftovers, or dishes I have prepared in advanced to be cooked later. Below that shelf, I have a produce drawer filled with our weekly veggies, and the last drawer is our meat drawer.

The most satisfying part was scrubbing every shelf and drawer with warm soapy water and detailing the inside. I open my fridge up and, instead of cringing and thinking “Oh, I really need to tidy this,” I smile because now I really like looking at it from an aesthetic point of view.