Here is your first challenge for 2017– clean and organize your fridge! Trust me, I had no idea how amazing this would be until I did it myself yesterday.
Think about your closet for a second, and how hard it is to find anything to wear when it is disorganized. How items of clothing can get lost for months somewhere in the abyss of your wardrobe. “Oh, I forgot I even bought that!” I can’t be the only one who finds pieces that still have the tag on it. Now think about how great it feels after you’ve organized your closet. After colour coding it, dividing it into seasons, and after getting rid of things you haven’t worn in years. It is a much more pleasant experience opening your closet doors and the outfits you can now create are endless.
Well, your fridge is the same way. Jars of condiments get pushed to the back, a rotten carrot hides in your crisper and some forgotten cheese may now be green. I was chatting about this with my client this morning and she laughed as she told me she just did this herself, and her husband was upset that she threw out his HP sauce, which she figured had been in the fridge for 13 years!
Start by removing everything from your fridge and give it a major wipe down. Take out the crisper drawers, the cheese drawers, the shelves and give them each a good clean. Then look through all of the items of food on the counter. The jars where the lids have been glued on so tight that you can’t even open them may need to be recycled. Compost the food that has gone bad and decide what you really need to keep and what you can do away with.
The next step is to categorize your foods as you place them back into your fridge. Salad dressings maybe go onto the door, spreads and dips on one part of the shelf, cheese in the cheese drawer, milks on the top shelf, vegetables in one crisper and fruit in the other. Place items that you use more often at the front of the fridge and items you less near the back. And if you have two or three of the same item, such as yoghurt, line them up so the oldest is used first and the newest used last.
Once you have cleaned and reorganized, take a moment to think about what items now need to be purchased. Perhaps stocking up on soup stocks is in order, or oils and vinegars for salad dressings. And a tip for buying fruits and vegetables – buy what you like to eat, not what you think you should eat. We all know kale is good for us but maybe it isn’t your go to snack. If you buy what you like, those foods are less likely to sit in your fridge and go bad, which occurs at different rates for different items of produce. For example, an organic eggplant bought from a farmers market could expire in a day or so, but apples bought from your supermarket could last weeks! I am not going to preach on whether you should buy organic or not, just make sure what you purchase you are going to consume.
Health really starts with what you are putting into your body and if you create an organized and enjoyable space to be creative with food preparation you are setting yourself up for success.
Attached - Woody Harrelson and his wife leaving a yoga class in Primrose Hill on January 2, 2017 in London.