As a stay-at-home mom of a toddler and a baby, sometimes I find refuge in a little retail therapy. In fact, I would consider myself a shameless consumer. I fall prey to all the cute things, all the inexpensive things, all the yummy things, and just ALL. THE. THINGS.
I swear my cortisol levels drop and my endorphin levels increase when I see sale signs, dollar sections, and rollbacks.
Shopping gives me short-term gratification, but it leaves me with a long-term problem: clutter.
Cue the new Netflix documentary, Minimalism, and voila! Just the antidote I needed to tackle this ever-growing problem.
The film is this year’s rough equivalent to Marie Kondo’s bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up. Different approaches, same theme: Be more intentional about what you buy and what you keep.
Unlike Kondo’s KonMari method of first asking if your belongings spark joy to determine whether or not you keep something, the Minimalist method has you “edit” your belongings based on the item’s usefulness and function.
Instead of addressing the likeliest over-filled suspect in my house – my closet – I thought I would address a far more insidious one – my refrigerator. Since I visit the fridge and the grocery store far more often than my closet or the mall, this area made the most sense.
Plus, if I were to tackle my closet using the KonMari method of keeping only “joy-inspiring” items, this postpartum season would leave me with black leggings, and that’s about it. So, to my fridge I went.
The “editing” process was simple: I purged, I organized, I shopped.
In line with Minimalist thinking, I evaluated the contents of my fridge and identified three item categories:
- This Week’s Perishables (meat, fruit, veggies, milk, etc.)
- Staples (frequently used items like salad dressing, hummus, bread, etc.)
- Novelty Items (infrequently used items like vinegar, butter, burger condiments, etc.)
Anything outside of these categories, a.k.a. stuff we NEVER used (like a huge jar of pickles – I’m done being pregnant), I gave away to neighbors or threw away.
I organized the fridge space by the categories mentioned above.
This week’s perishables, I placed centrally. The staples, I placed between one door and one main shelf, and the novelty items, I placed in the other door shelves. The category organization makes my fridge look beautiful! And it helps me make grocery lists easily because everything is so visible.
I shopped with a newfound, consumption-driven purpose. In days of old, I used to get a little carried away shopping the “perimeter” of the grocery store, loading more fruit and veggies into my cart than we could possibly consume before spoilage. Peering down into the colorful bounty, I would feel so proud having made all of the “right” choices. Yeah. That was me lying to myself. Now, I’m more realistic and only purchase things my family and I will ACTUALLY eat.
I also resisted bulk. Bye-bye Costco. I will see you next time we throw a party…or need more diapers…or a mocha freeze…or a hotdog.
Since editing my fridge a few weeks ago, I can report the following: my fridge contents rotate just as planned to keep it a zen-like space. Add the collateral benefits of a lower grocery bill (around $100 weekly), more nutritious eating, and reduced food waste, and I would consider this experience a fruitful one. No pun intended.
Anyone else have the problem of buying more than you actually eat? What’s collecting dust in your fridge?