STYLE Savvy: Is De-Mystifying the Fridge Worth Alienating my Family?

"Is de-mystifying the fridge worth alienating my family?" by Lisa Hess (

Via Morguefile, CC0 Public Domain

In my mind’s eye, there is a map for the inside of the refrigerator. Beverages go in one spot, leftovers in another, meat in a third. That is, to my way of thinking, why refrigerator manufacturers create separate compartments.

In my family’s mind’s eye, it’s all a haphazard game. As long as the food gets into the fridge, they are satisfied.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m grateful that the food makes it into the refrigerator. I’m less grateful, however, when I end up throwing away once lunch-worthy leftovers because they got shoved to the back behind the applesauce which, by the way, belongs on a different shelf.

If you’ve been reading my articles for a while, you know that my house is by no means perfect. I am an organizational work-in-progress and my house has multiple hot spots — places where clutter gathers to have a little party at my expense. I respect other people’s right to organize differently than I do, but when my husband’s I know I put it somewhere style meets my I need to see it style in the refrigerator, I spend a lot of time muttering under my breath and searching for solutions.

Last week, after I neatly re-stacked the leftovers and replaced the cut fruit on its shelf (the one where it belongs, not the one where it was), I seriously contemplated getting out the label maker and labeling the shelves. There’s a good chance, after all, that what’s in my mind’s eye is different from what’s in my family’s mind’s eye. I see shelves filled with food that can be categorized for easy retrieval. They see a large rectangular space that keeps things cold.

As I type this, I’m still considering my labeled shelves idea. The only thing holding me back is the ever-changing nature of refrigerator contents. The shelf that works for leftovers stored in stackable plastic containers might not work for the leftover pizza. Cut fruit needs more storage space in the summer than it does in the winter when we have less of it. Will constantly changing labels that are likely to be ignored cause more annoyance or amusement?

For now, I’m opting to leave well enough alone.

But the next time I throw away perfectly serviceable cold chicken, I just might change my mind.

Copyright 2017 Lisa Hess


About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.

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