Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ Condiment Cleanout



My family was on vacation for two weeks. Of course, that means we returned home to an empty refrigerator, or did it? Well, there was no fruit, vegetables, milk, dairy  or meat, but there sure were a bunch on condiments. This was made even more obvious by the fact that there was nothing else in there. I decided it would be a great time to give the fridge a big wipe out, and to see what was what among the condiments.




Yikes! And it turns out that there was still more in the fridge when I took this photo. Oh my goodness. There were a few things that passed their expiration date last year, and it was easy to get rid of them. Next, I looked at what I had and combined like with like. (Why did I have 2 jars of spicy peppers?) In addition, I found one jar that unopened plus one of the same that was opened. That’s a waste of precious refrigerator space.

When I was finished, it looked like this:


Now I can see, reach, and find everything, and I know it’s all safe and fresh. When was the last time you cleaned out the condiments in your refrigerator.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. Great ideas. It feels so good to have a clean fridge (especially the condiment rack!). Off the the spice cabinet after that! Since we began menu planning, our fridge is very manageable.

  2. A good idea. We don’t use many condiments so our fridge stays pretty cleaned out. In fact, ours looks pretty sparse even when it is “full” because we just don’t have much in there. Now our freezer is full. We make ahead and freeze.

  3. By the way, glad you are home safe Cindy.

  4. yup, I just did the same thing when we got home from vacation, before we refilled the fridge. Condiments are under control, and my pantry is getting better too.

  5. We’ve been eating down the pantry which included the fridge where most of the condiments live. My pantry is pretty minimalist by regular folks standards but I’ve realised that there is still room for some improvement and I’ve been thinking of doing a ‘Packing Party’ (but only my kitchen) whereby everything gets moved to a table in the garage or the 2nd fridge also in the garage, and only as I actually require an item does it get brought thru. Obviously a fair few items would be brought back by the end of the day but if I let it run over a couple of months it could be interesting to see the outcome. Has anyone done anything similar?

    I have read about this in the “Messies” book but that happened prior to any decluttering and then recently I watched an interview on Midway Simplicity whereby he did it with his entire possessions. I think that could be a bit extreme for general well functioning of the family household (though I think it would be a lot of fun).

    But getting back to the topic! Over the weekend I pointed out to Adrian that there were only three types of cooking oil in the pantry that I reach for: olive oil and (2 of a 4 pack I got from a Farmers Market) orange flavoured (its divine for roasting pumpkin and kumara) and garlic & thyme flavoured – there is a number of others that just don’t float my boat. Likewise in the vinegars. I’m just going to stick to my favourites from here on in. Of course there is the matter of using up or giving away the others……..

    • Moni, everyone will probably have a fit when I say this but I would just chuck the oils and stuff I don’t want and forget it. I know that using it up is better but if you don’t really like it why?

      I like your idea of a packing party. I’d like to do that to our kitchen. I bet we would find there a lot of things we never use. They are all things that Mom “what if’s” and “they are for when we ___.” Well, we haven’t done them in the five years we have been here.

  6. I love how spacious our refrigerator looks when I cull the condiments. Every so often I’ll get a few neglected condiments in my sight, and do my best to get them used up in one way or another. It’s a great way to cook creatively.

  7. Definitely time to get this done. I keep most things cleared out of the fridge but the condiments get overlooked. I took two large bags to the donation center this weekend. It felt good to get that done.

  8. How nice to have a clean fridge! Mine is over stocked at the moment. I have my visitors coming this week and have more stuff than I would like in there. We cook at home a lot, but we do have way too much stuff in there. It certainly makes it difficult to find stuff.

    I laughed this week when I saw “metal” versus “mental”. I read metal and immediately thought about my Pilates machine that I do not use. I believe I may have found a new home for it. I told my friend she can have it if she comes to pick it up. I also sold a bunch of textbooks on Amazon. Now I just need to take them to UPS store to mail them. These are both things I have been thinking of doing since January. That it certainly a lot of mental clutter as I have thought about both of these tasks many, many times since January.

  9. I learned something about my Fridge! Lol I am the owner of and just found this article through my auto article feed. Excellent information and thanks.



  10. I take a black permanent marker and write the date in big numbers on the front of the condiment container so I can see it clearly and know when it needs to be used by. When things are getting close to the date, I will make some baked beans or marinate meat in what I need to use. If it is salad dressing, I just put some raw boneless chicken breasts in a pan and pour the salad dressing over it and cook it until the chicken is done. You use it up and most of the time things taste good or better than you thought!

    • Marianne – I came across a recipe that called for half a bottle of honey mustard dressing to be poured over cubed chicken cooked in the pan. It was delicious. I had never heard of it before and its a winner. Another crowd pleaser is to cut sheets of pastry into squares, cut a half depth line around the edges about 1cm in, spread fruit chutney on the centre thru to the cut mark (this causes the edge to puff up higher to create an edging crust) and then top with veges, meat, toppings, cheese whatever you have in the fridge, bake in the oven and you have a cafe-style pizza type pastry.

    • Smart ideas!

  11. Cindy!!! I think I see a mustard in the top right of the photo. You won’t toss that, will you!!!??? Oh, I love mustard so! But if it has indeed expired, what is one to do, throw a wasted mustard hissy fit? Our fridge is empty at the end of each week, so no worries there. A fine reminder to keep clutter at bay nonetheless….

    • Oh no, that photo isn’t the toss pile, it’s just all the condiments pulled out of the fridge. Mustard never goes bad, does it?

      • Oh, thank goodness!!! I dunno. Just looked it up. It seems that mustard is good a year or two past it’s printed exp date. Ha! Who knew, except the guy who wrote that article?