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"I went full Marie Kondo on my girlfriend's fridge. I'll never be the same."

There comes a point in every leftover meal’s life at which mould begins to tighten it’s blue, hairy grip.

Average Joes don’t let leftovers reach that point – a point from which there is, unless you’re willing to run an infected mouldy gauntlet, undoubtedly no return.

Average Joes take their leftover meals to work for lunch the following day. They pick at them during that mid-afternoon slump on weekends when you’re just hungry enough to find yourself rummaging through the back of the fridge, but not hungry enough to justify putting anything proper on a plate. They feed them to the dog or pass them onto family or, failing all else, guiltily toss them out. Especially if they’ve been camping in the back of the refrigerator covered in foil (because you lost your tupperware lid, obviously) for a suspiciously long time.

My girlfriend isn’t your Average Joe.

jessie stephens
For reference. Photoshop credit: Me.

My 28-year-old girlfriend - and her fraternal twin sister, with whom she lives - possess somewhat of a magic fridge. Like a chilly, shelved vortex, cans of Pepsi, microwaveable rice, and half-eaten Pad Thai in oily takeaway containers are regularly seen venturing inside. None will return.

Instead they'll remain on the sticky shelves which smell like rancid meat but also parmesan cheese. For eternity.

This hurts me, because I'm anal. My free time is mostly spent de-cluttering my bedroom; stacking, unstacking and re-stacking dishwashers; telling my loved ones off for ineffectively stacking, unstacking or re-stacking dishwashers; vacuuming the inside of my car; and passive aggressively wiping surfaces after less anal members of my family are finished eating off them.

I also hate waste.

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It was only a matter of time then, before my anal heart clashed with my girlfriend's squalid refrigeration habits. We just needed a catalyst.

That catalyst happened to be a side-by-side viewing of Netflix's Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on her (slightly less squalid) couch. The primary rule Kondo brings to disorganised families in their messy homes is a simple one...

If an item doesn't give you joy, toss it. (Or preferably re-home, re-use or recycle it). 

None of the four open packets of baby spinach from that time you tried making green smoothies give me joy. They're yellow. But also brown? And wet. They smell, too. Like farts.

It was time to get to work...

Tidying Up Judging Other People's Mess With Luca

luca lavigne

I didn't let my girlfriend nor her twin sister know that I'd be performing a colonoscopy on their refrigerator. Rather, I leapt into the task with a level of discreet optimism.

Said optimism was shattered, however, upon opening the fridge door.

jessie and clare stephens fridge
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The cliché "It's not as bad as it looks" is a well worn one. Except it doesn't apply in this instance because as you can hopefully see from the image above, things weren't as catastrophic to the eye as they were to the nose.

Can I tell you exactly what the smell was? Not really. Rather than one identifiable source of rot it was more a festy plethora of sour dairy and old Asian food. We hadn't eaten Asian in weeks.

Here's what I pulled out first...

dirty kale
Y R U YELLOW

Should kale be yellow? At the end of the day, probably no. But the fact that someone in the house went to the effort of buying kale is both naive and endearing. They're... trying. 

Which is more than can be said of the fruit and vegetable situation.

rotten fruit
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rotten fruit
When ur avocado has a spiderweb on it.

It's mostly sad because no avocado deserves to end up like this. Avocados need nurturing. They need love and lemon and salt and kindness. Also toast.

Except not this toast.

mouldy bread
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As I mentioned at the top of this article, there comes a point in every foodstuff's life when mould begins to tighten its blue, hairy grip.

For this loaf of Helga's sliced bread, that point was two-and-a-half months ago. And it's now reached a point where the bread is more mould than bread.

Bread aside, you know when your honey turns white?

honey

No?

Me neither.

I once read an article explaining that of all organic foods in the Western world, honey was one that had virtually no expiration date.

Apparently my girlfriend and her twin sister, whose fridge is now far cleaner but still smells a bit like the colour brown, missed that memo.

A few items from within were too putrid to place on the internet without a graphic content warning. They were...

  • Home Brand supermarket garlic bread with a 'best before' date of February 12th, 2017
  • Mouldy leftover pasta in tomato sauce
  • Margarine (it wasn't mouldy but margarine is gross)
  • An unidentifiable jar of thick green liquid
  • What was once vegetarian fried rice

I'd like to think this saga ends here. In reality I'll be back in another month or three, when that filthy fridge has been restocked and  my anal heart can be still no more.

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