Today is my shopping day. Over the weekend my family let me know in no uncertain terms that there is, “nothing to eat in this house.” In the words of one of my favorite storytellers, Bill Harley, “My mother had a theory, that if she bought food, we would eat it, and then she’d have to go and buy more.” I’ll admit, I subscribe to that theory.

But when even I’m scrambling to make a snack, and we have pancakes for dinner…again…it’s time for a trip to the store.

So to make room for my big hunt n’ gather, I decided to clean out the fridge. (Can you hear that pipe organ playing a dark tune in a minor key too?) Yeah, it was that scary.

I’m embarrassed to say that I had to resort to the fashion experts’ advice on cleaning out: If you haven’t worn it (or eaten it) in a year, toss it. Like that mysterious bottle of BBQ sauce nobody liked from last summer? There it was, hiding behind the economy-sized jar of bread and butter pickles this whole time! Gross. Why didn’t I throw that out months ago? And why did I ever think we’d go through a 72-ounce jar of bread and butter pickles?

And then there was the juice I bought for a sick child some time ago. I poured it into a mason jar to keep the other kids out of it. The disguise worked, all right. Nobody noticed that juice until this morning! Can grape juice curdle?

The tail ends of unpopular salad dressings, the weird tiny jar of hot mustard that came in a gift basket last Christmas, the two packets of spiced brown sugar glaze from last year’s honey baked ham I’d been saving — all gone. I don’t know how long salad dressing is supposed to keep in the fridge, but I let this question be my guide: Is this worth throwing up over? The answer was invariably, no.

Then of course, I tossed the perishables whose expiration dates got torn off with last month’s calendar page. The homemade dip nobody liked. The celery that went limp. Those last few grapes that made it look like I was trying to cure my own raisins. All gone.

After a few wipes with a hot wet rag, my fridge looks brand new. She’s ready to be stocked. It’s a freeing feeling. So go ahead, clean out that Frigidaire today.

I “dare” you.

(No, really. Who keeps playing that pipe organ?)

Margaret Anderson is a BYU graduate, returned missionary, and mother of four small children. You can read more on her blog: