watermelon slicesIn the summer months those who like to grill – or who have significant others who like to grill – may find themselves hosting one or more gatherings in which the featured fare is barbecued in the backyard. In some households, hosting gatherings on the barbecue social circuit is a requirement that begins on Memorial Day and ends the day after Labor day. While hosting a Labor Day barbecue as an apartment dweller a few years ago, I learned how helpful it would have been to have decluttered our refrigerator before our party preparations were underway.

Have you ever tried to put a platter of fruit kebobs in a  small apartment-size refrigerator alongside a gallon of milk, a head of swiss chard, and assorted fruits and leftovers in food storage containers? It was quite a feat, and not one that I wish to repeat. And it was in that moment that I noted the importance of decluttering the refrigerator before hosting a barbecue, or any party or gathering that involves a substantial amount of food (think: Thanksgiving, graduation party, etc). So how to declutter the refrigerator without eating take-out all week before your party? Perhaps one, some, or all of the following three tips will mesh well with your version of organizational bliss:

1. Make note of what’s taking up valuable real estate in the refrigerator and use these ingredients to concoct creative meals for your family. You may be pleasantly surprised, and inadvertently introduce some new menu ideas into your cooking repertoire.

2. In the week leading up to the party be mindful of the groceries that you purchase, ensuring that your family’s day-to-day foods will easily fit in the refrigerator along with any large party platters or substantial party foods. This is especially important if you plan to chill a large sheet cake, a watermelon bowl filled with melon balls and sliced fruits, etc.

3. The pantry is your friend. In the days leading up to the party, making “pantry surprise” for dinner is always a great option. Assuming you already have whole wheat pasta, canned or boxed soup, beans, and tuna, you can easily create quick meals that require very few refrigerated ingredients.

Have some pre-party refrigerator decluttering tips to share? Let us know about them and they could appear in a future blog post! Cheers!

* Photo by Zsolt Zatrok

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