Sunflower State

Sunflower State

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Chronicles of the Fridge

There are a lot of converts to the latest trend promoted by Marie Kondo in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

My daughter is an advocate of this minimalist approach at her house. And I definitely admire the crisp, clean look it yields.

And then I look at my refrigerator. It is symptomatic of my being the very antithesis of the "declutter" mentality.

I keep putting "deep cleaning" on my to-do list. Really, I do. But, invariably ... I don't.

I am getting a new refrigerator. My old one is giving out. And I've been debating about whether or not the new appliance will become a photo and magnet gallery.

I admit that I probably don't really "see" the photos on the fridge all the time. They are kind of like reciting The Lord's Prayer every week at church: If I don't really think about what I'm saying, it's an exercise in rote regurgitation. (Not saying it should be, but that's what often happens with the familiar.)

So, as I take off the old photos from the fridge, do I keep them? Some of them? Vow to keep the fridge clean and free from memorabilia? What's a girl to do?
If I take my cue from current home style magazines, I will keep my refrigerator free from any sort of mementos, memorabilia or magnets. Family photo Christmas cards and granddaughter-produced artwork would be banished to the trash can or rubber-banded together and stuck in an overflowing closet. (Wait! That doesn't work among the Kondo converts either.)
And a few of those tchotchkes from my old fridge are reminders of cherished people and places. A photo of Brent helping in the church basement at a long-ago bazaar work day was originally on my late mother-in-law's fridge. I "inherited" it after she died.
A magnet of an angel playing a cello was on my Grandma Leonard's fridge at their western Kansas farm house. Only the back of my fridge is exempt from the "stuff" on its surfaces, and, if truth is told, it's probably only because I can't reach it. 
The magnets holding up those snapshots of life were often collected from trips. Magnets from San Francisco and Churchill Downs and Nashville and Chicago and beyond are inexpensive souvenirs from our infrequent travels.
A magnet I got at the art museum in Chicago holds up an American Gothic-like photo we had taken at a long-ago Stafford Oktoberfest.
What do design-minded homeowners have against ye old refrigerator decoration? Have we Kondo'd away any signs of real life from our homes? took a survey of 150 people: 36 percent said they have minimal pics, event invitations, and other knickknacks around, while 29 percent reported having nothing on their refrigerators. I'm not entirely alone: 24 percent said their refrigerators are “drowning” in photographs and more.
“The refrigerator has become a primary display space in many U.S. homes. It functions as a kind of built-in bulletin board. Like any collage, fridge door displays involve the selection and arrangement of found objects. That is, few items are created specifically for refrigerator doors except for advertising magnets, which overtly recognize the centrality of the space and the practice of attaching things to it.”
Danielle Elise Christensen, teacher of American Studies at Ohio State University and whose study topics include everyday forms of collage
Some of these photos are like dear friends. They form a crazy quilt of memories. So, if I opt to keep the refrigerator clean or start my collection anew, I've been debating scanning the old photos and assorted minutia and making a book. (Again, I'm hopeless on the Kondo convert front. This book - along with all my blog books - will likely get tossed into a trash bin when my kids are forced to clean out the house because I never got around to it on my running to-do list. Sorry, kids! Or sorry - not sorry - as the advertisement goes.)
Will Miller of Lafayette, Ind., a therapist and comic who co-wrote the book Refrigerator Rights, explores how moving and media have pared how many close friends and relations can help themselves to what's in our fridges. Miller says the fridge is where a household's public face meets its inner sanctum.
 “The refrigerator is a signature appliance – it’s sort of public and sort of private. You’re allowed to see what’s posted on the door, but to go inside, you’d better be a Facebook friend at least.”
Will Miller, author of Refrigerator Rights


  1. My house is pretty minimal but my fridge is covered and it will stay that way. I stop and look at the stuff all the time. And when my kids and grandkids come over, they like to point out their favorite photos. If it makes you happy, leave the fridge as is (and keep adding more 😀)

    1. They actually delivered my new fridge today. It is "clutter free" at the moment ... but I doubt it stays that way!

  2. Guilty but don't care. Spotting a loved one, always brings a smile amidst the cooking chaos.

    1. I agree. So far, I haven't cluttered up the new one. But I doubt it will last!

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