The Zen of Fridge Cleaning

After I take down the Christmas decorations every year I make it a point to give my home a new look. If there is one thing I never do, in addition to writing New Year’s Resoltions, is put things back to the way they were before I put up the tree. Nothing is more boring than being predictable and repetitive, which often leads to missing out on a opportunity to change things around.

I move the furniture every few months anyway, so might as well start in January. This year was no exception, even though I recently made a huge flip flop to carve out my working space in the conservatory. With the cosiness of Christmas gone, I was in urgent need for space, lots of space. Since throwing away or burning furniture is not an option at the moment, I had to carefully plot how I wanted things this time around, a self-imposed challenge to see whether I can come up with still another arrangement that I haven’t tried yet in the last three years. Lo and behold, it worked and I love the open spaces now. Even some of the frogs that usually reside in every nook and cranny have gone into hibernation.

The cats were surprisingly nonchalant about it this time, and for once Lolita took everything in stride albeit keeping a close eye on where her beloved sofa was going. Without it, she is totally lost since it is her anchor and starting point for all orientation. The plants, well most of the ones that thrive in low light, got rotated as well in order to expand the jungle feel. Once all this was accomplished, I set out to attack the kitchen. The stove has been clamouring for attention for some time now, and these modern ceramic tops are a real pain to rid of residue if you postpone it too long, especially since you can’t use any abrasive scrubbers. This is great anger management though, because you can channel all your energy into the poor hapless sponge and surface.

The stove top is small though, and after two hours of scrubbing, wiping and cursing, I moved on to the fridge and freezer. I love to multi-task, so while I heated up the oven to bake a second batch of scones (am tweaking an old favourite recipe), I took out all the shelves from the fridge and dumped them in the dishwasher. While those were shedding off unspeakable grime and accumulated Tolkienesque biological lifeforms, I popped the scones into the oven, and proceeded to turn my wrath upon the freezer. I felt very much like Gimli from Lord of the Rings, ready to attack enemies of all sizes with my short stature as long I can wield my axe!

There is something incredibly gratifying about opening the squeaky clean fridge now, devoid of half-empty jars and containers. To me it was both cathartic and therapeutic. Out with all the leftovers from the past year with a ruthlessness that yearned for space. Now that I have cleaned, sanitised and restored the balance and order in my fridge, bathroom cabinets, and countertops, I feel the peace returning.

I have missed this absence of clutter, the silent mindful movements in the kitchen that do not trigger a series of noises because there are so many other things in the way. My fridge mirrors my soul at the moment, cleansed of the rotting elements and eagerly awaiting the new arrivals. I have no idea what will go in the fridge next, but there is plenty of space now to maneuver, and that is exactly what I want for my life as well. Everything is back to basics, ready to start afresh.

It’s important to understand the difference between cleaning and cleansing. Cleaning is the physical action of temporarily removing dirt from the surface, restoring the order and glance. Cleansing, however, comes from within. This is an internalised process that addresses the core needs of your spirit. It is a permanent purge of the negativity and toxicity that holds you back from fulfilling your authentic self.

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