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A Simple Way to Simplify Your Fridge (& Your Life)

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I say decant everything that you can. Decant the mouthwash—it looks more interesting in a recycled Voss water bottle, the smaller glass one with the label removed. I would decant the toothpaste, were it possible.

Photo by James Ransom

In your fridge, decant the milk first—the over-written cartons, with their references to arcadia and nature and your health and riboflavin. Decant into a clear glass container. Decant and calm the orange juice, it will keep better and colder in glass.

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Look in your fridge and consider all the labels, all the labor, all the art directors—and then consider your fridge word-free. I remember the first t-shirt I was given, in 1965, with a little symbol over my left breast, and how offended I was. And how wrong: I assumed that naming would go away.

You will love the look of your milk in a glass container—the pure white, and the soft volume. You can see it, you know what you have. You will love the interior look of your refrigerator all in glass—the colors, the volumes, the texture. (I use a small woven basket for the eggs).

Photo by James Ransom

When I have soaked and cooked dried beans, the lovely cannellini or the Borlotti, I store them in their liquid in a tall, clear container—if I can see them, I am prone, inspired, to use them. Store a cup of fresh stock in a small clear bottle, so you can see it quickly.

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Decant the jam—or at least soak the label off. The jam will look like itself. And the pickles. You have worked hard to make your kitchen work—now make the vista within your fridge more elegant, the surfaces and the forms as clear as the kitchen itself.

You will need more containers and more glass containers. Choose with care—the lids must be easily cleaned, the surface must be of a size you can handle, the shape must relate to your task.

Photo by James Ransom

Decant and, of course, recant. You have surrendered to the names and to the advertising but they have, in truth, no entitled place in your fridge. It is best when you are able to see in there.