Of all the things I have said during my years, I think the thing that shocked people most was during a recent conversation about how everyone decorated their refrigerators. I said my refrigerator door was bare, and that statement sure brought me the stares!

When Jeff and I were together, our refrigerator door was used as most people seem to use the door, as a bulletin board for shopping lists, notes, reminders, assorted magnets, and such. The only thing we lacked was children’s refrigerator art.

Before I moved here, I rented a room in a house where I had to share a refrigerator, and the guy I rented from kept his refrigerator door full of his niece’s artwork. I admit, she had talent, but for some reason, it irked me having to look at those same things day after day after day. (I think it wasn’t the art so much as the act — it clearly told us renters that we might live there, but it wasn’t really our home.) Though it wasn’t cause and effect (and least I don’t think it is), I’ve kept the door of my refrigerator door bare. The uncluttered look pleases me. I still jot down things I need to get at the store, but I keep the list in a drawer, which is just as accessible, if not more so, than the refrigerator door.

I don’t even like to keep things on my counter, though I have made a recent (and perhaps temporary) exception.

A couple months ago, I posted a blog about how, when I was young, I wanted a toy oven, but more than that, I wanted the accessories — small baking pans, child-size utensils, and especially the miniature boxes of cake and muffin mixes. After reading that, my wonderful sister sent me a child’s set of pots and pans. Although they are stainless steel, they say “not for use on stove” so they sit on the counter, charming me with both their presence and the thoughtfulness that brought them to me.

Unlike most people, I don’t even keep appliances on the counter. Since I almost never eat bread, there’s no reason for a toaster, though if I ever find a toaster with narrow slots (rather than slots wide enough for bagels), I might change my mind. I have a blender, but it’s in a cupboard since I don’t use it. (Jeff was the one who used it — he made a protein drink every morning.) And I haven’t yet got caught up in the instant pot or air fryer fad. Which is great — I don’t have to sacrifice utility for clean counters.

It’s this desire for a clean look that helps overcome my natural laziness. Instead of shrugging off a mess with an “I’ll do it tomorrow” attitude, I take the extra few minutes to put everything to rights before I retire for the evening. That way I get to wake up to an inviting kitchen.

So, are you shocked?


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

5 Responses to “Shocker!”

  1. Judy Galyon Says:

    Not shocked at all. Just the other day I was working on trying to de-clutter my bathroom. There doesn’t seem to be enough room in our kitchen, as we keep getting things that people don’t want/need. If you would “like” some magnet for your frig, I have more than enough. Just let me know. Magnetic not pads as well.

  2. Treve Brown Says:

    I totally approve Pat, clutter of any kind drives me mad, and a bare refrigerator is absolutely the right thing to do!!

  3. paulakaye Says:

    My fridge is covered with family photos. I like seeing them there. And there is plenty of stuff on my counters. Each to their own I say. Love that cute little set of pans

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