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I noticed she put large things around the edges and smaller things in front. I incorporated that into my refrigerator arrangement as well as I could -- it never stays that way -- but it really improved the look of my refrigerator and made things easier to find.

I found this bit interesting on a couple of fronts. Again, I hope this wasn't discussed too recently in here--apologies if it was. I see at least three different goals at work:

(a) everything's easy to find
(b) most important/frequently used things are easy to get
(c) looks good

While the nurse friend had (a) and (c) down, I think the reason it's hard to keep it organized that way is that it might be failing (b). If you're anything like me, when you put something into (or back into) the fridge, you put it quickly into the space where it fits, not where it'll meet goals (a) and (c). Not only that, unless you live alone, it will be even more tough keeping things organized in there. (b) will tend to rule, because when people are putting things back into the fridge, they're often thinking about what's next (hungry/can't wait to eat that/hurry up mom[or dad]/commercial's almost over/etc.) instead of putting it back in its proper place. In my mind, it's doubly difficult for kids, and doubly again if any of them are teenagers.

So if you're focused on maintaining an organized fridge, you might get frustrated if you don't pay proper attention to (b). Then there's another goal I just read about: (d) arranging for optimum temperature and spoilage minimization. Here's an article that talks more about that:

In my own fridge, the giant water pitcher is probably the one thing retrieved most frequently, and it blocks the view of many things. So while not everything's visible, as in the nurse friend's shortest-stuff-front-and-center system, that's not usually a problem for us. It also doesn't run counter to a 5th goal I just thought of, which is (e) everything fits in there that we need to fit in there (maximizing capacity). With a big family, that's an important one. If we had the water pitcher in the back or way to one side, we'd be introducing undue frustration, and eventually it would find its way back to the "alpha spot" anyway.

So, that's what I wanted to say about that.

-n8 (recovering packrat, father of 6, never gave much thought to goal (c))
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