12/01/2011 09:01 am ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Cleaning Tip: When To Throw Away Condiments

Flickr photo by booleansplit

Common, yet curable. Chronic condimentia sufferers are likely to accumulate inappropriate quantities of sauces and salad dressings. Other symptoms include forgetting about the half-empty jars of jam and jelly and opening a second or even a third. If left untreated, condimentia will lead to a hostile takeover of the fridge by mustards, mayos, and marinades.

The 5-step cure

1. Locate multiple jars of capers, ketchups, and conserves, discard any past their prime, and consolidate the rest. If you still have more than one of a particular condiment, use the oldest first and store the other(s) together in the back of the fridge in a container such as a plastic carton. Always check this container before you open any new condiment.
2. Store unopened condiments that don't require refrigeration in the pantry until you need them.
3. Keep like with like. Categorize by spicy (hot sauces, chili powder), sweet (jam, honey, maple syrup), savory (mayo, ketchup, mustard, pesto), and salad dressings.
4. If condiments tend to expire before you finish them, buy smaller bottles.
5. Limit your condiment collection to the shelves of the fridge door.

For more cleaning tips, check out What's A Disorganized Person To Do?

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