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TitsMcGhee's avatar

Is it justifiable to clean out a communal fridge?

Asked by TitsMcGhee (8212 points ) March 19th, 2009

I’m on spring break, and with this extra time I have, I decided to clean my apartment, a task that my roommates have a lot of trouble wrapping their noggins around. I have one roommate who leaves her shit all over the communal kitchen/dining room because she has absolutely no room in her bedroom. Her bed literally has a pile of shit a foot and a half high on top of it. She can barely sleep. So all the shit that she can’t fit there, she puts all over our kitchen table. I have repeatedly cleared her stuff out of the kitchen/dining room and put it in a pile in front of her bedroom door. There is enough stuff that she has to move it in order to be able to walk into her bedroom. My roommates also never do their dishes, leaving them to get old and crusty, and sometimes rot, in the sink or on the table. I go to art school, and my kitchen and bathroom are covered in paint from their projects, though I manage to do my work without getting shit everywhere. They aren’t just messy either; they are gross. There was guacamole on our floor that had probably been there for two or three weeks (I didn’t notice it before because there was stuff all over the floor). I cleaned the kitchen/dining room and our bathroom, as well as taking it upon myself to organize our pantry and fridge.

After doing all this, my roommate is pissed that I threw things out from the fridge. ROTTING things. CRUSTIFIED things. A mini jug of buttermilk that expired nearly a month ago. Petrified cookie dough and homemade icing from before winter break. Lemons that had rotted to the point where they were no longer yellow. I didn’t throw out anything that was still edible or hadn’t expired or didn’t show signs of decomposition. Is she justified in being angry at me doing this? If you were her, would you be upset that I got rid of you sour, lumpy, unusable buttermilk? Am I alone in thinking this is ridiculous?

Additionally, can you think of anyway I can keep my roommates from letting their food get to the point of decomposition when even a starving animal wouldn’t eat it? I’ve asked nicely, I’ve given reminders, and I’ve said things like “That milk is WAY past its expiration date; can we get rid of that?” but it seems that nothing is really getting through. Ideas?

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40 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

Your roommates are fucked up. Move.

aviona's avatar

I’ve gotten bitched out for it. Be careful.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@nikipedia: School housing. Moving is a huge pain in the butt; I’d have to move to another building, and the process takes about a month and a half, and I’ll only be living here until the end of May, soooo…

asmonet's avatar

Your roomies are fucked. I would have presented you with dinner if you’d done that. I fucking hate cleaning but I appreciate the shit out of it when others do it.

Move in with your wifey, you clean, I give you pancakes.

casheroo's avatar

Completely justified in my opinion. Who ends up doing all these dishes?
Ugh, how awful. I’m sorry you have to deal with that.

nikipedia's avatar

That does complicate things.

There is nothing you can do to change their behavior. Like, if you haven’t talked to them already, give it a shot, but they seem intractable in this. All you can really do is keep things at some minimal level of cleanliness that’s tolerable for you until you can move. And if they want to bitch about you cleaning, they can bitch away. They’re nuuuuuuuuuuts.

galileogirl's avatar

Whatever happened to house rules and house meetings? Almost every communal refrigerator that I have ever seen has something like “This refrigerator will be cleaned out on Fridays, Any undated items or items past their due date will be discarded”

Their science projects are spreading spores to your food. It is a health hazard.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I think you’re getting bitched out at because that roomie is embarrassed. You know how it goes. Call a house meeting as soon as you can and point out the facts as you presented them here calmly. You have every right to have the communal spaces where you live be clean.

Also, let them know that if they refuse to take responsibility for their rotting food that it will be disposed of.

adreamofautumn's avatar

College roommates can be a giant pain in the ass. You are totally justified. I agree with the sentiment that if you did that for me, i’d cook you dinner not get angry!

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@casheroo: Why, I do them, of course! Mostly because I end up needing to use a fork or glass or something and they are ALL dirty. (Incidentally, my silverware also disappears, and I have no idea where it goes. I started the year with 4 large forks, 4 small forks, 4 large spoons, 4 small spoons, and 4 table knives. I now have 0 large forks, 2 small forks, 1 large spoon, 3 small spoons, and 2 knives, although I know one knife broke. All three of my roommates claim that they have no idea where any of them went, although I know that, earlier this year, they broke some of my glasses when drunk, then didn’t say anything about it until I asked point blank. Gah.)

@adreamofautumn: The only problem with them cooking me dinner is that they wouldn’t clean up afterwards. I would rather they didn’t cook at all, haha.

creativejuices's avatar

It sounds like your mates have no idea what communal space really means! I got stuck with the dishes and the trash everytime, either take it out or wake up to opossums on our back poarch, which I did TWICE!! (mean little bastards, hissed at me!)

I sugguest you call for a house meeting and CALMLY bring up all of the issues. I’m sure that everyone will have a few of their own to talk about.
You just don’t want to let it get this bad:
passiveaggressivenotes.
or another gem:
10 Roommates 1 Kitchen

jrpowell's avatar

Mini fridge. Keep your own shit in your room. Or wait it out. I don’t expect that they will be alive for much longer.

creativejuices's avatar

@TitsMcGhee: I see the other side to this argument… If I have spent the money and the 3 hours it takes to make this beautiful fucking meal the least they can do is the HELP me with the cleanup time. Or should I just start charging by the head?

Hey…. that sounds like something I should start! A little home business…... of sorts.

creativejuices's avatar

@johnpowell: that is what I eventually realized I would have to do to get an ounce of privacy out of my items.. or any use at all from the things I buy. But it also really sucks when you move in with your best friend, because you want to do all of these things together… at least at first you do. We loved going shopping for home goods together. But they all stayed with her when I moved back to the upstate…. strange how that worked out.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@creativejuices: Those links made me lol4rl. I also simply meant that I hate when my roommates cook and leave the dishes out for days. I also make them food and clean up all the goddamn time. I like them as people (usually), but sometimes I am flabbergasted at how disgusting they can be. I’m seriously frightened for next year, when they plan on sharing an apartment. The things that will be festering in that place… I shudder to think.

creativejuices's avatar

@TitsMcGhee: I finally started to just throw away some of the most decrepit pots and pans that had entire ecosystems started in them. They were already going through the stone age!!

creativejuices's avatar

And Yes. PassiveAggressiveNotes.com is amazingly awesome. I have found some of best gut busting laughter there!

marinelife's avatar

Your situation sounds bad.

That said, however, you should have posted a notice you were cleaning the fridge.

Once the term is up, seek new roommates. Set up all the rules in advance.

rancid's avatar

And I thought men were bad. Sounds like women have been hiding their dirty laundry very effectively all these years. I can’t believe you let the cat out of the bag, @TitsMcGhee!

The places I’ve been, you had to be organized, or you’d end up dead. You didn’t have much stuff, and what you did have was carefully organized so you could get at it when you wanted. It was very much like your militaries. here. Well, your elite units, anyway. I’m not sure I would ever be willing to voluntarily step into a Russian barracks again.

Likeradar's avatar

I think it would have been a good idea to notify the roomies before you cleaned. It’s gross and not ok that they keep that stuff in shared space, but it is their stuff, and a note or a mention of your intentions would have been good. And they may have even offered to help!

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@Likeradar: Nice of you to give them credit, but I can assure you that they never would’ve offered to help. They are also all on vacation (we’re on spring break), and left stuff to rot here while they were gone, sooooo…. I did let them know via facebook message that I was fed up and had to get rid of some of that stuff. It was starting to effect the taste of the (fresh) food I had in there. It also started to smell.

elijah's avatar

Don’t feel bad. They are pigs. You shouldn’t have to live in a shithole just because they’re lazy and gross.
I would of gave one warning, and then dumped all the dirty stuff in their rooms. Food included. Guacamole on the floor? Scoop it up and fling it in their room.
I know, I’m a bitch. Whatever.

Likeradar's avatar

@TitsMcGhee Facebook counts as notification. You did good, and your roomies sound like slobs.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@elijahsuicide: It is quite common for me to fling the belongings of the most messy of the three onto her bed (ie when she leaves her coat, hat, purse, gloves, books, shopping bags, mail, art supplies, etc. in the communal space), and I did think about putting the rotting food there too (Honestly, buttermilk that expired in February and had CHUNKS in it, I tell you, CHUNKS!), but I figured that it would cause more trouble for me in terms of vermin and pests and such, especially because she’s in Aruba until Sunday.

augustlan's avatar

I feel bad for you, Tits. They are crazy to be upset that you threw out expired/decayed food. In order to avoid all the drama in the future, post a note (while they are home, of course) a week before… or set up a house rule that you will be cleaning it out every <insert day here>.

Trustinglife's avatar

I admire your courage. You’re taking care of THEIR stuff, after all, that they refuse to deal with. Good on you, and good on your health and sanity. I imagine you can breathe better in your own place now.

To try to humanize them, my guess is that they’re not crazy, they just don’t like their stuff messed with. Even if it’s crusty and has CHUNKS. They probably feel threatened that you cleaned out their stuff, and wonder if their other stuff is safe in their own home. If you let them know what they can count on from you. That could be something like: “I will clear out the fridge/sink/floor every day/week/month, or whenever it gets too gross for me.” Again, I admire your courage in dealing with this. This is tough stuff. Good on you.

cyndyh's avatar

I can imagine as a busy student looking in the fridge and saying, “Wait, I thought I had buttermilk.” And then a roommate saying, “Yeah, it got old and gross while you were out of town so I threw it out”. Then “Oh, sorry. ... The fridge looks nice.” I think that’s the extent that I could ever see myself saying anything about it.

I do think I might be more miffed about my stuff being tossed onto my bed though. I’d want to come to some sort of agreement about what was ok and not ok in the communal space and for how long. I wouldn’t want to come in and put my books down on the table and come out of the bathroom to find them thrown on my bed or something. Yikes.

Then again, I’m not that big a slob. I can be a bit messy, but not downright gross.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@cyndyh: I really only move her things when I have repeatedly asked her to do it and she hasn’t. I find it pretty silly that she gets upset about her rotting food being gone, but she could care less when I pile her things on her bed. Quite strange.

cyndyh's avatar

Yeah, I’d call that strange, too. Here’s more power to you so you can hopefully hold out until May. I hope next year’s roommate situation is better for you.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Frankly, @TitsMcGhee, I think you’re a saint. However, I would put up Facebook notifications and maybe a sign on the fridge that said what Augustlan mentioned. At that point, you’ve given them notice, if they want something “saved”, it is their job to save it.

Also: ew, gross. I’m a total mess, so I can sympathize with the inability to keep things clean, but there’s messy and then there’s dirty. Dirty is gross.

Darwin's avatar

Sounds like the last set of roommates I had when I was in college (all early admissions freshmen, aged 16). It was the primary reason I moved off-campus to a tiny apartment that was mine, all mine! That and the fact that they blew up the toilet with a cherry bomb while I was out of town, and put their marijuana in my room before the Resident Mother inspection to try to get me in trouble (I found it and hid it in their suitcases, where their parents found it at home. Vengeance is sweet!)

What about a note laminated to the fridge door: “Notice: expired food will be tossed every Friday unless a note is attached explaining why it shouldn’t be.” Then it is on their heads to put notes on their stuff or tolerate its disappearance. From what you have said of them I doubt they will leave any notes, nor will it alleviate their angst, but it will make you feel better.

Of course, bear in mind that they may all be on some other social site asking how they can deal with a roommate who is a cleanliness nazi. :-)

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@Darwin: I certainly hope they aren’t. At this point, it was in our general health and safety that I threw things out, seeing as rotting food can contaminate fresh food.

Trustinglife's avatar

Yeah, but Tits, you’re assuming that fresh food is somehow healthier and more desirable than rotting food. Tsk, tsk.~

galileogirl's avatar

@Trustinglife Something tells me we don’t want an invitation to dinner at your house.

Trustinglife's avatar

Sarcasm, as denoted by tilde.

galileogirl's avatar

Ask Tits, nobody has anything to teach me about sarcasm. LOL

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@Trustinglife: Sadly, she thinks that’s a good thing. I also have trouble seeing how that statement merits a CAPS LOCK lol.

abeth24's avatar

Wow…this sounds EXACTLY like my fiances roommate. lol First of all, I can’t believe people can actually live like that. yuck! lol Second of all, you seem like a really nice person but I think it’s time you become a little more “strong” about getting them to clean their stuff. They should definitely be the ones to clean out the fridge, the dishes, kitchen table, etc. Even though you think it’s really gross, if they have to clean it…they will probably be more willing to take care of it sooner in the future.

Is there any way you can get them kicked out? Like get the school involved somehow?

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@abeth24: Sadly, there isn’t really a way to do that, but ever since they’ve gotten back, I’ve made it very clear that I want things clean. Every time I come home and they are there, one of the first things they say to me is “I’m going to move this soon/I’m going to clean this up soon.” It’s only been true half the time, but at least it’s been impressed upon them that I’m serious. I’m not gonna give up as easily this time either.

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