One of my roommates moved out this week, and a new one is moving in next week. To celebrate, we cleaned the fridge.
Fridge cleaning is most natural at the transition when a roommate moves out. The fridge is full of food of unknown provenance that must be claimed or discarded, lest it remain indefinitely. The total quantity of food is at a minimum, requiring the least effort to empty for cleaning. The old roommates want to make a good first impression on the new, and a smelly fridge with an unidentifiable rubbery/powdery residue just won’t do.
I kind of wish roommate transitions happened in January, though. Then we could just open the windows and not worry about the frozen goods melting. Instead we have to work with speed to ensure that nothing spoils (well, nothing that isn’t already an extraterrestrial mold colony).
In the process of cleaning we introduced a complete reorganization, with specified areas for common and individual food, which I predict will last for about two weeks. With three roommates, and a refrigerator that is not divisible by 3, it’s very difficult to resolve ambiguity about who owns food.