Today I am going to share with you another one of those "Why did I wait so long?!" projects that I tackled this weekend. I have been reminded for a second time now, that these projects are NOT HARD PEOPLE! Why I keep putting them off for months and years, I just cannot figure out! Project of this week? Cleaning my freezers. I'll admit it. We were doing the freezer dance. You know the one. The one where you quickly throw something in the freezer and shut the door before it slides down and drags another five items out. I'll also sadly admit we've been doing this for a while. Maybe for weeks. Maybe for months. I am a busy woman right?! I don't have time to take the 14 minutes that this took... wait? It only took 14 minutes?! Yeah. Okay, I didn't time myself, but it honestly didn't take very long. I was eating pancakes at the same time even.
So here is the sad display of both my freezers. We have your typical refrigerator freezer upstairs and a chest freezer in our basement.
So I probably don't really need to tell you how to clean our your freezer, but I will anyway to fill up this post. :D Remove all the contents of your freezer. Pile them on your counters, like so.
Throw away all the yucky stuff. I may or may not have had items over 2 years old. I MOVED expired food. All judgements are completely warranted. Also, I am not showing you a picture of all the food I threw away. I am too embarrassed. It had to be done. Also, to show you how completely disorganized I was (I am not sure why I am admitting this to everyone!), I had two bags of frozen peas open, three bags of frozen corn open (that's right, three), two bags of frozen strawberries open, and two bags of frozen bananas. Kind of ridiculous, I know.
So in order to organize this monstrosity, I decided I needed to do three things.
- Physically organize the food so it would stop falling on me.
- Create some sort of freezer inventory so I don't waste so much food!
- Do this for free(sies). Get it? Pun intended. We are not planning to keep my refrigerator, or really much of anything in our current kitchen when we remodel. I do not want to spend money on shelving, containers, or a marker board that may not fit in or with our new kitchen in a few months. So free it had to be, plus why not let things be free!
For my deep freezer I just organized the items by location in the freezer. I haven't put anything into containers since the freezer is pretty big and not that full, so it doesn't seem too chaotic. Plus, quite frankly I don't mind digging around in there to find what I need. That's what deep freezers are for! As long as I know what is in there to find.
For my upstairs freezer, I dug out some containers from the back of the cupboard (perhaps another organization intervention is needed) that I don't use that often. I put the veggies in one, the fruit in one, crammed the breastmilk in the way back (that I at least already had stored in a container) along with my pancake mix and ice cream, and organized the other items in the door. Presto! No freezer avalanche. I did move a lot of items from upstairs to my downstairs freezer. I am trying the keep items I use more frequently upstairs, and the other stuff downstairs. I don't need two packages of my homemade "refried" beans upstairs when we eat one every month or two. Admittedly, a shelf would be nice in this freezer, but I am doing just fine without one, and a shelf would not be free.
As far as inventory, I decided to make a make-shift marker board out of a plastic sheet protector. I typed up the categories that I wanted on a sheet of paper and slipped that into the sheet protector. Now I can use an erasable marker on the outside to keep track of what I have in each group. I can erase when I need to for updates. I keep it located on the side of my fridge with a magnet. Easy peasy! I think eventually, if I find that I keep up with and find that this system works well for me, I may invest in a nicer looking marker board. It would also be simple enough to paint the inside of a cupboard with chalkboard paint and keep your groups organized there. You could also be super simple and write it on regular paper, I just didn't want to have to re-write everything all the time.
Cheers to fresh, non freezer burnt, family meals in our future. Do you have a freezer frenzy happening in your house? Have you found motivation to tackle any projects on your to do list? Fill me in!