Monday, August 30, 2010

Into the Depths of My Freezer

What a mess. I hate cleaning out my freezer. Not only is it time consuming, but also kind of depressing. I hate throwing away food, but sometimes that food gets lost in the recesses of it, only to be found frostbitten and tasting like the freezer.  I practically give myself a lecture while I clean it out, telling myself that I need to keep it organized and that I need to keep better track of what's in there so I don't keep buying things I already have. 

But how does one go about doing that? How do you keep better track of what's in there? Space is limited in that narrow freezer (someday, I'd like one of those deep freezers so I can freeze jam, homegrown produce and herbs, and an extra turkey when they're super-cheap around the holidays), so everything isn't always visible. Some things, out of necessity, have to be tucked in the back, three shelves down.  It's as the saying goes: out of sight, out of mind. And that, I'm sorry to say, often leads to waste. 

Then I read a great tip in the September issue of Family Fun magazine. One reader says that she uses a dry-erase pen and writes her freezer's inventory on the flat, white places, like the front of the ice box.  The answer I needed! A great way to keep track of things in a simple way. 

So, when I cleaned out my freezer on Saturday, I had a little notepad and pencil next to me and I wrote down all the frozen meat/poultry/fish I had since those are the items that I seem to overlook.  Being former vegetarians, we still don't eat a lot of meat at our house, so I forget about the meat we have in the freezer. I'm sharing this, fully aware that I may come across as somewhat spacey or absent-minded.  But it's been a crazy summer for us, so I'll take solace in that.

Anyway, I was amazed at what I had in the freezer!  There were extra packages of bacon, extra hamburger patties from a family barbecue I that I forgot about, wild salmon fillets (I'd found an awesome deal on it a few weeks ago, bought some, stuck it in the freezer, and forgot), and three packages of ground chicken.  I think I kept buying the ground chicken, intending to use it in a particular recipe, but then plans would change. I'd forget that I had it and I'd buy more.  Duh. 

Here's the after picture (like I'd post a before one. Yikes!):

{The lighting's kind of weird in the picture, I admit. The light burned out ages ago. Never bothered to replace it.}

I got a dry-erase marker and wrote down the items that are hidden out of sight -- mostly meat, poultry, and fish.  I also included my frozen homemade frosting -- whenever I make too much, I freeze it like my mom does. Then, like with other things, I forget about it and make a new batch of frosting. Oh yeah, I think this new, easy inventory system is going to work very well for me.

So take inventory of your freezer. You never know what you may find. Hopefully, it will be something edible.


StrivingSimply said...

I like that idea! I had always toyed with chalkboard painting the front for the same purpose (another blogger did it, but I can't think for the life of me who it was). But this way I don't have to mess up my new freezer :o) Thanks

This Place is a Disaster! said...

What I do for my inside side-by-side freezer is: buy a "tote." I get them at Walmart, in the section of rubbermaid totes and drawers. They are Red, black, or white, They don't come with lids but they are STERILITE 12 qt tubs for washing dishes. UPC 73149065780. Anyway, they fit perfectly on one shelf of the freezer. I fill it with the small things like left over sauces in plastic bags, pepperoni, random things that don't stack well. Then, it acts just like a drawer and I pull it out, dig thorough it and push it back in when done. I can reach the back, bottom, and everywhere inbetween! Try it - it rocks!
And further more - I can't believe you don't have a freezer!!!!!!!! The best way to be frugal is through a freezer. THe endless possibilities when things go on sale!!!

Heather said...

I know, I know - I really need to get a stand-alone freezer {*hiding face in shame*}. They can save you so much money. Plus, I'll have extra space and my freezer won't be like a booby trap. I think when my family gets a little bigger, I will TOTALLY get one. As for now, I'm saving for a new dishwasher.

BTW, the tray/drawer is such a great idea!

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