Sunday, August 5, 2012

Quick Tip: Freezer Organization

Since we just have a small, above the fridge type freezer- and 5 people, I am forever working on ways to maximize our space. This also helps minimize our food budget! The key to keeping a freezer effective and efficient is organization.
One of my favorite findings is freezing items FLAT so they stack and fit nicely.
I also LOVE using baskets to keep things grouped together, AND to keep them from falling out on me.

Another tip that homemakers use for freezers of all sizes is inventorying them. I used to keep mine in my Home Binder, but it was sometimes hard to remember to cross off when I'd use something. So, I switched to posting my chart on the fridge. That seemed to work, except it fell a lot, got drawn on by little artists, was a dirt magnet, etc. Now I use an index card system. Simple to do, simple to read, and stays both handy for Mom and out of the way of grubby little snatchers.
It's super easy to meet YOUR needs. I use the following categories: beef, pork, chicken, veggies, other, desserts/juices (we hardly ever have either! lol), and ingredients/condiments/etc.

The meats are pretty self-explanatory.  I'll have some things that are cooked and portioned into family-sized servings (like ground beef), and some that are marinating. The card should tell me what's going on. Somethings are just popped into the freezer because I got them on the sell-by date and I hadn't time to fix them up. Since my charcoal steaks say nothing about them, I know I'll have to slice them up or something when I go to use them. 

"Other" has things like leftovers we like for lunches- but not the next day. Such as chili, curry, etc. Hot dogs also go here because we seldom have them, and they are often mixed meats. I have some catfish nuggets in the freezer right now, so that's there too.

Things like my cubes of tomato paste, cubes of grated ginger, and pork fat for rendering are in the "ingredients..." category. When I get butter on sale, it goes here too.

I go through a lot of "Veggies" cards. To simply it, I break some things like ears of corn into family-serving sizes. Other things I mark how much is left rather than cross the whole bag off.

It's all right there for me to make my menu plans/shopping lists with a magnetic clip. (4 for $1 in the dollar bins at Target.) Every once-in-a-while, when a card is full or too messy to read, I'll go through and re-write the unused items from it on a clean one. This week my "beef" card is nice and pretty! ;-)