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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Shopping My Freezer This Week

my chest freezer "after"
foods I will need very soon (like Friday's pizza) are on top or in the hanging baskets on either side

While  I am putting a list together of what I want to stock up on before fall begins, I didn't go grocery shopping in a store this week. I've got enough milk and eggs to get through another 7-10 days.

I did, however, shop my freezers this week while I cleaned and organized them. I have a total of 4 freezer spaces, 2 fridge/freezers and 2 stand alone freezers (1 freezer is apartment size, the other is mid-sized). On Saturday I tackled the mid-sized deep freeze. Those with chest freezers understand the frustration of trying to find anything when the freezer is full. I routinely pull everything out, putting items on the garage floor while I search for that one needed item. 

under the pizza, my daughter's ready-meals
they had been scattered, I put them all in one box

Having had it with the frustration, I set out to organize that freezer first. I once read about a clever lady who used milk crates in her chest freezer to help keep it organized. I don't have any milk crates, but I do have lots of cardboard shipping boxes in all sizes. So, I used cardboard boxes to corral specific categories of foods. I have 2 boxes for meat, 1 for frozen vegetables, and 1 each for my daughters. My daughters sometimes buy or make foods for themselves to help themselves put together quick lunches. These individually packaged homemade foods tend to get jumbled in with the rest of the family's frozen foods. Separating them into boxes for each daughter will help them find what they want and remind them to use up the foods they already have before buying or making more.

to the left of the ready-meals is a box of frozen vegetables, easy to get to
we had 2 open bags of peas and 3 open bags of broccoli -- a pet peeve of mine to have numerous open packages of the same food

I also went through everything in the kitchen freezer this week. This is the least organized of my freezer spaces. All of the little tidbits end up in this freezer. And again, my daughters had a bunch of their own foods in it. I again, sorted out their foods and put them into small boxes for each of them. I also combined items with like ones as I found them. I had a couple of containers of frozen bananas for banana bread. I put them all into one container. I found bread crumbs and a square of cornbread. I combined those to use together when I make bread stuffing again. And I had a bunch of different types of meat fat in separate containers. I combined those into 2 containers. We'll just have to be less picky about type of meat fat used when cooking. I found a bag of marshmallows (I have no idea why we froze those) and two freezer bags with whipped cream. This stuff looks a little old, but I will try to salvage it in something.

the bottom of the freezer -- a box of meat (in the flour bag and other bag), some jugs of milk, and a bag of ice packs

I said I've been shopping my freezers. I found so many foods that were prepped and ready to throw together with other items. Foods like sliced cooked ham and turkey, refried beans, cooked rice, diced fruit, ice cream, cooked dry beans, and many others. I even found some shredded mozzarella cheese, something I was really needing for our Friday pizzas. I still have two more freezers to go. Even so, after organizing these first 2 freezer spaces, I have plenty to work with for meals and snacks, so much so I really haven't needed to go to the store for any shopping.

In addition to not spending new money at the store, organizing my freezer spaces means I am not wasting the money already spent on food. There is no savings in a freezer full of food that is never eaten.

10 comments:

  1. I also have been shopping my freezer since about the new year. Mostly because time was so tight when mom was sick and needed daily care, second, because the freezer itself was almost too full. Now I'm not interested in paying the high cost of meat and other foods so once again, I shop my freezer. I know I should be stocking up but I also know that at some point it's time to rotate out what I already have so it doesn't get freezer burned. There's only two of us most of the time and it has become more difficult to use what's there versus when we had 3 kids and 2 adults where we plowed through food.

    On a side note, my daughter got safely home from the country where she was teaching for 6 years. She will stay home in the US from now on and thankfully has secured a job here.

    Alice

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alice,
      First of all, I'm so glad for you that your daughter is back in the US now.
      Absolutely -- at some point we do need to use what we've stocked up on. I'm continuing to do some stocking up, but it's mostly dry basics like grains, beans, oil, etc that don't use freezer space. Again, glad your daughter is back.

      Delete
  2. Relieved to hear that even someone as well-organized as yourself ends up with all those tidbits in the fridge freezer. I've been making smoothies to use up some, but need to go through and make a plan for the rest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cat,
      Oh yeah, the kitchen freezer is always a mess. That's the spot we put all of the small amounts/leftovers. I did find several bags and containers of chopped fruit that we'll either use in smoothies, or I'll bake into a cobbler soon. I'm glad to have done that freezer as it gives us a little more fruit in a time when I'm not buying fruit other than bananas, and the garden is not producing much fruit yet.Good luck using up your odds and ends.

      Delete
  3. Organizing my freezers is on my "To Do" list. I have a small chest freezer and the one with my kitchen freezer. They are jam.packed.full. I have tried several organizational methods which have just been a bust. Your post has inspired me to try again, plus, I'm not really sure what all is in there now as I haven't inventoried it in a while.

    I've been trying to use up the meats in there, but like Alice said, using up the stores there are slow going with just 2 adults. I always look forward to company for the fellowship part of visits, but also for emptying the fridge part as well! I feel like some "hoarding" tendencies come out when it comes to my stockpile. Right now, when I see a good sale, I feel like I "need" to take advantage (like .97 # pork roast or 1.67# strawberries) due to rising prices. But I'm trying to show more restraint and use up more of what we already have.

    We head out of town for our annual family reunion at (another!) beach in the state and that should help as I've stored a few things in the freezer to be used then. But, if I had more room, I would make ahead some of the foods for that week like a breakfast casserole. As it stands right now, I'll need to take the ingredients with me as there isn't room for that currently in either of my freezers. Maybe? I'll be able to make some room in the next week to get this done, but I have my doubts! The struggle is real :) Lynn

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh my, freezers. Mine seem to always be full, even though I don’t feel like I buy much. I’m working on making space because we want to buy half a beef in a couple months, plus hunting season will be here soon. I feel like I’m constantly digging for something that I have lost. I have tried sorting things like you did, and I just don’t keep up with it. I ended up taking most of the king salmon into my Dh and ds’s store and played Santa. I started with the hourly employees, and moved on to the salespeople. I ran out of salmon before I ran out of employees lol. I cooked some for dinner and my Dh wouldn’t eat it, so I decided I wasn’t going to take up valuable freezer space with fish we weren’t going to eat. I’m glad it went to people who will eat it, and even more happy it’s out of my freezer!

    Diane

    ReplyDelete
  5. This must be the Season of Finding Freezer Organization. I did our fridge/freezer a few weeks ago and my husband did our upright freezer a week ago. I'm right there with you with the fridge/freezer always ending up a mess. I'm not sure boxes would work for me there but maybe some other kind of container would be helpful. Hmmm.

    ReplyDelete
  6. As the comments suggest, freezers tend to lend themselves to being disorganized. And with 4, I don't know how you keep track of it all. We don't have a packed full freezer, but a recent inventory showed that we have some things that should be used soon. Now that we have a full kitchen again, I think that will happen.

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  7. I'm right there with the rest of you all! I try and try to be organized but always seem to gradually fall back down the rabbit hole. I bought some plastic bins a few years ago at the dollar store and they seem to help some. I keep working on using up then restocking either via sale or something from the garden. Then if I'm getting hard on myself, I try to remind myself that all that food are blessings indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  8. We have only a chest freezer in addition to our refrigerator/freezer. We're always jam packed too, and any available space gets consumed very quickly. Everything new and old gets stuck in the freezer and because we're frugal we will never have excess freezer space. You can tell, an empty freezer is a tell tale sign that the person is not frugal. Recently I got snart and started wearing neoprene gloves when digging through the freezer. Makes the task less painful.

    Have a nice evening,
    Laura

    ReplyDelete

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