Today is freezer organising day! I am so rapt with how our fridge turned out after the big clear-out and reorganise last week, so I was looking forward to doing the same with the freezer (my husband thinks it's hilarious that I get excited about organising a freezer... but he's the same when he gets to use his tools!).
I usually keep the freezer fairly organised, but I always find that by the end of December, some of my systems go a bit downhill as the mayhem of the month takes over. This is what it was looking like when I opened it after our holiday. Not terrible, but I wasn't too sure what was lurking on the top right shelf, and the meat stock had completely run out.
After a big grocery shop, I separated the meat into meal portions, chopped it up (a huge time-saver when it comes to meal prep), and labelled and dated the ziplock bags for freezing.
I then pulled everything out of the freezer and laid it out. I worked pretty quickly on this project so that things didn't start to defrost on the kitchen bench! As you can see, I have 3 baskets for separating meat, fish, and chicken (I also throw bacon into the chicken basket). The small ziplock bags labelled with a V are vegetable stock that we make using veggie scraps (a great tip from Frugal and Thriving). You can also see the large bag of veggie scraps below. Think I need to get onto making some stock! There were a few random items floating around that I just threw out, as I wasn't too sure how long they'd been in the freezer.
I used this opportunity while everything was out to give the shelf and compartments a wash, and the whole freezer a good wipe-down (again using the vinegar and water combo). I think it's important to always start with a blank slate in any organising project!
I then looked at what I needed to get rid of, what was working well and what items could use some storage solutions. My sister-in-law gave me these awesome Tupperware freezer containers last year for my birthday (she knows me too well!). I am happy with how they are working, so there were no real changes there, apart from putting the kids' fish fingers into one of the small containers. The 'baking' container holds muffins or cupcakes that my son and I bake each week, so I always have something to throw in lunch boxes. The batch of breadcrumbs made from crusts of bread also has it's own large container. I popped these containers back into the freezer after a quick wipe.
When I made my fridge labels the other day, I did some freezer ones at the same time, so I attached these to the 3 baskets. I tried rearranging the shelves so I could fit more in, and this was my first attempt...
Sometimes with an organising project, things don't fit the way you want them to, or it doesn't look the way you were picturing...I wasn't happy with my first attempt so I made a few adjustments. The baskets down the bottom weren't able to slide easily as they were a bit too wide, and I wasn't a fan of how jumbled everything looked in the freezer door. Luckily, I had storage containers (from the dollar store) lying around from previous projects, so I measured these white ones up against the current baskets. They were slightly narrower, and I had 3 so they were perfect for what I needed.
I transferred the meat over, and the basket, although narrower, still held quite a lot.
Here is my second attempt, which I was a lot happier with. The top shelf hold the veggie scrap bag and a container for the bags of stock we make. Next to the peas & fish finger containers are bread products. The bottom shelf now fits all the containers so they can slide in and out easily (and yes, that is a whole chicken in the fish basket! I hadn't bought any fish this week so I just popped it in there for now!).
I used smaller containers to corral a few random items, such as paddlepops, the ends of parmesan, which we like to throw into minestrone (delicious!), and bananas which I try to have a stock of in the freezer for baking. Pastry and wraps are standing in the bottom compartment, while the top has the bread crusts that I collect to make the breadcrumbs, and the ice brick and wrapped filo pastry.
Pretty happy with how this turned out after a bit of shuffling around and reorganising. Now I can clearly see everything, what needs to be re-stocked and what needs to be used up so that nothing goes to waste. Hopefully it stays this way... at least until December rolls around again! :) Now, I'm off to make some stock!!