Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Baby steps to getting organized!!

My New Year resolution this year is to get organized. Normally taking on such a large task means failure is likely, but I have a plan. First develop manageable size projects that can be completed in one to four hours. Second keep motivated by sharing my ideas, success and insights learned.

My first task is to manage the black hole of frozen foods, the FREEZER. Have you ever brought frozen foods only to find out later you already have three, or four in the freezer. I became very aware of this as I took on my first organizing project. I have a chest freezer but these same concepts can be applied to uprights.

BEFORE storing anything in the freezer, date and label all items; trust me you will not remember what that bag of leftover turkey meat is after one month in the freezer. Use two freezer thermometers (placed in different sections of the freezer) to monitor the temperature which should be zero degrees or below. Cool hot foods in the refrigerator first to prevent harmful bacteria growth. One last thing, recloseable freezer bags are your friends. Remember to remove as much air as possible before sealing the bag.

Inventory items on hand then find an organizing system so items can be easily found. Since I have a chest freezer I divided my freezer into four sections with stacking baskets for meats, fruits/vegetables, prepared foods, and miscellaneous items. Using baskets allows for the removal of a basket, to limit lost energy or frostbite while looking for a particular item. Repackage purchased meats from the store into freezer bags place in coldest section of freezer to maintain quality. You can even add marinate into bags before freezing this saves time later. Fruits and Vegetables, I like variety and a garden explains the rest. Check out Mandel Smith's post from May 22, 2009 "Plan Now for Summer Produce" to safely freeze fruits and vegetables.

Prepared foods include: soups, casseroles, pizza, and purchased prepared foods. When freezing soups, pour cooled soups into freezer bags and freeze flat for ease of stacking later and to shorten defrost time. For upright freezers try using a plate stacker or cooling racks to prevent crushing of items like pizza or casseroles. Cooling racks are also useful to hold cookie sheets to freeze bagged items flat or for freezing loose berries before bagging. Miscellaneous items such as leftovers, snack foods, and baking supplies; flour, nuts, chocolate chips, butter, and eggs. If you are considering freezing eggs crack them into a dish and lightly beat before storing in air tight container.

With some help it took about an hour to organize, and inventory everything onto four magnetized easer boards now posted on the front of the freezer. Job one done, Success!! Got ideas, or problem areas in your house post your comments.

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