Jan 26, 2013

Cold Storage

It's a new year and as usual I have a bee in my bonnet to make my life more streamlined and organized.  After tackling the paperwork situation, I stumbled upon a picture from Pinterest that blew my mind.

via Undressed Skeleton

I loved that the entire fridge was used.  And that the produce took up a large visual chunk of space and the foods that would be worse choices (hello, cupcakes) were kind of hidden.  Seems like it would be easier to make good food choices if all of the things you should be eating were directly in your line of sight when you open your fridge.  Plus everything was contained.  No random fruits lolling around.  No runaway baggies of carrot sticks forgotten in the back corner. The other part of this photo that rocked my world was the shelf placement.  This is where being a linear-sequential kind of gal gets me in trouble.  My fridge shelves have been in the exact same arrangement since we came into possession of said fridge seven years ago.  It hadn't occurred to me that the way I arranged them in 2006 may not be working for me anymore!  Facepalm.

So I decided to do something about it.  One trip to Storables for some clear bins and about an hour later, here's the fridge arrangement I came up with.

I wanted all of our produce to be as in-your-face as possible, so we'd be more likely to grab some as a snack than something naughty.  Yes, we dedicated an entire drawer for soda.  Yes, we know it is bad for us.  We're trying to remove processed carbs from our diet, but let's face it, quitting soda is rough.  They need an 1-800 "Soda Cessation" hotline that you can call.  In the meantime, we'll take our food improvements one step at a time, thank you.  (Pass me a Sprite Zero.)  We go through a TON of salsa in this house, and we always seem to have at least one open bottle of wine, so both of those got their own spot.  Same thing goes for eggs- one carton of fresh eggs and one carton of hard-boiled.  We filter our water and keep the reservoir in the fridge, which means we're more likely to choose water as a drink because it's nice and cold.  And we left a big space open next to the water.  Steve happened to have a RockStar in there from pulling an all-nighter at work when I snapped the picture, but we thought it would be good to leave us some play in case any of these areas overflowed, or if we needed to stock up for situations like holidays or hosting parties.

The door of our fridge got a makeover, too.

Steve and I would constantly be buying condiments or dressings because we thought we were out.  In reality, we already had some but couldn't find any because what we needed was jumbled in with other random bottles and jars.  When you've got three open bottles of ranch dressing, things are out of hand.  So we consolidated all of the dressings in one shelf.  Condiments that would be appropriate for sandwiches or bratwurst got its own shelf (yes, those are four *different* types of mustard).  Toppings like horseradish, capers, and kalamata olives got their own shelf, and so did sauces that we typically use during cooking like Worcestershire, lemon juice, and teriyaki sauce.  I wish I had another small shelf that could live across from the butter.  I'd love a dedicated shelf for things like yogurt and cottage cheese, which I always have to dig for on the "small containers" shelf in our fridge.  I wonder if I can find one online...?

And since I was on a roll, I decided to organize our top freezer as well.

Aside from the bag of ice that we keep for stocking drinks in when we entertain, most of our fridge contents are produce.  We love SteamFresh veggies- they're so easy!  I like to keep frozen berries in the fridge (a cup of berries with Greek yogurt and a tablespoon or two of agave is one of my favorite not-too-bad-for-you desserts).  We also keep grab-n-go meals in there.  Currently we've got a couple packages of Stouffer's stuffed peppers and some homemade twice-baked potatoes holding down the fort.

Our freezer door was a cinch.  One shelf for frozen seafood- prawns and fillets- and one for household stuff that needs to be frozen plus my favorite summer treat- Otter Pops.  Totally takes me back to being a kid.  There's definitely more veggies and ice than protein in our freezer, but that's because we have a chest freezer out in our garage.  That's where all of our chicken breasts and thighs live, along with what's left of a quarter of grass-fed beef we split with Steve's parents last spring.

We've lived with our fridge and freezer this way for about two weeks.  Overall, this arrangement has been working really well for us so far.  It's more visually appealing   It's easier to find what you're looking for and easier to tell what you're missing.  We've actually been able to make less trips to the grocery store because we're more likely to know exactly what we have and what needs to go on the grocery list at any given time.  We're not losing any random perishables in the back corners of the fridge.  And we're finding that we do eat more produce now that it's more visible and easier to access.

Anyone have more fridge and freezer organizational tips and tricks to share?

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