The Big Chill

The organized version

The organized version

I couldn’t take it anymore.  My upright freezer had become a death trap, attacking innocent people who were only looking for a package of hamburger, throwing bags of frozen fruit at innocent bystanders, and maliciously secreting packages of newly-purchased salmon in its icy depths.

Something had to be done, and I was just the person to do it.

First, I researched various organizing ideas on Pinterest and the Internet at large and decided on using baskets to corral things.

Then, I counted the shelves and measured everything—height between the fixed shelves, width of the interior, and the depth.  I figured out the maximum dimensions the baskets could be, and how many would go on the shelves (10), leaving one shelf for oversized items like turkeys and water jugs.  Then, I made a list of the different types of items I needed to categorize (hey, I’m a librarian—it’s what we do.)  I figured I needed containers for: beef, chicken, pork, seafood, dairy, breads, quick meals, fruits, veggies, and stocks.

Next, I headed to the Dollar Tree.  I was able to find 10 navy blue containers that were within the maximum dimensions that I wanted.  They weren’t quite as sturdy as I was hoping for, but it’s hard to complain for $10.

Then, I printed my categories onto cardstock, cut them apart into 4.5” x 2” cards and laminated them with clear contact paper.  I measured the holes in the baskets, and punched corresponding holes in the cards.  I then tied each card onto a basket with thin jute twine.

It was time to organize.  I was in the midst of a summer cold, and may have been a touch feverish when I decided that the middle of the afternoon on a mid 90s day in the garage was a good time to do this (my husband was greatly alarmed when I came back in afterwards, flushed and dizzy).  I dug out some winter gloves (which I highly recommend if you’re going to be moving things for any length of time in the freezer) and set up a card table with my baskets.  I sorted out the contents into those baskets like a Vegas card dealer.  Freezer burned mystery meats and similarly ruined foods lost in corners went right into a garbage bag.  I’m ashamed to say that I was astonished by the amounts of foods I found that I had forgotten about.  I had BAGS of flour (not one—several) that I’d forgotten about.  Several pork roasts I’d purchased on sale.  A turkey breast.  A large bag of ginger snaps.  A whole bag of sliced provolone cheese.  As a matter of fact, I had so much food that some of the containers were overflowing, and I had to use extra space on the shelves next to the containers for the overflow.

Now, however, my world is a little more right.  One of those pork roasts went right into the crockpot the next day.  I asked my son to get a package of ground beef out of the freezer last night, an action which a week ago would have gone something like this:

“We don’t have any; I looked around but couldn’t find one.”

“Yes, we do, I just bought some.”

“Well, then you’ll have to look, because I can’t find any.”

….(Me, sighing in exasperation, pulling my shoes on and trekking out to the garage and digging around till I found the package)…  “See.  I told you we had one.”


Instead, my son went out to the garage and came back in moments with the package and said, “Where do you want it?”

Life is good.


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