Thursday, February 2, 2012

Organized Home Challenge - Week 4: Refrigerator and Freezer(s)

On to week #4 of the Organized Home Challenge, and our kitchen is finally complete!  This one took me a while, not because it was hard or time-consuming, but because I just didn't want to do it.  I hate cleaning out the refrigerator.  Ugh.  Seriously, it's one of my least favorite chores.  But, right now, it's SO clean, I may never want to have it get disorganized again! :)

The steps for this one, once again were pretty simple: empty, throw out anything you don't use or that's expired, clean, organize, put back.  Pretty easy, and really not that long a process.  You can check out the steps on the website linked above.

The first part was organizing the outside of the refrigerator.  Mine looked like this to start with:

Yes, I have small children!  This was actually the hardest part for me, but it made the biggest impact as well.  I threw out a bunch of the magnets that had been collected from dentists, pharmacies, etc.  I also donated the two big musical magnets (they drove me insane!).  We never use the marker board anymore, and all the kids papers have been moved to the message centers I made. If you missed that one, check it out here.  They have made a huge difference!!!

Then I moved onto the inside of the fridge.  Oops!  I forgot to take before pictures!  (Seriously, I forgot.  I'm not just trying to hide my mess...)  There were some leftovers that needed pitched, and some expired salad dressings, but really the biggest part was grouping things together.  Condiments are all in the door, which freed up a LOT of space, and then I grouped: drinks (milk, juice, etc), dairy products, lunchmeats/cheese, leftovers, fruits, vegetables.  It's so easy to find things now!

Then I moved on to the freezer part of the fridge.  I don't keep a lot up here, mostly lunch stuff (frozen soup, chicken nuggets) and some frozen vegetables.  The meat that I bought at the store to use this week is up here, too.  Here's where it started:

And here is where it ended up:

Finally, it was on to the basement and the upright freezer.  Now, we just bought this upright in December to replace to half-size freezers.  So, it hadn't had a lot of time to "collect" things.

I do keep a LOT of stuff in my deep freeze.  As you can see, I had a really productive garden, so I have a bunch of squash, zucchini, green beans, and rhubarb.  My father-in-law also gave me a lot of corn, so that is all in there as well.  Then at Christmas, my father-in-law always bakes cinnamon bread and sends us home with 4-5 loaves.  This year my mother-in-law decided to follow along, and made several loaves of quick breads, which of course had to go in the freezer as well.  Then there is my co-op.  I bring home 12-18 meals every month.  I've got a bit of a back log of those that need to be used up (and the next co-op meeting is on Monday!).  Plus there are some pies I've made that you can't even see in these before pictures!  So, I culled out some things that had been in there a questionable length of time, and reorganized, making better use of the drawers in the freezer.  And viola!

So, the kitchen is done!  Whew!  The next few weeks are covering associated areas, but nothing really huge for me: recipes, recycling, coupons, menu planning.  I'll still be doing the challenges, but don't expect stunning before and after pictures! :)

P.S.  The pantry is getting closer to being done.  I've gotten about 2/3 of my canisters now, so hopefully in the next few weeks it will be finished, and I'll post some real after pictures!