Huston, we have a problem. Our freezer is suffering under lack of space and very slow storage turnover.
So, yes, we are frustrated about our freezer, more specifically about the fact that it is reminding us a cryo chamber, where things go in and never come out. (Not very feasible strategy in the long run I must admit).
Strategies to empty the freezer
Of course, there is an option to toss everything and start from the clean slate so to speak or try to eat down our freezer, but so far these strategies has not worked for us. As tossing the whole thing will upset at least my lizard brain and makes me feeling bad about food waste. Though surprisingly it is OK, if the things are in the frozen state in the freezer and we will not use them, which is also waste and eventually we do need to throw them out anyway. So go figure :S.
The other strategy of eating down the freezer makes lizard brain happy, but it works limited time. As we start with easy foods/leftovers and in the mid-way through we loose motivation/inspiration . But even though after applying all these strategies to empty the freezer, we cannot seem to prevent it to turn back into food/leftover cemetery/cryo chamber after some weeks.
Strategy to organise and manage freezer space
So now after dowering the whole afternoon over freezer organising articles, I believe I have a good blueprint for freezer managing strategy. (And, oh yes, it sounds so businessy, who is saying that you cannot use business terminology to organise your home :D).
Goal - organised freezer to reduce food waste and usability. Having a space and keeping minimum stock (ehehe, we are doing stock management :) and optimisation in our little kitchen :)).
So yeah, I am hoping that this afternoon reading and trying to strategise on how to organise my freezer, would lead me with extra space for seasonal veggies/fruits for the winter months, space for Baby R purees, pancakes, dhal and some other easy dinners for busy family, space for lazy evenings/hygge treats and something good for unexpected quests. (Njah, though the last thing might almost never happen, as in Denmark, people plan ahead at least 2 weeks before a spontaneous dinner with friends. So maybe these goodies will be for planned unexpected guests).
My action plan to tame the freezer
- Using binder clips to hang frozen veggies. (Even though, I think idea is great it wouldn’t be doable in our freezer, as we have a drawers. Well therefore it is here as a good inspirational idea for future freezers. Because good freezer management ideas should not go to waste ;)).
- Using organising bins in the drawers. IKEA boxes etc. (Also labelling bins sounds like a good idea, though again not very feasible with our drawers. So we go just with bins this time).
- Labelling containers and bags with masking tape (Definitely, the labelling area has been weak so far). So, no more mystery boxes and bags are allowed in our freezer. All goodies will be now on marked as What these are? When these are made and how many servings these hold + heating instructions. (As even though you can sometimes recognise, what the box contains, remembering when it was made is usually forgotten. I know i have tried it :S).
- Freezing things flat, so I can stack and line these up in the bins. (Also it would make easier to flip through the freezer content. Currently we are sort of doing it with stocks and berries, when these are vacuum packed. Though these are not stored up right position and yes vacuum packer is a good investment to consider).
- No, to plastic containers as they to take up way too much space and they are bulky. (So ditching boxes will save you space. Who would have thought about that :S. According to this video, after 67 years of producing plastic products, we have recycled only 5 % of these. That is scary to think about and makes me very motivated to sort our plastic waste properly).
- Keeping an inventory. Well, every storage needs one, otherwise managing it might turn out to be difficult if not nightmarish if there is more than 10 items. (Again, I have not been very good at that and totally see the use of it). Here is a good inspirational printable freezer/ pantry inventory list to get yourself organised
- Lastly and most importantly, set the time to eat down your freezer stock to increase turnover and storage space.
Some recipes/food projects I’m considering for my freezer
- (Snacks)- Carrot Cake Power bites (sounds like an awesome thing to have in your freezer, when you are mum)
- (Easy Lunch) Three Sisters Empanadas (hmm, we have a three squashes from last weeks CSA bag that needs to be used and we like empanadas so win-win)
- (Easy Lunch/Dinner) Chicken lentil soup
- (Snacks) Banana bites (again awesome idea for quick sweet treat, plus it is healthier than regular candy)
- Tortillas (good to have a quick tacos or huevos rancheros)
- (Quick Dinner) Dahl and some other Indian curries
- Stocks (as currently the scraps dedicated to stocks are taking up way too much space).
So what is your freezer strategy?