Monday, March 24, 2014

54 Monthly Clean Home Challenge: Clean Out Freezer

Welcome back to the Monthly Clean Home Challenge daily task!  I am on a quest to maintain a clean and organized home in less time and the goal is simple; four daily tasks, four weekly tasks and one additional quick task each week day. 

In no particular order, here are the individual tasks I am tackling each day this month:
  1. Make cleaning supplies
  2. Cycle clean appliances
  3. Clean out cars
  4. Clean out microwave
  5. Wipe down cabinets/appliances
  6. Wipe down trim/doors
  7. Clean out one drawer
  8. Clean out fridge
  9. Clean out freezer
  10. Vacuum under furniture
  11. Vacuum mattresses
  12. Clean oven
  13. Clean out one closet
  14. Wash out garbage can/recycle bin
  15. Wash windows
  16. Scrub grout
  17. Clean out one cabinet
  18. File paper piles
  19. Purge bathroom toiletries
  20. Clean out pantry

Today I am chatting about the extra task:  Clean Out Freezer


When I cleaned out our fridge, I mentioned that beyond just a quick clean-up, it also needed to be organized.  We purchased our side-by-side last fall and I had just been waiting to make the time to put some good storage and systems in place.  Well, the freezer was in the same boat.  Although it was much worse....


Seriously!?  You guys say you like to see my messes, so here you go!

Even while our fridge was a bit messy; it wasn't bad enough to cause us to over-purchase all that often.  Other than shredded cheese that is, seemed like we always had plenty of that...  We typically eat fresh foods and produce and do a pretty good job with our meal planning and purchasing.  Until the freezer comes along.  I have needed to take care of this mess for far too long.  Once the organization {or lack there of} was out of control, it only continued to spiral.  We no longer had any idea of what we had, and every trip home from the grocery store meant tapping into our mad Tetris playing abilities.  And what is up with us completely neglecting the available door pocket space?  I think once it was already bad, we just figured we would need an abundance of time to clean it out and fix it.  But that was far from the truth, this quickie freezer refresh really didn't consume too many minutes out of my day, but the results were incredibly worth the time I did invest.


The process I followed today mimicked the fridge process from a few weeks ago.  As with any cleaning/organizing project, I gave myself a blank slate to work with and emptied everything out onto the counter.  After the interior was wiped down, I quickly categorized the frozen foods; reviewing the expiration dates and assessing how much of each product type we had.  Once I knew how much each category contained, I was able to determine the best way to store it all within our given space and current container situation.


I quickly placed each item back into a bin by category.


Hello organized freezer!  Already a bajillion times better!

I was almost nervous that once things would be organized, they wouldn't fit any longer.  But I found packages of frozen berries that expired in 2012, so I was able to make some space.

Of course, the goal is to ensure we don't end back where we started.  Some label love to help the entire family stay on the same page {since cough cough, I am not the only one who puts away groceries or utilizes the freezer}, and the clear bins should assist us in gaining a quick inventory of our belongings before a trip to the grocery store.


The top shelf contains a bin with our breakfast items and all of our "quick" lunch meals to the right.  We like to whip up a batch of homemade waffles on the weekend and freeze those for the week ahead so the bin helps wrangle those along with other breakfast goodies.


Other bins hold chicken strips, vegetables, fruits and potatoes {hash-browns/french fries, etc...}.


The bottom drawer was perfect for oversized packages of frozen meets and seafood.


The labels were created by digging into my label stash and finding some decorative Martha Stewart options and pairing them with my clear label maker tape.


I even made sure to utilize the door now!  Such a happy ending to what was a not-so-happy freezer!





Looking for something?  Check out my favorite cleaning products below:



54 comments:

  1. Any ideas for a french door freezer. It can become a pit, too.

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    Replies
    1. Me too!! The bottom of the freezer is a deep deep pit and everything gets lost down there!!!!

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    2. Hmmm, I haven't had to work with one of those personally - hopefully some readers can chime in with what has worked best for them. :)

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    3. I have a French door fridge w/freezer on the bottom. I do have a couple of drawers, so it makes organization a bit easier. I still try to keep "like with like".
      - top bin: is frozen veggies & blocks of cheese
      - middle bin (smaller tray): I keep packaged meat (like chicken breasts, pork chops, or steak),
      - bottom bin (largest space): I keep foods that I've prepared and stored flat in labeled gallon size freezer bags (ie. soups, crock pot meals, spaghetti, ground beef or shredded chicken, homemade broth, etc.)

      Delete
  2. Oh my goodness! I love this! Our youngest son won't even open our side by side freezer because he's afraid something will fall out! :-) I can't wait to get started on ours tomorrow. Thank you for sharing!

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  3. Where did you get your nightstand?

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    Replies
    1. My mother purchased them for me years ago when I moved out of my home {I was 18}. I believe they were a Slumberland find.

      xo!

      Delete
  4. I also use bins like those. Plus two in my closet to hold flip flops. We keep a wipe on/off board by our freezer. We write down what we usually have on one side and just put tallies beside each item for how many. It is super helpful and doesn't require a lot of time.

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    Replies
    1. We use to do freezer inventory but it seemed like I was the only one doing it and I am not the one who does most of our cooking. Maybe I will have to whip it back out now that we have an organized freezer, and try again. :) Those bins really are amazing right? Love them so!

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  5. your results are always impressive, the freezer looks great now. so, i was inspired by this and started to set some tasks for myself too (not really the ones on your list, and i am writing things down as i noticed they need to get done). today i took out the drawers in my wardrobe and vacuumed and wiped down the wardrobe bottom under the drawers, then went on and reorganized the drawers, purging some things that just had to go. then i had a question in my mind. will you have this tasks on rotation? i mean, will you do them again on the next spring, or will you set a period to re-do them, or will just let it be and when you feel they need to be done they wil? thanks

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    Replies
    1. Congrats Ronise! So excited that you are participating in the challenge!

      I am hoping to stay on track each month for the entire year. I may not select the same tasks {although, some prove to need to be done at least once per month}, but at the beginning of the month I will make a list of what I would like to accomplish and just aim to get one thing done per day.

      xoxo!

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  6. Great post as usual, I love the way you organize your refrigerator. I can't wait until I have my own place to use your amazing tips.

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  7. I love those bins! Where did you get them?

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    Replies
    1. They are the Multi-Purpose Bins from The Container Store (medium size).

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  8. I would love to see more of the food, I'm super nosy and love seeing what people have in their fridge/freezer. x

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  9. Who would've thought you can make a freezer look so organized! Those side by side freezers can be tricky because they are so narrow. When we had ours we would tend to just stuff things in there.

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  10. My freezer looks exactly like this only my bottom bin is a basket style. I was just thinking that it looks awful and here you are to help me fix the situation. Now I just need to find some bins. Oh, and a label maker.

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  11. The bins are such a great idea. Why didn't I think of that before. Look out freezer, here I come! Thanks for your great ideas.

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  12. I love that you showed the before!! I'm so happy this only took you a short time! Where are your bins from? I think they would work great in my fridge! Thanks for writing a useful and gorgeous blog!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ann!

      They are the medium bins from the Container Store: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/office/paperFileStorage/portable?productId=10022942

      You can snag all of the sources at the bottom of the post. :)

      xo!

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    2. Thank you!! I can't believe I didn't notice they were there, I even looked :)

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  13. A whole bin of chicken strips?? You really are a girl after my own heart! :) Oh and I just picked up a few of those bins on sale at the Container Store... love them!!

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    Replies
    1. Oh yes! :) We love the breaded ones for nights we have sports and need a quick meal. And I love the chicken breast strips for salads and wraps. Delish!

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  14. LOVE your blog! I found it tonight as I was looking for something entirely different! Can't wait to get into the challenge!

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  15. Interesting to see those foods. Here in Finland my freeze looks so different :) All berries I have pick from forest by myself and there is fish from my cottage lake, mushroom from our forest and some vegetables... It´s fun to see the different. And sorry my english isn´t so good...

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  16. Love your labels!! Where did you get the colorful ones?? Awesome idea for labeling your bins for the freezer. I have a freezer on the bottom of my fridge, so I don't think the bins would work for me. Its too small of a freezer. :(

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    Replies
    1. Heather, the labels are from Staples (Martha Stewart line).

      Alison :)

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    2. Hi Heather! The labels are part of the Martha Stewart Collection at Staples. Although those bins may not work, maybe measure your freezer and check out the dollar store or Target for other alternatives? Same concept, different bin. :) xoxo!

      Delete
  17. This would be perfect in my freezer, except 3 of those containers would need to be labeled "ice cream"!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! Yum! Come summer, ours will be the same way!

      Delete
  18. I would love to see how you organize in a garage "deep freeze". I've almost fallen in mine trying to dig through it!

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    Replies
    1. Oh yes! I have been wanting to figure that out myself and post about it. We actually had a fuse blow and our chest freezer was without power for too long before we knew about it, and we lost all of the contents. We haven't begun to refill it yet, but when we do, I will be sure to share any tips I come up with.

      xo!

      Delete
  19. I know these have both been said but... A) where did you get those bins!? And B) any tips for a regular top freezer?

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    Replies
    1. Nicole,
      http://www.containerstore.com/shop/office/paperFileStorage/portable?productId=10022942
      Alison :)

      Delete
    2. Hi Nicole!

      They are the medium bins from the Container Store: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/office/paperFileStorage/portable?productId=10022942

      You can snag all of the sources at the bottom of the post. :)

      I used these same bins on a shelf in our previous regular top freezer along with some shorter ones below them and it worked out really well for years.

      xo!

      Delete
  20. I did this very same project last week when my freezer looked just like your "before" picture. Although I don't have lovely labeled bins, we are fully organized, and everyone can find what they are looking for. Is it just me, or is it like a sigh of relief when you open the door and see its organized goodness in there?

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    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness, yes! Such a relief! And I was annoyingly excited as I showed everyone in the family as well. :)

      Delete
  21. Any suggestions for bottom-pull-out-drawer freezer? Need help!
    In my deep freeze, I use cotton mesh market bags (sold on amazon). I have the multi-colored set and separate items by color. If I need frozen fruit, I pull out the mulberry colored bag. It doesn't look as pretty but it makes finding what I need a lot easier :)

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  22. As with Laura M, I really struggle to keep our bottom-pull-out drawer freezer organized. The big problem is the bottom drawer is not square or rectangle but instead has a sloped back, which is so annoying and impossible to put bins in without wasting a ton of space. With all freezers, I think they key is constantly maintaining order and "fixing" the efforts of other family members. Freezer looks great, Jen!

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  23. Loving all the house cleaning posts recently. I would love to know more about your choice to make your own cleaning products. Perhaps you've posted this before, and I missed it. Is it a choice made for financial or eco-friendly reasons? Specifically I'm interested in castille soap, and if you find the germ killing properties satisfactory.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Andy,

      I definitely find the germ killing properties to be satisfactory, but I am also not one to really obsess about germs in general. Everything always feels fresh and clean when I am done, and I have been very happy with the switch.

      I made the switch both for eco purposes and cost purposes. I appreciate knowing what is in the cleaners I use and the cost savings and reduction in bottle purchases has been a huge plus as well.

      xoxo!

      Delete
  24. I am curios about your 'quick wipe down'. I am ok with my current freezer organization, but it could use a really good cleaning. Every time I try to wipe up assorted crumbs, spills, leaks etc. the cleaning product freezes to the surfaces and I end up with a bigger mess. To completely clean, I would need to defrost - and what do I do with my freezer full of food for the day or two it would take? Befuddled!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm.... maybe try vacuuming the crumbs and then spraying a microfiber rag directly vs. the inside of your freezer. Also make sure the rag is not completely wet/saturated? I haven't had a problem with anything freezing when I work quick, but it may also be the type of freezer and the temp settings. I remember my mom would always defrost her freezer to clean it, so maybe it depends on the type. Wish I could be more help!

      Delete
  25. I love the idea of putting everything in bins such as smoothie, chicken, etc. I always try to organize the freezer like that but my family gets messes it up, lol.
    http://www.roseylittleme.blogspot.com/

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  26. I may have missed it but where did you get those awesome bins?

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  27. Hi Erika!

    They are from the Container Store: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/office/paperFileStorage/portable?productId=10022942

    I use the medium size, but since all freezers are different shapes and sizes, I always recommend measuring first. :)

    xo!

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  28. This post seriously made my day! I found you through pinterest and I'm about to become a loyal follower! We just bought our first house and 3 weeks in, I'm already overwhelmed with the task of cleaning and keeping things organized! So grateful to have your blog as a resource!

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  29. I have a deep freezer (not frost free-old) have two bins in it that I keep small items in. It is hard to keep it organized because the other shelves aren't spaced wide enough for bins and can't be moved. any suggestions?

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  30. This is going to sound so silly but I never thought to pair my label maker tape with pretty labels! Now I won't have to choose between pretty labels and being able to read them, lol.

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  31. Hi Jen, any suggestions for a chest deepfreeze? Mine just becomes a bottomless bit that devours food! Found some hamburgers in the bottom the other day that had expired a few years ago...eek!

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  32. I now *need* to drag my freezer away from the wall and buy some containers! Right now, it's so far back that I can't even open the door.

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  33. I love your clear bins in the freezer. Are those for hanging files? I can only find black ones - where did you get them? I was so excited to organize my freezer today, but without those, it isn't going to happen. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Stephanie! The bins are a multi-purpose bin, and one use is definitely paper filing/wrangling. I purchased them from the Container Store here: http://bit.ly/2bl9V28

      Delete

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