Monday, January 17, 2011

Tales of a Compulsive Organizer

As I noted in my introductory blog, I make NO guarantees of regular updates!  Nevertheless, I'm trying to be somewhat regular, so here ya go.  Those of you who know me in the real world know that I love to organize!  I'm not compulsive about it in the APA DSM-IV way, but once I get started, I tend to get carried away.  Here's my latest bout of organization.

As an early birthday gift, my hubby (who I'll refer to as The Architect, since the term "DH" just doesn't float my boat) offered to get me a deep freezer.  Now, this may not seem like the most romantic birthday gift, but I'm a fairly practical person, so a very practical birthday gift makes sense.  Also, as he noted, I've only been talking about a chest freezer since the day we moved in, about a year and a half ago.  Frankly, a shot of our freezer in the kitchen filled to the brim makes the argument:

Moral of the story - I was thrilled with the gift!  To prepare for the freezer, I knew I'd have to do a little reorganization in the basement.  A good chunk of our basement is taken up by the tuck-under garage, another chunk is finished and functions as our "gym" (I plead the fifth on how often it gets used), and another portion is a non-bathroom bathroom - named as such because it has a sink and shower, but no people toilets.  So it contains cat commodes.  This left the laundry room for the chest freezer.

We have storage shelf in the laundry room that was holding a lot of my canning stuff, but it needed some serious reorganization and relocation to make room for the freezer.  I spent an afternoon crawling around on the basement floor, disassembling and reassembling the shelving unit, cleaning, and LABELING!  I should probably be a member of Labelers Annonymous.  I adore my label-maker.  Here's the area ready for the freezer to arrive (if you look closely, you can see the label-maker on the shelf):
 Canned goods, although missing apple butters and pickles because they were turned into gifts:

 Look at those labels - so satisfying!

 We picked purchased the freezer on New Year's Day, and Home Depot delivered it a few days later.  The delivery guys were very impressed that I had measured the space correctly.  They said this was their first delivery all day that had been measured correctly.  I had spent a lot of time thinking about how I would keep track of the contents of the freezer.  One of the biggest problems with chest freezers is that often people forget what is in it, and don't use the food before freezer burn claims it.  Kind of defeats the purpose of the freezer.  My grandparents, who always had a huge garden, and two HUGE freezers, always kept a  map showing the contents and locations of everything in their freezer. They used pencil so they could update it.  Assuming the contents would of mine would be changing regularly, I wanted a similar system.  I considered buying a dry erase maker board for the purpose, but when the freezer arrived, I was met with a wonderful surprise.  The surface of the freezer looked exactly like a dry-erase board!  I tested a spot on the back of the freezer, and sure enough, it worked!

Here's the freezer in its cubby-hole, with the inventory written on top with a dry-erase marker.  I was amazed at how much space I freed up in our upstairs freezer just by taking a few armloads of freezer food to the chest freezer. If you have space and buy food in any amount of bulk, or freeze fresh & homegrown food, I highly recommend a freezer.  We buy most of our meat from the Iowa Food Co-op and from a Wallace Farms, local farm.  This means we only get meat a couple times a month, so the freezer will be so helpful in keeping enough meat in the house to provide us choices!  I'm also hoping to freeze veggies that I grow in my garden this year.  More on the garden later!

I'll leave you with one more photo of an area in our house that is far less organized, but frankly holds an impressive amount of stuff... our garage.  Luckily, we don't store cars in there (although I'm pretty sure we could fit my car in there even with all this stuff)!  Note the gargantuan snow blower in the middle - The Architect was in the middle of removing an issue of the Wall Street Journal that somehow found its way into the inner workings of the snow blower.  After much hard work, he did extract it in time for the snowstorm that hit today.  Phew!


  1. I see reflections of myself in this post. I love the idea of writing what is in the freezer on the top. But as we frequently set things on top of the freezer, I don't know if that will work. I am proud of myself this evening, I used a jar of turkey stock, some brussel sprouts, some whole cherry tomatoes, and pumpkin puree out of my freezer this evening. I did get my preserve and canning shelf organized this fall, so at least that's done. How full is your new freezer now?

  2. The freezer isn't very full yet - still have things we use regularly in the upstairs freezer. I'll get more things from the co-op Thursday, including cornish game hens, which I've never cooked, so that will start to fill it. What do you freeze your stock in - plastic or glass?

  3. I've been using glass quart jars...I cooked a turkey for New Year's day, and boiled the leftover bones in my giant new stock pot for several hours. I got tons of turkey for soup and casserole, and 2 1/2 quarts of stock to freeze. Used a quart tonight in my pumpkin soup. I use one of the reusable plastic lids though. I did notice I don't like freezing pumpkin puree in the plastic bags though. I think I am going to buy freezer jam containers and freeze 2 cup portions of the puree that way instead. The bag was hard to defrost and flopped around, very inconvenient.

    Just a warning, now that you have the freezer, it will be very easy to fill it! lol. I don't think I've ever had cornish game hen. You'll have to let me know how it turns out.

  4. awful piece of information, I had come to know about your blog from my friend vimal, mumbai,i have read atleast 3 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your blog gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanks a million once again, Regards, cornish hen recipe


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