“Kitchen, you are my nourishment center, I appreciate you!”
— Louise Hay in Loving Yourself to Great Health
I have been “meaning to” clean out the freezer ever since we moved into our house and got our new refrigerator, about a year and a half ago. I have never really felt like I had an organized freezer in all the places I have lived over the years.
I’ve cleaned out my freezers, but I have never thought about the freezer as being a place that can be organized into different areas like a drawer with dividers or a filing cabinet.
I cannot remember a time when I felt truly satisfied with the organization of my freezer. The freezer has always been more of an ice cold junk drawer than a place that brings me joy.
After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, I have been thinking a lot about the concept of joy as it relates to the items in my life. I decided that the contents of the freezer are as much items as socks and books.
They are different because they are more temporary. Or are they? Who doesn’t have a piece of mystery meat in the freezer that has been waiting to be eaten for longer than anyone can remember?
My Motivation to Organize the Freezer
I have gotten into more of a routine of freezing foods that aren’t quite solid (like broth and chili). Our freezer has a drawer, and that became my logical flat place to set things that needed to stay flat until frozen.
I had to shift things in the drawer around every time I wanted to freeze something that wasn’t solid, and the rest of the freezer was still driving me crazy. So one morning, I decided to go for it.
The whole thing couldn’t have taken much more than an hour, and was actually kind of fun. The hours of my life that I have spent thinking about cleaning out the freezer are for sure much more extensive than the actual amount of time it took to complete this project.
I started by taking everything out of the freezer. I knew it wasn’t the cleanest place in the house. I had seen the crummies at the bottom of the freezer when I had to shift things around to make room for something new.
I wanted the drawer area to be completely empty on a regular basis, so I would have a flat place ready for my foods-to-be-frozen to have time to freeze.
The Unwanted Popsicles
I bought some of those sugary Fla-Vor-Ice popsicles for a cookout we had the summer after we moved in for kids that might be there. We never even ended up breaking out the popsicles at that party, and have since not had a party to distribute the popsicles at.
So everyday for over a year, I had been looking at these popsicles. I wasn’t going to eat them. Yes, I loved them as a kid. But now I know that I don’t want to put something that is basically sugar and food coloring into my body if I can help it, unless it is something really, really good. These popsicles were not doing it for me.
Furthermore, did I really want to be giving these things to kids? What kid needs that anyway? So my plan was to juice a watermelon and make my own healthy popsicles and then if we had a kid popsicle emergency, we would have something nutritious and also yummy on hand. But I never got around to making them.
I finally let myself throw the stupid popsicles away, and decided that I would juice the watermelon in the future if needed. Talk about drama! Those popsicles probably cost less than five dollars, and I had this major internal dilemma about wasting them, while they were stealing my peace and joy about the freezer. And that’s just one example.
The main area of our freezer has one divider. After I cleaned out the freezer, I thought about the contents and how they could be roughly categorized into two main categories.
It didn’t take long to decide that one side would be for items I bought at the store and the other side would be for homemade or take-out items.
This somehow makes sense to me, and I have had no problem sticking with this system for the past month or so. So if something is in packaging from the store, it goes on the left. If something is in a baggie or a takeout container, it goes on the right. So simple!
I also quickly realized that even though the freezer is deep, it is so much easier to organize items vertically rather than stacking them, so you don’t have to move things around to see what’s in there. As you can see in the picture, everything in the freezer is visible when the freezer is open. I stood things up on their sides or bottoms and don’t have problems fitting new things in the freezer anymore.
I also used to hate digging through the freezing freezer with my bare hands to figure out what was in there. Now, since I can quickly make a mental note of the contents anytime I open the freezer, I almost have a photographic memory of what’s in there and I know what we have.
I am so happy to now be able to say that my freezer brings me joy! I continue to think about what foods bring me joy, because one of my major life goals recently is to only eat foods that truly bring me joy, and to only have foods in my home that truly bring me joy.