Freezer Organization – Before and after photos from reader Roxanne


Before-Freezer-organization

After I posted photos of our freezer organization, reader Roxanne was inspired to clean out her freezer. She sent me before and after photos and this email:

“I loved your idea so much, I set out to organize my kitchen freezer – I don’t have any other freezer space, and my husband and I love to buy in bulk when we find deals, so you can imagine how out of control our freezer space had become. I’ve emailed you before and after shots, Heather, because I’m so proud of this accomplishment . . . in fact, after I finished, I was able to add 12 pounds of Italian and breakfast sausage that I’d packaged but didn’t have room for! Thank you for your great ideas; you are my inspiration!”

After-Freezer-Organization-boxes

Roxanne used my suggestion to organize her items using clearly labeled boxes. So much easier to find items!

after-freezer-door-organization

Jars and tall tupperware fit perfectly in the door!  Great job, Roxanne! It look fantastic. See my tips for how to organize your freezer here!

Organize-your-freezer-space

If you have before/after photos of projects or things you’ve organized, I’d love to see!

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Tips for organizing (and maximizing) your freezer space


Organize-your-freezer-spacePin it

Your freezer can be your coolest friend and a big help when it comes to saving money. I’d say we visit our trusty freezer at least daily for meal components or ingredients. I find that having an organized freezer makes our lives (and meal prep) so much easier.

Here are some of my tips for organizing and maximizing your freezer space:

Freeze-meals-flat

1.) Freeze items flat. I like to put a lot of items in freezer bags. If it’s a liquid, it’s going to sink all to the bottom of the bag and create a big “blob” of frozen food. Lay your foods flat to freeze – and if you’re really particular, you can even separate the bags by pieces of cardboard as they freeze. This keeps the bags from freezing together or getting goofy grooves. Once they are frozen flat, stand them up on edge.

Freezer-meals-stored-upright

2.) Use boxes for storing flat items. Once my bags are frozen flat, I like to store them up on end, in boxes. Shoe boxes are great for quart size bags. And I bet you can find a box for your gallon size bags too. If the box is too tall, cut the top off of boxes so you can see what’s inside. You can pull the box out and flip through it like a filing cabinet. It’s so easy. If you want to be really fancy you can buy plastic bins and label them more permanently.

3.) Store similar items together. Make it easy on yourself. Develop a little system for where you store items, for example all the fruits and vegetables in one drawer or keep all the meat on one shelf. This hopefully means you won’t be digging to the darkest depths of your freezer looking for a particular item.

4.) Label everything. Keep a permanent marker right by the freezer. Do not put anything into the freezer that you haven’t labeled with what it is and a date for when it was prepared.

5.) Rotate items as you put them in. Move older freezer meals to the front, newer ones to the back. When you go to grab something – make a point to grab the oldest item.

6.) Throw out stuff you won’t use. If it’s been at least six months and you haven’t even considered the leftover meatloaf you have in your freezer, wouldn’t that space be better served with something you are more likely to eat?

Freezing-Peppers-Flat-For-Freezer

My favorite things to have in my freezer:

  • Homemade chicken broth – I love making up a batch of slow cooker chicken broth and freezing it in bags or Snap-ware for future recipes.
  • Shredded cheese – I like to buy cheese in bulk and freeze in quart size bags. This works especially well for shredded varieties, as block cheese tends to crumble after being frozen.
  • Fruits and vegetables – Save big on produce by purchasing things like peppers when they are at a stock-up price and freeze
  • Pre-made meals, a.k.a. freezer meals – These are a lifesaver on busy days or when we get the urge to eat out.
  • Components to meals – This is covered in some of these other bullets – but think about the meals you make the most and see what you can make ahead of time. Pre-made enchilada mix, plain shredded chicken, slow cooker refried beans, cheese, broth, pre-washed/chopped fruit (like pineapple) – get them diced, prepped and made ahead of time to time.

I’d love to hear from you – how do you maximize your freezer space and what are some of your favorite things to freeze?! Please leave a comment and let me know.

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Clean a dry erase board with a Mr. Clean Eraser


How-to-clean-a-dry-erase-board-easel

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My son got this Melissa and Doug easel for Christmas when he was just two years old. It has taken a beating by both him and his sister over the years. At one point they colored on it with regular markers, not dry erase, and no matter how much I scrubbed it, I couldn’t get the marker off. It was stressing me out, so I put it in the garage. Then recently my good friend suggested I clean it with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. . . she’s the kind of friend that always has good advice. . . .

how-to-clean-dry-erase-board

Look what a little elbow grease and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser did for our poor easel! Except for a few marks on the wood it looks as good as it did 3.5 years ago when it was found under the Christmas tree! I flipped the wood bar on the bottom and gave the tray a bath.

Mr-Clean-Magic-Eraser

I used half of a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, a little water and some elbow grease! That’s it. I used a tiny, tiny bit of Goo Gone to get rid of sticker residue.

easel-dry-erase-clean-mr-clean

Amazon has a great deal on Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning Pads, 8-Count Box – just $6.15 shipped with subscribe and save. It is an 8-count box, so that’s only $0.77 cents each.

Hope this advice helps you, too! What sorts of things have you cleaned with a Mr. Clean Magic Erase?

Disclaimer – Make sure and read the directions on your Mr. Clean Magic Eraser box. There are some surfaces that can become discolored or worn after being cleaned with a Magic Eraser. I was willing to risk it, since my easel was already in such bad shape. Don’t blame me if Mr. Eraser rubs the paint off of something or you chip a nail scrubbing. ;)

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Organizing Kids Art Supplies – Store in baskets inside an ottoman


Storing-Kids-Art-Supplies

Call me crazy, but my kids aren’t allowed to have their art supplies in their bedrooms. At ages 5- and 2-years-old I think I’d find some artwork in places that would require elbow grease on my part – and even a possible new paint job. So we avoid that all together and store all our kids art supplies in an old ottoman in the family area.

The ottoman is an older one, so I don’t care if it gets marks on it and we put three small wicker baskets inside to keep coloring books, stickers, crayons and all other crafty supplies.

Sterilite-Drawer-with-casters

I had previously stored these supplies in a plastic drawer unit like this one. But it was hard to keep it organized, hard for my daughter to manage the drawers and I disliked seeing the clutter through the clear drawers. The ottoman has been a great alternative! Easy to organize and out of site, out of mind.

*Keep in mind that ottomans that you use caution when using ottomans or toy boxes with hinges where fingers can get caught! My kids aren’t allowed to close the ottoman by themselves. They can open it and take supplies out – but at clean up time, they wait for me to close it.

I just recently did a major Clutter to Clean project, you can see how I organized these areas in my house:

How do you organize your kids coloring books, crayons and other art supplies.

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Day 4 of 7 Clutter to Clean – Organizing the kids rooms – DONE!


Clutter-To-Clean-One-Week

Well it’s been over a week since my last update on my Clutter to Clean in one week series. Although I haven’t blogged much about my progress – a LOT has happened since then.

Day 4 of my Clutter to Clean challenge was the kids rooms. I did follow through and get ALL the extra toys out as I had planned – so the clutter was gone, but it still needed a lot of help.

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Day 3 of 7 Clutter to Clean – Kitchen, bathroom and laundry area – DONE!


Clutter-To-Clean-One-Week

If you’re just tuning in – you’ll want to first read my pledge to go from clutter to clean in one week

I’ve decided the only way to really do this Clutter to Clean in 7 days is to blog about it. :) The accountability piece is what’s keeping me moving – because I seriously wanted to take a day off on Wednesday! But I pushed through because otherwise it would have only prolonged the misery – and I knew I had a HOT date with the hubby this weekend to take loads of crap to the dump and thrift shop.

Lucky for me the kitchen and laundry room were not nearly in disarray as the bedroom closet or hall closet. I had done some reorganizing this summer in preparation for a garage sale – so we had very little to do in the kitchen or laundry room.

But nonetheless, here is what I did.  . .

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Day 2 of 7 Clutter to Clean – Bedroom closet (eek!!!) and dressers – DONE!


Clutter-To-Clean-One-Week

If you’re just tuning in – you’ll want to first read my pledge to go from clutter to clean in one week. Then read the results from my first day of cleaning (Monday) when I tackled the hall closets, the pantry and the bathrooms.

Yesterday (Tuesday) I tackled the bedroom closet. It is by far one of the messiest places in the house. It all started two years ago when my daughter was born and we moved her sweet baby cheeks into the room that WAS my craft/office/sewing room. The craft supplies and sewing materials ended up in my closet. I had amazing intentions of organizing them – I did. But between babies and blogging I can almost always find something more pressing than organizing my closet. Sorry, it’s true.

But enough excuses. I’m going to show you a BEFORE photo. And I’m really hoping you’ll still read my blog after you see it. It’s bad. It’s embarrassing – but the good news is – IT’S BEFORE! So it no longer looks like this and I’m hoping it never will again.

If you dare. . .

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Day 1 of 7 Clutter to Clean – Hall closets, pantry, bathrooms – DONE!


Clutter-To-Clean-One-Week

I announced yesterday that I’m attempting to go from Clutter to Clean in one week. It’s all based on a deadline of this weekend when the grandparents are watching the kids and we are borrowing a truck to haul stuff away. Nothing like a deadline to get you moving. I

So yesterday I had four (4) areas to clean:

  • Pantry
  • Linen/toiletry closet (upstairs)
  • Hall closet (downstairs)
  • Upstairs bathrooms

I quickly realized that I am a lot messier than I thought I was. Seriously. It took longer than I thought. Of course most things do, right?

ALL photos are not before and AFTER pictures exactly – they are before and “in process” photos – because each day as I move through the house, I’m moving stuff around. I’ll take final, final photos when we get everything settled – probably after the big garage clean-out this weekend. :)

Here is the process I went through for ALL the stuff I came across:

  1. Do I need this?
    No? Trash or donate or sell
    Yes? Step 2.
  2. Do I need it on a regular basis?
    No? Store in the garage?
    Yes? Step 3
  3. Is it in the right place to be used?
    No? Put it in the room it needs to go. Make it accessible based on how often it’s used. More you use, the more accessible it should be.
    Yes? Step 4.
  4. Is there a better way to store it?
    No? You’re done!
    Yes? Fix it.

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From clutter to clean in one week. Lets do this.


Clutter-To-Clean-One-Week

About a month ago we talked to my mother-in-law about watching our kids for the weekend so we could clean the garage – a two-person, two-day job. She agreed and we picked February 16-17 as THE weekend. I had great plans of getting things organized in the house, so that when THE weekend came around, everything that was going to go to the dump or thrift shop – was out in the garage. I bet you can guess how those  plans have worked out for me – fast forward to today and I haven’t done a thing.

So in the next five days here is my plan to get my house uncluttered so I can purge, sell or giveaway by the end of the week:

MONDAY

  • Pantry
  • Toiletry/linen closet (upstairs)
  • Hall closet (downstairs)
  • Upstairs bathrooms

TUESDAY

  • Bedroom closet (huge task)
  • Dressers

WEDNESDAY

  • Kitchen
  • Downstairs bathroom
  • Laundry area (in garage)

THURSDAY

  • Kid Room #1
  • Kid Room #2
  • Living Room (mostly books/DVDs)

FRIDAY

  • Outside Shed
  • Office area/Desk

SATURDAY

  • Install shelves in garage – Rack Shelf Shelving Unit - $34.99 Ace Hardware, free ship to store
  • Organize items in bins
  • Invite friends/family over in the morning to pillage through our donation pile before dropping off at thrift shop
  • Load to dump/thrift shop

SUNDAY

I am probably crazy for trying to do this in a week, but I’m kinda an all-or -nothing sorta girl. And I’ve been doing a lot of nothing without a deadline or a list of goals. So I developed this list to get my tush in gear and get ready for a more clutter-free existence after this weekend.

I should add – I’m not suggesting you should do anything this crazy or dramatic. Admittedly, I do a pretty good job of getting rid of extra clutter, so I don’t have piles of stuff like you’d see in Hoarders or anything. I don’t have a big house. I did get rid of an entire cars worth of clutter in January. But I do have many areas where I hope to simplify and clean – so that’s the main goal. Nothing too extreme.

I plan to bring you along for the ride. As long as your nice. You’ll see my closets and my crap and you’ll probably think I’m a slob. But as long as your nice about it – we’ll get along and you can encourage me to get my house a bit more organized – and hopefully I can motivate you to do the same thing!

Gorilla-Shelves-Ace-HardwareI ordered these shelves for the garage – Rack Shelf Shelving Unit - $34.99 Ace Hardware, free ship to store. Seems like a steal, the same ones are going for $70+ over on Amazon – Gorilla Rack GR6-3414-5-PCB 34 by 14 by 72-Inch Shelving Unit with 5-shelf, Black. Part of challenge with the garage is we’ve never installed any good shelves, we have been using our IKEA bookshelves from college all these years – and frankly they don’t hold anything and they are falling apart. So we’re getting serious with some real shelving.

I’ll try to post status updates daily. And if you want to follow along I’d love to hear updates from you!

What about you? Have you been doing any cleaning or organizing lately? Have any tips for me to make it through this week?

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