I am joining in on the 2017 Unclutter Your Nest challenge at Nourish and Nestle. I have uncluttered a lot of my kitchen cabinets already. I got rid of dishes, coffee cups, glasses, expired food, and some pans. I still sometimes have some issues finding places to put things, but for the most part, I have a place for everything in my kitchen. But I am constantly struggling with my refrigerator and less often, but every once in a while, the freezer (because we have a stand-up freezer in our garage, so that isn’t as much of an issue).
I have been cleaning a lot of things in my house since getting home a couple of days ago (in an attempt to get it all cleaned up before school kicks back into gear), but I have not touched my refrigerator other than to throw stuff in there and get out what I need. I have thought about it, but just not had the motivation to do it. So, this is what my refrigerator and my top freezer look like right now:
There are a lot of things in there. A lot that probably needs to be thrown out, but I always have organizational issues. I’ve tried to use baskets and Tupperware containers and “zones” but nothing ever seems to take. We have a lot of leftovers in the refrigerator right now because my MIL sent them home with us when we returned a couple of days ago and we haven’t been eating them much. So, that’s dinner tonight. And maybe lunch tomorrow. I want to have a plan for organizing the refrigerator that I can use this time.
So, I think the solution for me is the same solution that I need to use in every other area of my home. Simplify and purge! We just have way too much stuff in there. I tend to save things that we are never going to eat (trying to be frugal and such) and that stuff creates such a cluster that things that have expiration dates get pushed to the back and not used in time. In addition, I don’t meal plan (I swear I’m going to…every. single. week. but here I am without one in week two of the year), so I end up with a bunch of food that I don’t use. That makes me feel guilty AND frustrated. I’ve joked in the past about shopping daily (I know, I know, all you frugal-minded people out there are breaking out in a cold sweat and yelling “NO! Don’t do it!” at your computer screen right now) because then I would buy exactly what I was going to go home and make – some nights it may be a made-at-home meal, other days it would just be a frozen pizza. I don’t know if that is the solution either though. I am an impulse shopper, so more days in the store is quite dangerous for me.
So, I think, despite my idea of going every day, I really just need to meal plan. So, I am taking Ann Timm‘s advice from over at Keeper of the Home (you see how that fits in with my one word from this year as well?) and stick with my commitment to doing the Plan To Eat New Year’s Make Ahead Meal Challenge. I was planning to do it and then was visiting family last week, had a hubby traveling for work this weekend and a sick kiddo to deal with as well (diagnosed today with an ear infection and pink eye…ewwwww…but, she is on eye drops and an oral antibiotic, so we should be good in a couple of days) and dropped out of the first week of the plan. BUT, that just means we can extend it into February now, right? So, I’m going to the store tomorrow and I’m going to get the goods for this week’s meal plan and do it. I like the idea of prepping for a few meals on the same day. But, this means that I need to have room in my refrigerator and freezer. So, I went ahead and cleaned them out today. Here is the result:
So much better! And it didn’t take long. I threw out a lot (guilt or no guilt), rearranged some things and grouped things by category. I now have some space for things I will have to have for the meal planning challenge. I will also have room in my freezer.
I’m hoping that I can avoid the Fridge Frustrations from that first picture in the future. I just need to keep up with eating leftovers (or throwing them out if they aren’t going to get eaten).