You know that room in your house that tends to get cluttered? It's really no fun to be in. Nothing fun really happens there. It's a little uninspiring, right?
Now imagine that cluttered space is in your kitchen! Makes it hard to cook, doesn't it? Makes you just want to run for the border and have fast food tacos for dinner. Well, getting your fridge freezer in order, ditching the frozen clutter is key to bringing inspiration and home-cooked meals back to the table.
A refrigerator is a mainstay in almost every kitchen. If yours is a side-by-side, you may be wondering how to make it a place of order and efficiency.
First released in the late 1940s, the side-by-side gained popularity thanks to its narrow doors and in-door ice and water dispenser. However, folks have been known to grump about the freezer space lacking in, well, space.
The freezer of the side-by-side is narrow, but that doesn't mean you can't make the most of it. Ours is 13 years old — complete with all the bells and whistles available in 2002 — yet it still serves as a very efficient home for all kinds of frozen goods.
Looking to add some order to your side-by-side? Consider these tips.
7 Ways to Organize Your Side-by-Side Freezer
1. Don't put anything important in the door.
The door is the warmest part of your freezer. Don't store anything important in the door, ie. food. They may soften and refreeze which effects their texture in a negative way.
Instead, the door shelves are the perfect spot for ice packs or items that won't go bad from temperature fluctuations. I also store my dry masa in the bottom shelf of the door where it's easy to find. The colder temps extend its shelf life and keep away bugs.
2. Use containers for smaller items.
Plastic boxes and baskets are an organizer's dream, right? If you've got lots of small items in your freezer, like spice mixes or bread crumbs, store them in a plastic box so they don't get lost in the shuffle. Likewise, if you don't have an abundance of drawers in your freezer, plastic tubs help corral bags of frozen goods in one spot.
They'll be easy to find and they won't slide off a shelf or fly out of the freezer.
3. Store like with like.
Whether you have a second freezer somewhere else in the house or if this is your only one, you can keep things in good order if you store like with like. This can be tricky if you have only this freezer and are playing a game of Tetris every time you add something, but do your best to store all the meats together, all the veg, all the ice cream.
If each type of food has its own shelf, your time spent searching and digging for something will be minimal.
4. Make a smoothie drawer.
If smoothies are a regular feature on your week's menu, corral all your smoothie ingredients in one drawer or shelf. A smoothie station makes them easy to find in the wee hours of the morning and also helps you know when it's time to replenish your stock.
5. Create a staging area for this week's dinners.
If you've got a second freezer, that's a great place for long-term storage and should enable you to keep only the regularly used items in your side-by-side. As you do so, designate one shelf as the staging area for this week's dinners.
In the process, you've saved yourself a walk to the basement, garage, or laundry room, as well as created a safety against the dreaded I-Forgot-to-Thaw syndrome. This staging area will help all your meal plans come to fruition.
6. Don't forget to take stock.
Remember keeping a good inventory of your freezer contents will help you shop and cook more wisely. Occasionally compare your list to what's actually in your freezer.
7. Use it or lose it.
If you've been neglecting the contents of your freezer lately, now might be a good time to eat down the freezer. Your fridge freezer gets opened frequently, making the freezer temperature a little unstable. Use items in your side-by-side freezer within a month or two for best quality and texture.
Organizing and using up the odds and ends will help clear space and freezer clutter, leaving you with a great space to cook from. If it's clean and uncluttered, you'll enjoy the cooking process so more.
And that always makes food taste better.