An Unexpected Holiday Gift

This holiday season, we received a very generous gift of 1/4 of a cow!

We were very excited at the prospect, but alas, we'd recycled our big, old upright freezer when the kids went to college.  So a shopping we did go.  But first we did a little research.

Question:  Exactly how big of a freezer does one need for 1/4 of a cow?

Answer:  7 cubic feet.


And a new freezer appeared.


I got excited!  I'd never organized a freezer before!  So we move it into place in our basement and then...da da da daaaaa.

The Bad News:  The placement of the freezer resulted in an extensive 3 day nearly-all-nighter project, involving removing a defunct, leaky water softener that came with our house, rerouting pipes to the water heater, installing valves and changing out pipes the width of our basement. Thankfully, our handy neighbor came over to help my very handy husband.  We love our neighbors.

The Good News:  We now can run the washing machine, the dishwasher, flush a toilet, and run water in every sink all at the same time while simultaneously someone takes a hot shower.  We actually tried this!  This may seem normal to all of you, but to us, this is EPIC, never before dared, as we had literally NO water pressure due to bad plumbing and woe to the person taking a shower if someone else used water.  Not good.

But it's all good now and this is an organizing blog after all...so let's get back to the task at hand.


Except there were more issues with the space...

All these Christmas decorations had to be moved to create enough space for the freezer. This was a fortunate event and good timing. What with Christmas coming,  I had been meaning to sort and organize these boxes anyway.



Isn't it interesting how one fairly small organization project can quickly spiral into not only a home remodeling project, but also into more organizing?  This is real life folks.  

Okay, now back to the freezer and more importantly, the meat!


The first step is to write a date on all the meat.  Since the paper packages were already marked 12/15, I decided to be consistent and mark all the plastic packages with the same date.



















As an alternative, packages can be marked with the date they will expire, so you'll know when to use them by.  Here's a chart showing how long frozen food will last to mark your food accordingly.

The next step was to write an inventory.  I used this one  that I found on the internet.  I slipped it into a clear plastic sleeve after I filled it out and I am storing it right in the freezer!

I love this idea of writing the inventory directly on the freezer with a dry-erase marker, but I'm not brave enough to do it on our brand new freezer.  Are you?


Next I loaded the large packages in the bottom of the freezer


And loaded the steaks on the shelf.


Next the ground beef I set in the basket that came with the freezer.  I tried a couple different ways of stacking and the picture on the right is the one I decided worked best.  Easy to grab and I fit in one package than the picture on the left.


However, it turns out there are 79 packages of ground beef. 

That's right, 79 pounds.  

Can you say "taco night" every night?











I had to come up with another storage solution.  


Reusuable shopping bags!  Genius.


I filled them up and set them on top of the large packages.  

Notice the handles are laying across the top so they can easily (well, maybe easily isn't the right word, they are heavy!) be lifted up out of the way to access the meat underneath.


Once we eat down that 79 lbs of ground beef, I'll be investing in  4 of  these beauties as they stack perfectly according to the reviews and have folding white handles.  Perfect in stacks of 2 next to the shelf/freezer basket. 

Label the bins according to food type and your freezer is forever organized!

Finally,  the freezer inventory is laid right on top inside the freezer. I'll be attaching a pen nearby on the outside of the freezer of course.


If you want a pen you can freeze, try this one.  There is no end to what clever people will research and publish on the internet.  Thank you internet people, thank you.

WAIT!  I know you all want to know what happened to the pile of Christmas stuff?  

Remember this post and this closet?


After I cleaned it out that messy closet, it has sat nearly empty since July and now I know why.  It was just waiting for all the Christmas clutter beloved decorations to be stored there.  I plan to get a few more plastic totes to replace the boxes, but it's looking good so far.

I sorted out just a few things that were no longer needed, including one of those train sets that goes around the tree.  Sold it in a couple of hours on Facebook.  BONUS.


And that's a wrap - pardon the Christmas pun.

What is the most unusual item stored in your freezer?

Who's inspired to create a freezer inventory?