By Pam Hudson
Simplify Me, Pam! “We’re a grab-and-go family, but because my fridge and freezer food storage has no method to the madness, my family opts for packaged carbs and sweet treats rather than fresh, wholesome food. We’re filling the compost pile more than our stomachs!”
Fear not, start at the top: Place a round plastic lazy Susan on the top shelf of the fridge and spin it around so that frequently-used jars don’t get lost in the back row. Optimize your shelves and stackable space by using both large and individual size (square nestle best) food containers, which are great for holding a week’s worth of washed fruits and vegetables. While not as eco-friendly as other containers, beverages in leak-proof cartons with screw caps are ideal for lying on their side on shallow shelves. Rethink how you use the produce drawer bins, and fill those with “grab-and-go” healthy food in one, meat and other proteins in the other.
If your nose hairs form icicles when digging for the near-empty bag of frozen chicken nuggets, and in the process, you uncover freezer-burned food from 1979, you are not alone. Take control of your freezer, find some multi-purpose plastic bins, establish sections for “like” food types, and stick to it: fruits and veg; animal proteins; bread-like items; snacks and desserts; ice; ice packs. Also, employ the “file folder” strategy whereby you freeze food flat in gallon freezer bags, then once solid, stand on end for easy identification and access.
Just snap off a chunk of beans from one bag, rice from another, and whip up a quick burrito. Yogurt sticks (once frozen) and popsicles, removed from their boxes, take up far less space when standing up in a plastic bin. Always keep your ice packs in the same place for a quick grab in an emergency, right alongside the frozen juice boxes and water bottles as multi-functional cool packs.