A few months ago, I talked about the way we organise the contents of our freezer.
Next, it was the turn of the larder – a large under-the-stairs cupboard which stays relatively cool year round thanks to an air brick through the outer wall.
Before we re-organised, all the shelves looked a bit like this one. Although items were roughly grouped together, they were often moved when trying to find things or to fit in new things. Lots of items were stacked on top of each other, as the shelves are deep and tall.
A few inexpensive shelf inserts were all it took to make the space more usable and then it was simply a case of grouping items logically – preserves are at the top; sugar and sweet baking items are next along with a few other sweet items such as tinned fruit, speculoos spread and cereals; below that is a shelf full of savoury foods including staples such as flour, pasta and rice as well as olives and a couple of pasta sauces. The bottom two shelves are set aside for drinks and the door shelf units hold shorter term snacks such as biscuits.
The cupboard was reorganised a few months ago and so far, it’s proved to be fairly easy to keep it orderly.
The next improvement will be a list on the inside of the door to list the contents of each shelf. However as there are many more items than in the freezer, I think our freezer whiteboard solution won’t work. Any ideas?
When I was a kid, mum had an enormous chest freezer. I have strong memories of being asked to go and fetch something and having to move half the contents around in order to find something right at the bottom, not to mention my fear of falling in and freezing to death!
So we don’t have a chest freezer.
Instead, we have an under-counter fridge (with no space wasted with tiny box freezer compartment) and a separate upright freezer with drawers. It’s fairly old now, but – touch wood – it’s still working fine.
The main challenge over the years has been to remember what we have in it, and which drawer everything is in.
Previously, we’d periodically take everything out into cool boxes and re-sort the contents back into themed drawers, one for meat, one for frozen ingredients such as vegetables and stock, another for frozen meals… but the problem was that, over time, new items were inevitably shoved in wherever we could find space, items were moved around and the system fell apart.
This is what I came up with a few years ago:
Fix a large sheet of sticky-back white board to the front of the freezer. This is not expensive, and available from stationery suppliers.
Draw lines to divide the white board into drawers, as per your freezer unit.
Use a white board pen to write down everything that goes into the freezer, in the space for the relevant drawer.
Whenever you take something out to use, rub it off the board.
If you move something to make space for something else, update the board with its new drawer location.
If an item has a short freezer life, add the date you put it into the freezer.
Regularly scan the list so you can make plans to use up older items, and avoid buying items you already have.
It might not be the most attractive appliance, but our kitchen wouldn’t be featured in any home design magazine anyway! And it works very well for us.
What do you think?
Do you have any tips to share for better kitchen organisation?
Note: I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been sitting in the scheduled posts queue since then. Some of you will have seen my anguished tweets a couple of days ago when we returned home from a couple of days in Kent to discover that our freezer was switched off. (One of us must have knocked the power switch, accidentally). Having the information on the front allowed us to more quickly check the status of the contents without keeping the freezer open very long. We discovered that the top shelf and the lower two drawers, both less densely packed, had suffered most but that the contents of the meat drawer, chock full and with other drawers above and below, were still frozen solid.