Freezers and I have a love/hate relationship. It drives me crazy that I lose food in them and that they get disorganized so quickly because I'm in a rush and have to stick stuff back in them.
But, this week I began implementing one of my new grocery plans--to go to Wegmans once a month (or every 6 weeks) to buy meat/chicken/pork and stock up. I came home and divided up the meat into ziplocs... but I knew that I needed to organize our freezer(s) so that I'd be able to find it when I needed it. So, I got started and came to a conclusion.
Freezing meals doesn't work for me. I don't defrost things well. I often change (or even decide in the first place) what I'm going to cook for dinner an hour or two before we're going to eat. So, I keep a stock of basics (dry goods and frozen) on hand.
I sorted my meats by type, frozen vegetables together and breads, freezer strawberry jam and blueberries, grains, coconut, bread crumbs, ice cream... One of the issues I faced was the jumble of partially used frozen fruit and vegetable bags. They would drive me crazy when they'd fall out of the freezer. So, I found that the shoebox size plastic boxes fit perfectly. I put one with the bags of fruit in my freezer upstairs and one with the open frozen vegetables. It's amazing how boxes and baskets can make me feel less cluttered and more organized because it gives things a place to belong.
One of the biggest lessons I've learned this past year is about comparing ourselves to others. When it comes to saving money, the same thing applies--just because someone else can manage and juggle something doesn't mean you should. What works for one person won't necessarily work for another. I know there are a ton of cookbooks about cooking for a month and freezing ahead. But, I realized the other day that my brain just doesn't think ahead to defrost such meals so they end up being a waste of money for us. I love the ideas that I get from hearing how other people feed their families and what strategies they use for saving money. But, I see the wisdom in taking what applies to me and then simply appreciating that the other strategies bless the other people using them. It's not an all or nothing deal. For example, I don't use coupons much anymore. But, I did for years! I still love to clip them some times, but they don't end up being used much anymore. I don't have the time to shop and use them. I'm in a time of life that requires me to be more time efficient with my grocery trips. So, that means I am making a monthly trip to Wegmans for meat, asian rice (when needed), and generic spiral mac and cheese. An almost weekly trip to Aldi for the bulk of our groceries, and an every other week trip to our local grocery store for deli meat, buttermilk, and a few things that Aldi doesn't carry (like red leaf lettuce heads, cilantro, and fresh jalapenos). Not worrying about coupons right now takes a lot of stress off of me. And decreasing my stress right now is worth a lot to me.