Our fridge (refrigerator) is a 17 year old, side-by-side fridge/freezer. It's narrow. The light does not work. It actually won't turn itself off when the door is shut, thus heating up the fridge, which of course is quite counterproductive. So rather than replace the whole mechanism on this 17 year of appliance - we have a dark and often scary refrigerator.
I say 'scary' because, well, not only is it dark, but the darkness and narrowness of it lends to things being pushed way back into the recesses of the abyss and hiding indefinitely. If I wait to long to dive into the depths of the dark narrow fridge, I find a plethora of 'science experiments' such as: a tiny bag of olives now smashed to oblivion, the last bit of pineapples that are fermented into something at about a 19% alcohol level, home-made pizza that has fallen out of it's baggie (who knows when) and turned to a concrete wedge that could be a wall decor rather than food. So with the scary thoughts of what I'll find in mind, I do one thing...every week....a Fridge Purge and Plan.
Now it doesn't keep the fridge from hiding things to do this, it just keeps them from growing into nondescript items and thus it saves me money! Yay for that!
My Fridge Purge and Plan is on the calendar each week the day before I make my weekly menu and list from the sales flyers.
It consists of having these items handy:
· Tupperware, Freezer Bags and the Perpetual Freezer Soup Container
· Room in the Freezer (we have two other than the side-by-side, one for meat the other for...other)
· A crock-pot ready and plugged in to GO ...
I pull out all of the shelf items and find what I have that needs using first. These items go onto the earliest menus for the next few days and we use them up. I put them now at the FRONT of the fridge so I know where they are for using early on in the week.
Anything that can be made into a soup or stew (two nights of left-over green beans, corn, potatoes, squash, peas, so on) goes right into the crock pot and dinner is now also made. If I don't want to do the crock pot that night all this goes into my perpetual Freezer Soup container (see this video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBWx-SPRobQ&feature=PlayList&p=B895EFDBC11107FB )
Last, if I know we won't use it soon, it goes to the freezer. I usually re-package/label it so I know what it is and when I need to use it from there.
So once a week, doing the Fridge Purge and Plan or the Freezer, Fridge and Crock-pot Shuffle helps me in a few different ways. First it helps me to plan a frugal budget for the week’s meals, but then it also helps me keep my fridge less scary and stretch what I already have on into more meals. We can’t use them if they had 'rotted' back in the obscurity of the deep dark chasm that is my frightening fridge.
Clean out your fridge and save money. How cool is that?
Next post - I think I'll tell you what cleaning the OUTSIDE of it does for our budget!! Tune in again soon. Same bat-channel, same bat-station, same bat-time....
Donna Miller is an author, teacher and entrepreneur. Her favorite roles are that of wife and mother to three home-school graduates. The Millers own and operate Millers Grain House which offers Organic and Chemical-free Whole Grains, Bosch Mixers, the NutriMill, instructional tutorials, recipes and more.