I love January. It just feels so fresh to me. A new year. A pause after the holidays and before the work that can be spring.
But January can be a very empty wallet time of year. And for many people the cold empty space that is January can be really depressing.
Well, not to oversimplify a potentially complex problem, (by which I mean I'm totally going to oversimplify a potentially complex problem), you should clean out your freezer. It helps with January blahs and January budget.
I have a regular freezer and a small chest freezer. I recently cleaned both of them out only to find that I had a butt load of food just sitting in my house waiting for me to notice it. I mean, sure I knew my freezers had food in them. Why else would they be so stuffed that I could barely squeeze another little item in? But I had only a vague-ish idea of what exactly kinds of food were in those freezers. So I pulled everything out, put like items with like items in little bins, bags, or sections. And then I made a list (yes, a list) of what I had in each freezer. I CANNOT tell you how free this made me feel. Suddenly I knew there was a block of Swiss cheese in the upstairs freezer. And I knew which bin it was in (the cheese bin--because I had a lot of cheese hanging out). Before I cleaned out my freezers, I'd go to the store and think, "Do I have Swiss cheese? Hmm, I'm not sure. Better grab another." Now I don't have to. It's on the list. Also, my freezer just looked so nice I wanted to keep opening the door and showing it to people, "Hey Kip, look at this. Hey kids, look at this. Hey random stranger who is the mailman, want to check out my orderly freezer." It's beautiful, people, beautiful.
After I knew what food I had, I did something radical. I planned my meals around those foods. Yeah, I'm kind of a genius; try not to be too jealous.
And I realized that I wouldn't have to buy much more than milk, eggs, and some produce this month--for the WHOLE month. I have that much food. And I had NO idea I had that much food. I had no idea what lovely things I could create with the food in my house.
So give it a try. It actually took less than 30 minutes (about 15 minutes per freezer; I also cleaned my pantry to get an idea of my dry goods), lists and all.
Happy New Year!