Na Na pinches her pennies

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

My small fridge organized

I’m just popping into my blog to let everyone know I’m alive and well. I’ve been to the foodbank a couple of times because there is no person to person contact. Drive through only. Its the same with the senior USDA commodity boxes. No personal contact. The lines in the foodbanks have grown and the amount received is much less. I take whatever given and thankful for it.

I’m really happy with my new small refrigerator. Thanks to a very generous reader offering me a gift certificate and an additional military discount I managed to buy it back in June. You can read about it on this post: Christmas in June.

After living without one for so long its taken me awhile to get acquainted with using one again. I did fine without a fridge and could do so again if necessary but gee they sure are handy to have around.

It’s small. Not as small as I had been dreaming of but is close enough. Its just about 55″ high and 22″ wide outside. As you can see the inside is somewhat smaller because of the thickness of the walls.

Below is how it looks today. I still use the chest freezer for the majority of my cold food and the fridge for daily use. I home can and dehydrate too.

That is the freezer part. I had bought these baskets from the Dollar Tree store back during Christmas when there was lots of red items. I had wanted white but those were all sold out and I didn’t want green. I was making plans and buying items for my annual January and February organizing which of course got side tracked by the CV19 virus lockdown.

One red basket is for all that I plan to cook in the current week. I take from the chest freezer all at one time and put into the fridge freezer which means I only open the chest once a week. Unless I get lucky at the foodbank and must put something into it. The second red basket is for loaves of bread I bake, slice, and freeze. Its just the right size for a loaf of bread and a few homemade biscuits.

The two trays are actually two baking pan tops I’ve had for several years to use as flash freezing trays. The pans gone long ago. I’m using four empty serger thread cones to hold them apart. If I can find 8 shorter regular size thread spools at a thrift store I’ll use those to put three trays in there instead of two. I may find some at a thrift store eventually.

Here’s the fridge part. Yes, more red. Bought during Christmas too. Even though I didn’t have a fridge in December I happen to buy just the right size baskets to fill the shelves. The “defrost” basket is for thawing something to cook for the evening meal. When the basket is empty its a visual reminder to take something from the freezer above and put into the defrost basket. I usually do that at the same time I empty it.

I did put shelf liner on the top shelf just to hide the contents of the baskets under the glass. Visual clutter bothers me. I also plan to put a turntable on the top shelf to hold my drinks.

The “breakfast” basket holds anything to do with; of course, breakfast. That would be stuff like sausage, eggs, bacon, donuts, mush, etc.

Lunch is anything I would eat for my mid-day meal. Sandwich fixings, leftovers, microwave meals, and so forth go there.

Any kind of cheese goes into this one. Including cottage cheese and my homemade pimento cheese when I make it.

The last basket is for anything waiting to be divided and flash frozen or canned or requiring more than just putting into the fridge. These are pounds of butter waiting for me to make ghee this week.

Of course, the bottom of the fridge is the produce drawer. Right now it has potatoes from the foodbank because I didn’t want them setting on the floor possibly attracting creapy crawlies before I get them eaten.

What about snacks? Well, I believe any snack I have will fit into any of the baskets or in the produce bin. Except gelatin and desserts. Any desserts of the not frozen variety get put into containers and kept on the top shelf for now. I do plan to buy a piece of plexiglass as another shelf since none of the actual shelves are available to purchase. The hardware has curbside pickup.

So now I’m going back to my life in this pandemic. I don’t know how often I’ll be posting. The life I live is more important than the words I write. Y’all stay well and stay safe. Hugs from Kentucky.

36 comments on “My small fridge organized

  1. Kathi Waite
    October 22, 2020

    love that you are getting used to your fridge. WOW, talk about organized.
    I”m trying to clear off my computer DESK and been at it now for 3 hours.
    Yes, STILL trying to get rid of stuff.

    Like

    • Anita
      October 25, 2020

      Kathi! Hi there my friend, hope you are doing well and staying safe. I’ve been on a mission to downsize everything AGAIN. I believe if I could control the STUFF coming into my house it wouldn’t be so frustrating and less stress making the STUFF go out again.

      Like

  2. 4paws2love2
    October 20, 2020

    My internet has been really uncooperative lately and I have not been on line all that much. I have been wondering about how you are getting along. So nice to hear that you are doing ok.

    Like

    • Anita
      October 25, 2020

      My internet has been kind of iffy lately too.

      Like

  3. 4paws2love2
    October 20, 2020

    I love your basket idea for the freezer, I am going to copy that. Now when I open the freezer door it is like an avalanche. I have a big chest freezer in the basement, and that is well organized.

    Like

    • Anita
      October 25, 2020

      I’m glad my fridge and freezer are small. It keeps me from keeping too much. I share more.

      Like

  4. Texasilver
    October 17, 2020

    Your fridge looks nice & orderly. I am happy for you that you were able to buy your new fridge. I think it makes your life easier. You have worked hard all your life. You deserve the convenience it offers. Most people would not consider a fridge a luxury. You truly appreciate yours since you did without one. I finally got a fridge with an ice maker at age 46. It felt like I was living large! I’m still using that same fridge 19 years later although the husband has had to repair it 3 different times. My husband had knee replacement surgery & he did the repair 1 week post op. I won’t repeat the words he used while he was struggling to fix it w/ a painful knee last month. He did say “I’m not fixing it again!” I think a new fridge may be in my future.

    Like

    • Anita
      October 19, 2020

      Laurel! Hi, I’m glad to hear from you with all the bad weather down south. Happy to see you are safe.

      Maybe you could drop a hint to the hubby that newer fridges are very energy efficient and would save you money. Mine is estimated to cost only $39 a year to run based on 12 cents per kWh. However in KY our cost is only 7 cents a kWh so it will be just about half that amount or $20 a year to keep it running. That is about $1.67 a month in electricity costs for my area. And… mine is not the most efficient of its size. I didn’t know at the time but I could have bought a different brand that would cost just about $9 a year in electricity at 12 cents per kWh. But only about $4.50 a year at KY price 7 cents per kWh. About 35 cents a month. Ah Ha! So THAT’S the reason my energy bill didn’t go up when I started using it.

      Like

  5. Alice
    October 16, 2020

    Glad to hear an upbeat message from you. Guess we are in for another stint with the virus. Best to all. Take care of each other.

    Like

    • Anita
      October 19, 2020

      Hi Alice. Yes, I see that the cases of CV19 are rapidly rising again. The future of our planet seems so scary to me. Not just the CV19 but all the major weather disasters and food shortages too. Stay safe and don’t forget to vote.

      Like

  6. Silver
    October 15, 2020

    Very organized, not like our fridge at all! I try to keep raw meat at the bottom etc. in the interest of hygiene but apart from that it’s all a bit like Tetris to be honest, where things will fit, they will go XD
    I like your basket system and it reminds me of something I need to do. I’ve seen people have an ‘Eat me first’ basket in their fridge to ensure they don’t waste any food. I think I’ll tidy and clean the fridge over the weekend and find just such a box for that to go in there.

    It’s good to hear from you on the blog, as well as on YouTube!

    Like

    • Anita
      October 19, 2020

      Thank you. I’m glad you had a good birthday and hope you have many more. I like your idea of keeping meat on a lower shelf to thaw. It won’t work for me but I always keep the thawing item inside a couple plastic bags to catch any drippings. I hate having to clean up icky stuff on refrigerator shelves.

      An eat me first basket or box is a very good idea. Especially for anyone with a large family. I seldom keep leftovers in the fridge longer than the next day’s lunch. Anything more than that I’ll make frozen microwave quick meals for the days when I don’t feel like cooking.

      I guess I should do a YT video of my organized fridge. I might give other people an idea or two. Stay safe!

      Like

  7. Margie from Toronto
    October 14, 2020

    So glad to see that you have posted and that you are safe and well. I have been checking every few days to see if you had posted anything.
    My fridge is just a bit bigger than yours and I use very similar baskets (in white) from the dollar store to organize my food!

    I’m glad to hear that the food banks are still open and that you don’t have to stand in line. I’ve seen the crazy long lines in the US on the news – it is truly shocking. It was Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend and The Daily Bread Foodbank is the big central one here and they organized a drive through drop off for those making donations. I don’ drive so it’s easier to just make a donation online.

    The Govt. has done a great job of keeping money flowing to those out of work but there are always some who fall through the cracks – such as foreign students who have been stuck here. It has also been difficult for very low income or homeless people who rely on the feeding programs run by many churches and charities. We have had to switch our breakfast program to takeout only but we upped it from one morning to two and get between 70 and 80 guests each time. We are currently working out how to manage our dinner program that normally starts in November. The problem is – we can’t have anyone inside except for the volunteers and normally we feed 300 in shifts. We are trying to figure out somewhere close by for people to go to to eat their dinner which will have to be takeaway. There is a govt. building nearby that is used as an emergency warming centre in the winter so we are trying to see if that location might work.

    Stay safe.

    Like

    • Anita
      October 19, 2020

      I sure do like the new way the foodbanks are drive through. I hope it continues after this pandemic is over. I believe the workers also feel safer handing out the boxes too. I believe the “feeding the hungry” programs will have much more difficulty as the number of people out of work grows. Not just in the number of people they serve but also because there will be fewer donations as paychecks disappear. People out of work can’t donate. The soup kitchens here are also handing out take away food. Its up to the recipient to go to their own places to eat. Whether it be a house or a cardboard box. Tent cities are popping up in many places that weren’t before. We’ve had a new shower facility for the homeless open last week. Several families with children have gone there to bathe and put on clean clothes. There is also a laundry area to wash clothes. I thought that was a fantastic idea since often the homeless have difficulty just getting water to drink and nearly impossible to wash hands as suggested to keep away CV19. I hope one of the items included with your take away boxes is a squirt of hand sanitizer. I would suggest a towelette packet but the price may be a bit much unless you are near a restaurant supply store. One that might be willing to donate.

      Hugs from KY

      Like

      • Margie from Toronto
        October 21, 2020

        Along with the breakfast we also run a “boutique” that gives out clothing and toiletries. This year masks and hand sanitizer have been added to the toiletry kits. Right now we put out some chairs and people can eat in our courtyard – but once the weather gets colder this won’t be possible so finding a spot for people to eat is a real dilemma.

        Like

  8. catherine young
    October 14, 2020

    I love reading your posts so I was delighted to read this. Good for you, organizing that fridge the way you have. I have one very similar and mine is a mess. I really wish I could have gotten a bigger one but the allotted space and what was available came down to the one I have. I did get a good price for it too. But it replaced a slightly bigger fridge and I really miss that extra.

    I might measure and check the Dollar Tree for baskets I’ve been avoiding the Dollar Tree. Thanks to you, I’ve been working on zero spending each month. It’s helping me get close to my savings goal when I can’t work anymore and not have a renter Right now I’m doing very well with a part timer seasonal job and unemployment for the rest of the year, and a cousin who rents a room from me. That’s all just good luck for now, and my expenses here will exceed my social security and regular monthly Recommended withdrawal from my IRA if I don’t get more money in there. It seemed hopeless , but because of these jobs, and also doing as you have advised, I’m making more progress than I ever dreamed I would. I think I might just make it. I’d like to have some breathing room though.

    So I just don’t shop unless I really NEED something. I shop my house first, ask around, and have gotten by that way.

    Like

    • Anita
      October 19, 2020

      Catherine I’m so glad you are doing well. The way I figure it; a bigger fridge means a bigger bootie. Think about it. Over the years as refrigerators have gotten bigger so have the human bodies. Also with a smaller fridge a person has to be very mindful of the space before buying extra STUFF. Buying less is saving money too as you’ve figured out. Buying only what a person needs for a smaller fridge space keeps that person from over spending just to fill more space. 🙂 I hope I explained that right. Stay safe and be sure to vote

      Like

  9. Conni
    October 14, 2020

    Thank you so much for the post, Anita….I’ve been concerned about you (and praying for you). Your fridge organization is IMPRESSIVE! conni

    Like

    • Anita
      October 19, 2020

      Thank you Connie. I still have days when the Fibromyalgia keeps me in bed. When I feel better I do as much as I can to make up for lost time. The baskets were a happy accident. I bought them for sorting my food storage room before I had a fridge. I like how they work in my little fridge. Hugs and love from KY. Don’t forget to go vote.

      Like

  10. captnmike
    October 13, 2020

    Glad you are surviving things fine – take care

    Like

    • Anita
      October 19, 2020

      Thanks Mike, you take care too. Don’t forget to vote.

      Like

  11. Selena
    October 13, 2020

    Looks to me like you’re back in living-with-a-frig mode. And I do like the fact your bins are a visually pleasant reminder of what is in the frig (aka avoiding waste). And I suspect the baskets keep the shelves clean. Easy to pull out a basket, clean it, and put back in frig.

    Like

    • Anita
      October 19, 2020

      Yes, they sure do help keep the fridge clean. I was tired of having to take everything out in order to reach something in the back. That’s not a problem for me now and I love it. Stay safe Selena.

      Like

  12. Jasna
    October 13, 2020

    SO happy you are fine and have posted again. Love your organisation skills!

    Please stay safe and well. Love from Ireland,
    Jasna

    Like

    • Anita
      October 19, 2020

      Jasna! Hi Hope you are also staying safe way over there. I have days when I can’t do much but lay in bed to rest and its ok. My organization actually comes quite often by accident. When something causes more hassle than usual I either stop doing it or find a way around it. Sending you good wishes and love from KY

      Like

  13. Debby
    October 13, 2020

    I love your basket bins. I also don’t like visual clutter and I am grossed out by messy refrigerators.

    Like

    • Anita
      October 19, 2020

      I have a terrible habit of letting my things get jumbled and crowded as I go about my daily life. Dishes pile up, food storage sits in food boxes waiting to be put away, and floors need mopping. I can handle the jumbled mess of my house only for a short time before it starts driving me crazy. I start feeling like I’m living in a garage. I go on a purging and donating binge to get my house comfortable again.

      Like

  14. simplywendi
    October 13, 2020

    It is so good to “see” you again Anita! I am thrilled you are enjoying your fridge and you are doing as well as you can be…….gentle hugs!

    Like

    • Anita
      October 19, 2020

      Glad to see you too Wendi. Some days are better than others and thankfully I can get plenty of rest. Hugs from KY. Stay safe and be sure to vote!

      Liked by 1 person

      • simplywendi
        October 19, 2020

        I am so happy you are getting plenty of rest! Hugs from Indiana and I hope to be able to vote this week!

        Like

  15. Donna
    October 13, 2020

    I really like how organized your refrigerator is! Those labeled baskets are a good idea, and I wish I had room to flash freeze things separately before bagging them up so they all don’t freeze into one big lump. Thanks for sharing. Stay healthy!

    Like

    • Anita
      October 19, 2020

      Actually I got tired of having to pull things out and set them on the floor in order to reach the items in the back. I stood wishing the fridge had more drawers when it occurred to me that I had the baskets to use as drawers. I was very lucky two fit on each shelf. I didn’t have a fridge back in December when I bought the baskets. My original idea was to use the baskets to sort my food storage room. Stay well, stay safe! Be sure to vote!

      Like

  16. craftytadpole
    October 13, 2020

    Stay well your own self! I think your red fridge is very cheerful. I also like how you used your empty spools. If I lived closer, I would send you my regular, empty spools. I end up with so many and I hate throwing them out.

    Glad you are surviving CV19. Take care.

    Like

    • Anita
      October 19, 2020

      Laurie I wish you lived closer too because I sure would love having your empty spools. When I still had quilting people come to my house I often got bunches of empty spools. I made dolls with them to give to the kids in homeless shelters. Now that I’m not quilting for the public anymore I don’t get any donations. I like your Dollar Store challenge idea.

      Liked by 1 person

      • craftytadpole
        October 19, 2020

        Thanks Anita. I’d be interested in hearing more about these dolls you made from spools. It seems like such a waste to throw them out.

        Like

        • Anita
          October 19, 2020

          I couldn’t get my scanner to connect to my computer to email you copies of my patterns so I did an internet search. My doll pattern is from a very old Workbasket craft magazine. This doll is very much like the ones I made. Spool doll I made clown dolls or race cars for boys. Very much like these race cars Hope I’ve given you some good ideas.

          Like

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This entry was posted on October 13, 2020 by in 2020 PANDEMIC, DOWNSIZING MY LIFE and tagged , .

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