8.07.2008

On Craigslist & Chest freezers

Craigslist has been good to us. The Indianapolis listings aren't as active as some major cities, but they're not as bad as others. Indianapolis isn't a huge city, so many of the areas people are posting from are accessible- and, depending on the item, we're willing to make the drive.

Some of our experience with Craigslist so far:
  • Bought yarn when I was starting my knitting hobby, to build up a "stash"
  • Sold 2 laptops
  • Sold a bookshelf
  • Got, for free, a member of our family
  • ** EDIT (I had forgotten about this one) ** My husband found a job on the job postings earlier this year
  • Bought a 9 cubic foot chest freezer used for $50 (retails new for $250-$350)
  • Bought an invisible fence new for $75 (retails for $150+, or more than $1000 with installation)
The last two have happened in the last week, and I'm super-excited about. We'll have to install the fence ourself, and I'm not 100% sure it will work for Casey, but it's worth a try. We'd really like to give him the run of our whole (large) yard and I hate chaining him up.

The chest freezer is something I've been wanting for a long time. My freezer is always full- I freeze leftovers, preserve produce, cook more than we need & freeze for future meals, and frozen things are easier to portion out & keep for our small family. We just don't eat through stuff in the fridge before it goes bad, much of the time.

So now we have a chest freezer! A huge chest freezer! What to do with it?
  • Cookie sheets will now fit in my freezer. Many make-ahead recipes (ok, I'll admit, cookies, among others) say to freeze the items on a cookie sheet before putting them in a freezer bag for storage so they don't stick together. I'd NEVER be able to get a cookie sheet in my side-by-side freezer, and was never able to with my typical freezer-on-the-top freezer either, because it was always full.
  • Once-a-week/month cooking, making larger batches & storing them for later lazy nights when I don't feel like cooking, will now be possible. I had a busy evening this week and was particularly grateful I had cooked ground beef and beans ahead- I plopped those and 3 cans of diced tomatoes and some spices in a pot - voila! chili! (...that I've been eating on all week for lunch.) These extra meals can also be given to people in crisis or to new parents as unique baby gifts, to ease the trasition to life with a newborn.
  • Preserving produce was fast filling my freezer. Now I have lots of room for frozen beans & peas!
  • Sale prices can now be taken advantage of! When hamburger buns are on sale at Meijer Buy 1, Get 2 Free- I don't have to think "When will we eat through 3 bags of hamburger buns?" Into the freezer they go!
  • Room for "freezer pack" meat. Many of my friends have bought a half side of beef for their chest freezers- that's one-quarter of a cow- which comes out to about 100 lbs. The primary advantage we see in doing this is knowing where our meat came from- we would buy the meat from the farmer, so we would be able to choose grass-fed organic beef from a farmer who treats his animals well. We'll end up with healthier meat from happier animals- and a variety of cuts, at that! The same goes for storing whole chickens- we'll be able to buy more than one at a time. This point was the biggest motivation for getting a freezer for us.
  • Ice cream. There, I admitted it. We actually will have room for my favorite food now.
For those of you with chest freezers, how has it worked for you? What do you store in yours? Also, anyone have once a month cooking ideas?

8 comments:

Matt said...

Andrea may chime in her later, but she's taken up freezer cooking with a friend and they each cook about two weeks' worth of meals every time they get together. It's been great to have things pre-made and quick to heat/serve on days when dinner time would otherwise catch us off guard. Our frequency of eating in restaurants has dropped way down, which is great on our budget.

I'm not sure how she fits all that food into our refrigerator's freezer, but I can see how doing it without a chest freezer would be completely unfeasible for many families. We've discussed getting one in the past but haven't gotten our garage cleaned up enough for that to be a consideration yet in our current residence.

Things you might store in a chest freezer that you've likely not yet considered:
quarters, DVDs, printer paper, holiday cards, a smaller chest freezer

Kathie said...

Congrats on the find! I use my freezer for mostly what you said. I also save all the bones from meat in a bag to use for soup stock making later on. I also save all the veggie scraps in a big jar for soup stock, soups, etc.

Kacie said...

Awesome! I'm sure your freezer will be put to great use.

In case it's not already filled up, may I offer a suggestion?

You can put a bunch of newspapers or containers almost full of water in it. A full freezer is more efficient than an empty one.

I'm going to try once-a-week cooking momentarily, and I'll blog about my adventures.

I don't have a huge freezer, but there ought to be room for a week's worth of stuff. Hope it's not too hard.

Brett said...

Congrats on the Craigslist finds. Like you, we've had good luck with it. We've sold furniture, a car, comic books, and a bicycle (actually to someone in California).

I can tell you we really like the chest freezer we have in the garage. We've gotten in the habit of making extra of things like spaghetti sauce, Cincinnati Chili sauce, or BBQ pork and freezing it for when we want a quick meal. We also freeze browned ground beef and cooked, shredded chicken to add to recipes when, again, we want something quick. For while, we also froze homemade baby food. And, you're right, the ability to stock up on things when when the price is right is great.

I also like that I can freeze an entire box of Fla-Vor-Ice for those times I'm doing things out in the garage and want a pick-me-up.

Good deal.

Daniel & Teresa said...

Craiglist thing sounds like a great idea; I hope we can use it some day. I'm envious of your freezer. ;) I love pre-making things, but our freezer is small (not American size) and it's usually over-packed. I played with the idea of a chest freezer and even looked online, but the cost of shipping would be outrageous! I'll keep looking for one here, but if we find one, I'm sure it would be more than we can afford. Happy cooking/baking!

Anonymous said...

We wouldn't do without our chest freezer. I think we bought it as soon as we bought our first house. We fill it up with Market Day, Schwann's and ready to go desserts (for when company comes or we just get a sweet tooth!).
We store frozen veggies(I hate canned!), pizzas, meal kits. It's great for those quick meals during the week. Plus, our ice cream stays much fresher in it!
Oh, and I keep my Pampered Chef Chillzane bowls in there so if I need to take them to a pitch in, they are ready to go. If you don't have a bowl like that I highly recommend one.

Lisa said...

Contents of my freezer:

8 whole chickens
Most of 1/4 beef
Homemade noodles
A lot of frozen breastmilk, but not as much as there used to be

Homemade noodles are AWESOME. Mrs. K. has gotten me addicted.

Sarah Smith said...

Great idea with persevering the food. I am going to use some of these ideas. Well see how it all works out.

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