Roommates, flatmates, and spouses worldwide know that an over-stuffed fridge/freezer can be head-bangingly frustrating and downright disgusting if left to its own devices. Turns out, though, this feisty 50s housewife has actually got the right idea—energy-conservation-wise, anyway. Cooling a gaping empty space takes a whole lot of energy, so keeping a tightly-packed fridge and freezer will save you both energy and money.

This week's tip: if your freezer's not already chock-a-block full of frozen peas, veggie burgers and numerous tubs of organic Stonyfield mint-chocolate-chip frozen yogurt (listen, osteoporosis runs in my family, okay?), consider filling the empty space with some scrunched-up newspapers. Not that there's anything magic about newspaper — you can throw your old mismatched socks in the icebox instead, if you've been looking for a discreet place to stow them, or that paperback thriller you don't want taking up space on your bedside table any longer, or that stack of credit card bills you can't quite find an ideal time to pay. See? It's fun being domestic and saving energy!

(Don't forget to recycle the scrunched-up paper later on.)

This article originally appeared in Plenty in June 2007. The story was added to in August 2009.

Iceboxes are handy places to store things
Kill two birds with one stone: extra storage and energy efficiency.