Using Your Fridge/Freezer Smartly
Here are some things to do to feel virtuous and save energy:
You aren't a teenager anymore. (Actually, I'm guessing on that one.) You don't really need to spend half an hour taking inventory every time you open the fridge. Think about what you want before you reach for the door. Better yet, get in the habit of keeping items in the same place in the fridge (e.g., milk in the door, eggs on the second shelf, chocolate cake front and center) so you don't have to rummage through the food, letting cold air out. Your mother would be so proud.
Label items in the freezer clearly so you don't spend a lot of time with the door open trying to identify mystery casseroles from four months ago.
Make sure foods are covered before you put them in the refrigerator. Otherwise the moisture in them will evaporate, which makes the refrigerator use more energy.
All right, be careful with this next tip. You want to let foods cool before you put them into the refrigerator or freezer. But don't leave food out so long at room temperature that you start growing salmonella, botulism or other nasty food poisoners. Don't leave food out on the counter for longer than 30 minutes.
Your freezer works more efficiently when full than when nearly empty, so put some plastic containers like old milk jugs with water in them in the freezer to take up empty space. Really. This isn't a joke.
I've heard that refrigerators also work best when nearly full. But then I've heard refrigerators work best when nearly empty. If anyone wants to have the last word on the subject, please write.