Chest Freezer Organization
written by Nathan & Kelli
Freezers, especially chest freezers, can become a dark hole where things go in, but never come out.
Here are the ideas we use to help keep all the food in our freezer easily within reach and help reduce the chances of food getting forgotten at the bottom:
Fewer unique items. It is almost impossible to keep your freezer organized if you are trying to store 90 different types of food. Instead try to minimize the number of different things you store in your freezer.
For example in our freezer we have frozen peas, ground beef, roast, pork roast, chicken, butter, frozen fruit and bread. We used to have more variety of food, but we found that most of it wasn’t really needed, and the organization benefits far outweighed the benefits of the extra variety.
Containment. Food doesn’t stack perfectly or stay in nice neat piles in the freezer without help. Find a way to create sections in your freezer with cardboard boxes or some other structure (we built plywood boxes).
Each section should only have 1 or 2 kinds of food in it. These sections, because nothing is stacked on top of each other, allow us to see all of our food and access it from the top. It may help to label each section so that everyone in the family knows where to put new food.
Rotate food. To keep food from being forgotten we also make sure all food going into the freezer has some sort of label and date on it. Then occasionally (every 3-6 months) we go through each section of the freezer to make sure the oldest food is on the top.
Most food we purchase is already clearly labeled and has expiry dates on it. But some food, like ground beef, we repackage into ziplock bags before it goes into the freezer. As a result we need to make sure it has a purchase date on it.
The above ideas may seem overwhelming, but the secret is you don’t have to fix everything immediately. You can slowly start reducing the amount of variety in your freezer, adding boxes into your freezer to divide it into sections, and starting to label food. It’s one step at a time.
Here are some ideas to get started:
Go to your freezer and take everything out and I mean everything. This is also a good time to let it defrost a bit and clean it out.
Round up any boxes you have, would any of them work for freezer dividers. Preferably you want boxes that aren’t too big, and short enough they don’t stop the top baskets from sliding around.
Now look at what food you have. What are the things you thought you would use and haven’t? Are there things you didn’t even know you had? Stack them all in one section of the freezer and start planning meals to use these items up. Stop buying more of these foods.
Start figuring out which food fits best into your new sections.
Repeat the above steps every 3-12 months. Over time you will find better and better boxes for the sections plus you will do a better job of not buying food you don’t actually use.
We have been using these methods for a number of years and it helps keep our freezer a lot more organized. It also significantly reduces the number of times we have found an ancient bag of food at the bottom of our freezer.
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