There are probably as many ways to organize a freezer as there are people. Much depends on what kind of freezer you have (chest or upright) and whether your goods are packaged in bulk or in smaller amounts.
Fortunately there are some practical tips that can make life with a freezer a lot easier for all who practice them.
1. Resolve to make it part of your yearly routine to review the contents of your freezer twice a year.
I review and at the same time clean mine in the dead of winter.
Just before harvest season, I take another look to note what I have left from last year. This tells me what I need to put up for this coming winter.
2. Throw away anything that is in bad condition or is too old.
3. Make and keep a list of what your freezer contains and post it on the fridge or freezer.
Try to keep it current. At least make sure its current each time you review the contents.
4. When you add things to your freezer make sure they’re labeled with content and date.
Otherwise you could end up like the lady who grabbed what she thought was soup out of her freezer. When she heated it in the microwave for her lunch, she found gravy rather than soup.
To make marking convenient, keep a permanent market with your freezer bags
5. Save spacing using smaller packages when you can:
- When freezing things like soups, stews, casseroles, freeze in a size you will use for a meal. They’ll take less space and help simplify meal planning.
- In freezing cakes, cookies and such — freeze in serving sizes. It’s much easier to thaw and the rest stay frozen.
- Put tomato sauce, soups and even peas and fruits into a freezer bag. Use a straw to suck out the extra air. Lay flat to freeze. You can easily stack these packages.
6. Keep frequently used frozen items within easy reach. For example, you might want to put items you’ll use soon in your kitchen refrigerator/freezer.
7. Keep tiny things together so they won’t get lost in the freezer.
I have several large gallon freezer bags that have small packages in them that would otherwise be lost among everything else. It’s helpful to put a 3 x 5 card in the gallon bag to remind me of the contents without having to go through everything.
8. Categorizing like items is a necessity in organizing a freezer. This is especially important for a chest freezer.
If you can find them, buy freezer baskets. I’ve seen two sizes on compartmentstore.com. I’ve heard that Lowe’s sells some.
Other people have used plastic storage bins, plastic milk crates (will fit in very large chest freezers), plastic dishpans, or large plastic bags when nothing else was available.
Unbelievably, I use paper grocery bags with handles to keep things organized in my small chest freezer. They last a year or more. They work well for the quarts and pints of blueberries, strawberries, peas, and tomato sauce that I freeze.
I know by what’s in the bag how long it will last and how much I’ll need to replace for the coming winter.
The small amount of organic chicken and beef that I have frozen is in a large plastic bag that I can easily remove when I need to see what’s under it.
No matter how you decide to fine tune your freezer organizing, these basic tips will make it a lot easier.
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