It happens to me every so often. I go to get something out of our freezer and find I am either out of that particular item, or it is old and freezer burned – not useable. My mom’s freezer was not like that. At least once or twice a year she organized her freezer to make room for the quarter or half beef we got when my dad sold his cattle. She would take everything out, defrost it, and make room for those packages of ground beef, roasts, and steaks. I think this gave her a sense of what food she had left in her freezer too, and helped her plan meals for our family.
While I do have a freezer, it’s much smaller than my mom’s was, and it’s frost-free so I don’t have to worry about defrosting it. But, my freezer is a mess. I’m afraid it is nowhere near as organized as hers was. My organizational skills, or lack thereof, have spilled over to my freezer . . . and it’s time to change.
An unorganized freezer means food items get “lost” or buried beneath other items, making it difficult to find them when you need them. That translates into purchasing unneeded items – because you thought you were out but really weren’t – or throwing out foods that have overstayed their welcome in the freezer and come out all freezer burned and dried up, not fit to eat. This in turn affects the grocery budget and makes meal planning more difficult because you don’t have a good handle on what you have available to use in the freezer.
Here is the plan I’ve started to get my freezer organized and user friendly:
Establish an inventory
I already started this and have a freezer inventory form for download if you would like it. I wrote down everything I have in my freezer, along with the size of the package, and how many packages there are. I use check boxes to keep a tally of what is left and what has been used. The inventory sheet is on the freezer door and a pencil nearby to make it easy to use. Now I just need to train my family on how to use it.
Label & Date
Make sure everything that goes in to the freezer has a label and date – I do this now with the products I make at home, like tomato sauce and green sauce. Convenience food items often have a “use by” date on them as well. If not, it’s easy enough to grab a permanent marker and date it myself. This also helps us practice the “first in, first out” rule so the oldest items are used first.
Invest in tools to help with organization
I found rectangular storage bins that work well for holding items like bags of vegetables, fruit, or potatoes that are harder to store and keep neat. They are also handy for storing packages of meat, fish, or poultry. You can use whatever shape you prefer, but I found that square and rectangular bins work better for me than round ones. They use the space more efficiently and can stack more easily.
Make sure Freezer bags are frozen flat
Make sure freezer bags are frozen flat, not rounded or mounded – I do this with my meatballs, shredded zucchini, or bags of freezer meals that I have prepared. It goes into the bag and laid flat in the freezer until it is frozen. After that, the bags can be stacked or stored upright in a bin.
Here is a short list of other sites that I found helpful in organizing my freezer:
My freezer looks a lot better and user friendly. Have you organized your freezer lately? Share your tips for a more efficient freezer with us in the comments below.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”