Four Tips to Efficiently Organize a Chest Freezer
Our advice will help you make the most of your deep freezer.
Organizing your deep freezer, also known as a chest freezer, is a great way to make sure that you aren't wasting money by purchasing duplicate ingredients or having to toss foods that get buried and spoil. According to the USDA, food waste accounts for an estimated 30 percent of the food supply, which is why it's so important to make sure you're using (and not tossing) the food you buy each time you visit the grocery store. But it's also imperative that you don't forget about the items you freeze, as disposing of them later on also contributes to waste. A simple solution? Keeping your chest freezer organized so you can see what's inside and find what you're looking for.
Categorizing Is Key
When it comes to organizing your chest freezer, you'll want to assign your items general categories, says Anne Gopman, a professional organizer, owner, and founder of Organized by Anne. She suggests using broad categories like meats, poultry, sweets, bread, pre-made meals, and the like instead of more specific ones, such as "marinated chicken." She says, "If you get too specific, you will end up with too many bins when trying to find the one item you need." To store your foods, sort the heavier, less frequently used items, like proteins, out from the rest and place them on the bottom of your freezer. Foods you grab often, like frozen vegetables or snacks, should be at the top where they can be easily accessed.
Know What You Have
It can be hard to keep track of everything with such general categories, which is why Gopman suggests getting a magnetic dry erase board to write down everything you put inside your deep freezer. "It's easy to move and adjust as needed and gives you the space to track items," she says. "You will want to create a chart noting your general categories and then the items, plus their quantities on the whiteboard." This also makes it easy to check a category and see what you're running low on without even having to open your freezer when it's time to head to the store.
How to Organize a Chest Freezer
A successfully organized chest freezer will allow all items to be accessible. "To get the most use of your space, I recommend using bins that are stackable and have a handle," says Gopman. "These will allow you to easily take the items from below out without having to lean over the freezer to do inventory." Just make sure to measure your freezer before you order your storage bins, as not all bins will fit in all freezers. Make sure to label them and consider using a color scheme to keep things even more organized. "For example, [a] green bin for produce and red for meats." Gopman's pro tip: Remove items from their bulky boxes to get more items to fit in your freezer. "Always save space where you can," she says.
Select the Right Types of Foods to Freeze
Not all foods are made equal when it comes to deep freezing according to chef Jason Weiner, executive chef and co-founder of Almond Restaurants. Meat and poultry can both freeze well and last longer in your chest freezer than some of their counterparts. "Their texture stays the same and they can, for the most part, keep their fresh taste (if you don't wait too long to put [them] into the freezer)," he says. Unlike most fish, which Weiner says can undergo a change in texture after defrosting. "Fatty fish, specifically Salmon, work well." Just watch out for freezer burn, which happens when the items you freeze aren't wrapped appropriately. "Always plastic wrap, then put into a zip-top bag, and then in a container."