No Cost Organizing for a Chest Freezer

Where I grew up, chest freezers were a staple in just about every home. As the years changed, so did the freezer styles, but what didn’t was their necessity. Though I’ve moved, I haven’t made the lifestyle change – having a freezer is just part of how I live. And oddly enough, I’ve never made a style switch, either.

Hang on tight for design inspired photos you’ll be dying to pin ;-)

Like this one of our freezers in the basement!

Chest Freezers

Okay, I’ll just say it. This post is not photo pretty, but it does have a few tips!

Keeping a chest freezer organized can be a challenge, so what can you do?

1. Sort the contents by group, and place like things together.

Labelling for Freezers

We have two freezers, so I thought these signs would help hubs know where things go :-) Okay, they’re for me too! We had a mix of everything in both, and wasted time rooting through each one! Even with one freezer, making a basic list of what’s inside can be helpful. And if you want something super handy, but with a lot more cool factor, placing a chalkboard decal right on your freezer is an easy way to keep things up to date.

2. Tag your frozen goods with dates, and place the oldest items on top.

Here my new and old are placed side-by-side, but I still wanted to make sure we were using the older fish first. Ideally you will want to date your individual packages, but my Dad and his buddy keep us supplied in fish, so we process quite a few at once. That’s where this next tip comes in. And I have to give my Dad credit for this one as he’s done this for years!

3. Contain your frozen packages in boxes within the freezer.

Notice the circle in the first photo. That’s space over the freezer motor, which is pretty hard to maximize. The box provides storage for additional items that would otherwise slip off the tiny shelf.

More reasons I like to use boxes:

  • You can fill the bottom of the freezer, and then optimize the vertical space that’s left, by layering another row of boxes on top
  • You are able to contain like things together, which makes them easier to retrieve
  • It’s easier to move a box, than it is to move a pile of random packages
  • Boxes help protect vacuum sealed packages, like what our fish is in, from breaking open
  • Boxes are easy to come by, and you can cut them down to size
  • This is a great way to reuse something you probably already have!
4. If your freezer is full, take a quick photo of the outside and list what’s on the inside.

Print off the photo on plain old paper, and start writing in what you have and where you’ll find it. This isn’t meant to be all pretty and perfectly formatted. It’s just another way for you to find things quickly without having to search through your freezer. If you want to forget the whole photo thing, draw squares and fill them in instead! Remember, chest freezers are deep, and brrrrrr, cold… do you really want to be searching through that?

More things to keep in mind:
  • Ensure your individual packages are fully frozen before stacking others on top
  • Use thick, strong cardboard boxes, because they will eventually soften and want to bend over time
  • Fold the flaps closed before stacking another box on top, or place a heavy, flat piece of cardboard between the boxes

And… you don’t have to use cardboard boxes. You can use whatever works for you… just remember that plastic gets brittle when it’s frozen, and any moisture turns to ice on it’s surfaces. As for metal containers… well, we don’t even want to go there!

So tell me, do you use a freezer? What are your strategies for keeping it organized? Oh, and how many of these photos did you pin ;-) !!!

I hope you had fun reading this… it’s been pretty rainy here, so organizing something is always a great way to feel productive when you’re feeling kind of house-bound!

Fun fact:

Did you know there’s actually a name for the sign strategy I used to identify the old and new fish? There’s a system in Japan called Kanban. It’s not an inventory control system, but rather a scheduling system. My little cardboard cards are a very basic form of what’s actually quite a sophisticated system. Click here to read more! It’s pretty interesting. I included this to show you how systems can be as basic or as complex as you want to make them, but what matters in the end is that you have a system!

Have a great weekend, and thanks for stopping by!

Photography by Sheila Zeller