April 14, 2013

Tips for organizing (and maximizing) your freezer space

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Your freezer can be your coolest friend and a big help when it comes to saving money. I’d say we visit our trusty freezer at least daily for meal components or ingredients. I find that having an organized freezer makes our lives (and meal prep) so much easier.

Here are some of my tips for organizing and maximizing your freezer space:


1.) Freeze items flat. I like to put a lot of items in freezer bags. If it’s a liquid, it’s going to sink all to the bottom of the bag and create a big “blob” of frozen food. Lay your foods flat to freeze – and if you’re really particular, you can even separate the bags by pieces of cardboard as they freeze. This keeps the bags from freezing together or getting goofy grooves. Once they are frozen flat, stand them up on edge.


2.) Use boxes for storing flat items. Once my bags are frozen flat, I like to store them up on end, in boxes. Shoe boxes are great for quart size bags. And I bet you can find a box for your gallon size bags too. If the box is too tall, cut the top off of boxes so you can see what’s inside. You can pull the box out and flip through it like a filing cabinet. It’s so easy. If you want to be really fancy you can buy plastic bins and label them more permanently.

3.) Store similar items together. Make it easy on yourself. Develop a little system for where you store items, for example all the fruits and vegetables in one drawer or keep all the meat on one shelf. This hopefully means you won’t be digging to the darkest depths of your freezer looking for a particular item.

4.) Label everything. Keep a permanent marker right by the freezer. Do not put anything into the freezer that you haven’t labeled with what it is and a date for when it was prepared.

5.) Rotate items as you put them in. Move older freezer meals to the front, newer ones to the back. When you go to grab something – make a point to grab the oldest item.

6.) Throw out stuff you won’t use. If it’s been at least six months and you haven’t even considered the leftover meatloaf you have in your freezer, wouldn’t that space be better served with something you are more likely to eat?


My favorite things to have in my freezer:

  • Homemade chicken broth – I love making up a batch of slow cooker chicken broth and freezing it in bags or Snap-ware for future recipes.
  • Shredded cheese – I like to buy cheese in bulk and freeze in quart size bags. This works especially well for shredded varieties, as block cheese tends to crumble after being frozen.
  • Fruits and vegetables – Save big on produce by purchasing things like peppers when they are at a stock-up price and freeze
  • Pre-made meals, a.k.a. freezer meals – These are a lifesaver on busy days or when we get the urge to eat out.
  • Components to meals – This is covered in some of these other bullets – but think about the meals you make the most and see what you can make ahead of time. Pre-made enchilada mix, plain shredded chicken, slow cooker refried beans, cheese, broth, pre-washed/chopped fruit (like pineapple) – get them diced, prepped and made ahead of time to time.

I’d love to hear from you – how do you maximize your freezer space and what are some of your favorite things to freeze?! Please leave a comment and let me know.


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  1. I have organized my freezer in a similar fashion as you have shown here. One of the best things I have is a vacuum sealer. Our children are grown, so it’s just the hubby and me for meals. If I didn’t have my FoodSaver vacuum sealer, we would waste a lot of food. I re-use the vacuum bags when they are in good shape. I wash thoroughly, air dry and pack back into my box that holds my supplies. (When freezing chicken breasts, I use a fold-top sandwich bag to hold each piece of meat and put those into a large vacuum bag. Easy to cut open, take out what I need, reseal and return to the freezer. Love being able to still buy in bulk and not lose food due to freezer burn.)

  2. Hi Heather,
    Glasgow, Scotland here. I’m in awe of your freezer, I have a half n half fridge freezer, but its a shambles, I’m going to take a leaf out of your book and try your ideas above, thanks


  3. I bought these plastic stackable shelf things ( sorry for the pathetic description) They stack together and are open in the front. I use those in my chest freezer for my meat. Each shelf holds a different kind of steak or more depending on room, also roasts and ribs etc. That way when I go to my freezer I dont need to dig. We raise beef and just got one butchered and we put 415 lbs of meat into it, and I never worry about finding certain cuts because its all sorted and easy to get to. This I would imagine would work with meals and other things as well.

  4. Roxanne says

    I loved your idea so much, I set out to organize my kitchen freezer – I don’t have any other freezer space, and my husband and I love to buy in bulk when we find deals, so you can imagine how out of control our freezer space had become. I’ve emailed you before and after shots, Heather, because I’m so proud of this accomplishment… in fact, after I finished, I was able to add 12 pounds of Italian and breakfast sausage that I’d packaged but didn’t have room for! Thank you for your great ideas; you are my inspiration!

  5. You make “Steve Madden Shredded BBQ Chicken” look good! (haha) Seriously though, love your post, but especially love the pics! I can’t wait to get ambitious with my freezer!!

  6. We have a chest freezer and it’s the Pit of Despair. I would LOVE an upright. I just hate that you have to pull everything out to get to what’s on the bottom. One thing I’ve done that’s helped is to group like items in cloth grocery bags. Same idea as the boxes but bags have handles so they might be a bit easier to pull out. Just make sure to label the bags clearly.

  7. Do you have any tips on preventing freezer burn? I used to use a vacuum sealer and it died, so now I’m using Ziploc freezer bags and getting freezer burn and lots of excess ice on my food.

    • I prefer to use vacuum sealer but the bags can get expensive. I recommend making sure it’s cooled down all the way before putting it in bags. This prevents steam (which turns to ice). Fill the bags as much as possible. I like to lay my bags down on the table and squeeze out all the air, I think this helps. Also – I go with the FREEZER bags from Ziploc, not off brand bags. Hope this helps!

  8. Wow – I LOVE your organized freezer!! It’s so beautiful. I love how you are using old cardboard boxes, I am so going to do this now. I have been freezing flat, and I do have a freezer above my fridge as well as a chest freezer, but I think that this box method could work for both if I got creative. Thanks for your clever idea – off to share this on my facebook page. {{LOVE}}

  9. One more comment: store your meats on the bottom of the freezer and veges/fruits above them. Then if the power goes out and your meat thaws it doesn’t drip blood on your fruits and veges.

    • apryl barnes says

      what a great idea!!!!! I live in southeast Louisiana so the electricity does often go off when hurricanes visit us. more than once I have lost everything,

  10. I have an upright freezer and use mostly Tupperware for storing and freezing. If you buy your chicken at Costco, freeze flat first and then cut them apart and put in a box or group together the way she has it here. It’s much easier to grab what you need at the time. I usually freeze my ground hamburger in Tupperware containers since we use about 1-2 lbs. at a time. I grew up with a very deep long chest freezer (my mom still has two) as being on a farm we canned and froze our own fresh veggies, etc. My parents would use ziplocs and lay flat to store in boxes, using cardboard to separate. You can also use plastic buckets of some sort for organizing and grouping like items together.

  11. Any advice for a stand up freezer? We have a mini deep freeze and it is a total mess. There is one small basket on the top, otherwise it is just a deep pit.

  12. Lovely job, wish my freezer looked so good:)
    Heather, I got the silicon Popsicle molds you listed from amazon a few weeks back, does anyone have any good recipes of sugarless Popsicles????
    Does Albertsons sell freezers?! Wow, great deal…

    • Vickie – Good question! I don’t have any recipes, but I bet you could find a lot with Google or Pinterest. Let me know if you find one that works for you!

  13. Does anyone have any tips if you have a tiny freezer?? I currently live in an apartment and just have our little freezer on top of the fridge and I could use any and all help figuring out storage so I can make the freezer meals!

  14. Trina Newman says

    This makes my freezer look like a night mare!

  15. I wish my freezer was that big! I’m saving up now to get a chest freezer, preferably one at Albies so I can nab some good coupons as well 🙂

    • apryl barnes says

      suggestion – DO NOT get a chest freezer. You will be frustrated having to pull things off the top to get to the bottom IF you even know what is down there!! been there done that

  16. shantel frey says

    I just got a freezer from albertsons, buy the $169.99 Freezer and get $170 in coupons for free items!! Thank you for this post about freezer meals, do you or anyone else have some others I can follow…ael

  17. Andrea Dulaney says

    I love how you did this. I was wondering about ideas to organizing a chest freezer. Your systems seems to work well for uprights but I have 2 small chest freezers and it is really hard to organize it all. We have a hard time rotating things so usually eat from the top only. Any pictures and ideas would be great.

  18. Cindee Nebeker says

    I do this very thing with my freezer stuff. I love it!

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