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What’s better than having your freezer organized? Having an organized freezer full of delicious freezer meals that’s what! I have been making freezer meals for over 10 years now and have learned some great methods for organizing your freezer meals. From small space top freezers, to chest freezers and upright full freezers, I can arrange them all like a boss. Even though I know that no one is necessarily coming over to judge me and my freezer, (you know who you are, freezer freak) it sure makes me happy when I open it up and see everything all organized, easy to find and labeled beautifully. Plus it saves me time and headache as I am not digging around to find things. I mean, in all honestly you can just stuff your freezer meals in randomly and hope for the best (don’t be that person), but you will just waste space and lose time without getting your freezer organized.
But before you organize… here are some tips.
Clean it first. The first thing you will want to do before organizing your freezer meals is to clean out your freezer. Take everything out, look for items that may have freezer burn or have been there way too long and toss. If you have a bunch of built up ice this would also be a great time to thaw your freezer by following your manufacturer’s directions. After you’ve de-iced the freezer make sure and take warm soapy water and wash out the freezer, and then dry it so it’s nice and clean. It will finally be ready for your glorious freezer meals.
Freeze stuff flat. If you want to make the most of the space when you organize freezer meals, it’s best to freeze a lot of your meals as flat as possible in freezer-safe bags. Some of my freezer meals are in 9×13 baking pans and others may be jars or other freezer containers. The majority of my freezer meals are in frozen flat in gallon sized freezer safe bags as they take up so much less room this way.
Inventory everything! You can take an inventory of your freezer meals so you know what you have and can cross things off as you use them. If you organize like this you will know what meals to use up first. A rule of thumb is to use up food in the freezer within 6 months if possible. I have seen ideas where people have painted the top of their chest freezer with chalkboard paint and made their list on top with chalk, or they’ve taped a list just inside their freezer door, or used a magnet on the front or inside of their freezer with the list to check off. Personally I’ve never made an inventory checklist as I seem to use up my freezer meals quickly (hungry growing teenagers) and I pretty much know what I have in my freezer at any given time. But if you love being even more organized and can’t remember what you have in there, making an inventory can be a huge help.
10 Awesome Ideas for Organizing Your Freezer Meals
As there are many different types of freezers out there I wanted to give you a few ideas for organizing your freezer meals for each type. The two freezers that give you the most room for your freezer meals are obviously the chest freezer or full upright freezer. But if you have a smaller freezer space you can still make freezer meals, however you will be limited in how many meals you can fit into it. Here are some awesome ideas for organizing your freezer by freezer types.
Upright All Freezers
When I was building my new home recently I had to decide which type of freezer I wanted. As an avid freezer meal cook I looked at the pros and cons of each type and decided my favorite style was the upright full freezer. I feel a little spoiled that I was able to get the Rolls Royce of upright freezers – the Frigidaire Gallery All Freezer and All Refrigerator set. I have been so happy with the time savings and ease of organizing my freezer meals. I can quickly see all my freezer food and not have to fumble or dig around trying to find stuff. And I always have enough room for all my freezer meals! Two features I love the most on my Frigidaire Gallery All Freezer are the adjustable temperature buttons and the adjustable shelving. I also love the bright lighting so I can see everything clearly. Here are some of the ways and ideas I came up with for organizing an upright full freezer.
1.) Plastic baskets. These turquoise baskets held around 10 flat stacked freezer meals inside each.
2.) Flat Styrofoam ice chest lids or other Styrofoam items such as these grave yard headstones from the dollar store.
3.) Use foam sheets with label tabs or flat cookie sheet trays as dividers.
4.) Use reusable shopping bags to keep items neat and organized.
Small Space Freezers (Top or Bottom Freezer Refrigerators)
When I first started making freezer meals I had a small top freezer refrigerator. While you have to get a little more creative with your limited space, you can squeeze quite a few freezer meals in them. In fact, I have stored up to 33 freezer meals in my top freezer at one time. Here are some ideas for organizing your small upper freezer with freezer meals
5.) Use 3 Gallon Sized freezer safe bags to combine sections of freezer meals.
6.)Use a mini shelf to add another section to your freezer if you don’t have one already.
The Lower small space freezers are even more limited in my opinion than the upper small space freezers. The best way I have found to maximize the amount of freezer meals this way is to stack your flat freezer-safe bags in a row with dividers using foam sheets with labels to divide and organize.
Long & Tall Skinny Upright Freezers
The skinny upright freezer/fridge combo can hold quite a few freezer meals if you arrange the shelving just right. Here are some different ideas for organizing your tall skinny upright freezer.
7.) Stack the flat bags of freezer meals in a row. Also add in a few baskets for smaller items.
The top two benefits of using a chest freezer for your freezer meals is first you have a lot of space which equals a lot more freezer meals that can be made and stored. Secondly when someone opens up the chest freezer you don’t lose as much cool air as your temperatures can be so much colder. The con to using a chest freezer is it can be difficult to find items.
8.) Use reusable shopping bags or totes to organize freezer meals and other items separately. That way when you need something you can grab a bag, move it aside and find the bag of freezer meals you want. You can organize them however you like, with categories placed on top of bags such as freezer meals, frozen vegetables, breads, cheeses, etc.
9.) Use stackable freezer shelves. I found these shelves at a garage sale and it is one good way to keep organized.
10.) Netting Garment Bags. Separate your items into mesh netting garment bags with labels tied to the handles.
**WARNING-Don’t use these in the freezer!
Some items I have tried in the past to use in my freezer ended up badly so I wanted to warn you about these items to avoid when organizing your freezer.
Cardboard boxes. These seem like the perfect choice when organizing freezer meals but after a while the moisture in the air in your freezer can break down the cardboard. The paper can also become stuck to the walls of your freezer making more work when you clean out your freezer.
Fabric or Towels – Unless your fabric is plastic coated it will get stuck on the walls of your freezer. No fun.
Thin plastic containers are usually okay for a while but when frozen they become brittle and crack/break easily. It’s best to find thicker plastic bins if you can.