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Simple Ways Organize a Chest Freezer
Wondering how to organize a chest freezer so you can actually find what you need?
Chest freezers are a great way to save money on food but somehow things seem to get out of control real quick.
Before you know it, your freezer is filled to the brim and you have absolutely no idea what foods you have on hand, or if you do, you have to go on a fishing expedition just to find what you need.
This is probably not what you envisioned when you bought a deep freezer, right?
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are many benefits to owning one, but if your freezer is a disorganized and cluttered mess, it’ll probably cost you more money on wasted food than it’ll save you.
Unless, of course, you learn how to organize a chest freezer so you know what foods you have on hand and can actually find what you need when you need it.
🏡Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a super easy way to keep your entire home clean and organized, then you’ve got to try zone cleaning.
What to do before organizing your chest freezer
Unlike organizing a pantry or kitchen cabinets, you need to make sure you are prepared before you dive into your bottomless freezer.
Mainly because you don’t want your food left out for too long so it starts to thaw making it susceptible to bacteria growth.
Some things you need to consider are…
How much food do you have in your chest freezer?
Does your deep chest freezer need defrosting and cleaning?
What type of chest freezer organizers you’ll need?
How much food do you have on hand?
The first thing you’ll want to consider is how much food you have on hand. If your freezer is filled to the brim, it’s going to be really difficult to get it organized in a way that makes finding food easier.
Before tackling organizing your chest freezer, you’ll probably want to eat up some of what you have first. A good way to do this is to do a pantry challenge.
If you’ve never done a pantry challenge, it’s when you commit to not buying groceries for a specific amount of time, usually a month, and meal plan around what you have on hand in your pantry, fridge, and freezers.
Defrosting and Cleaning your Chest Freezer
If your freezer has frost build-up then you are going to want to take the time to defrost it since frost hinders the efficiency of your freezer.
Simply empty the contents of your freezer and put your food in cold storage, like your refrigerator or a large chest cooler filled with ice, to keep it from defrosting
Next, turn off your freezer to let the frost melt, you can speed up the process by pouring some warm water over the surrounding walls.
Once the frost is gone, you’ll need to empty the water out, most freezers have a plug on the bottom to make it easy to do, but if not, you could always use a wet vac if you have one handy.
What type of organizers will you need?
Lastly, you’ll want to think about how you are going to organize your chest freezer so you can gather what you need before you get started. Here are some of the basics to get your chest freezer organized.
Chest freezer organizers
How to organize a chest freezer
There are many ways to organize a chest freezer and it’s really a personal preference on how you do it, as long as it works for your situation.
Here are some ideas I gathered from around the web to give you ideas on how to get your freezer organized.
Categorize your frozen foods
The first thing you’ll want to do after you’ve defrosted and cleaned your small deep freezer is to categorize or group like items together similar to how I Heart Organization did.
For example, you might want to group all frozen fruit and veggies together, group your meat stockpile in another group, and another category for frozen snacks like homemade popsicles and ice cream.
There is no right or wrong way to do this, as long as it makes sense to your needs and it makes things easy to find.
Organize your chest freezer with Dollar Tree bins
Next, you’ll want to keep your food categories separated and grouped together when placing them back into your freezer.
There are many ways to do this, and you don’t need an expensive chest freezer divider kit. The most popular by far is using plastic bins which you can find for cheap at any dollar store.
You can also find some great plastic storage bin options on Amazon too if you don’t have a dollar store where you live.
Lastly, if you don’t have access to freezer bins just yet, another deep freezer organizer idea I found when I Googled “how to make dividers for a chest freezer” is to use cardboard boxes which are always great to organize your home.
Organize a chest freezer with recyclable shopping bags
Like using bins, recyclable shopping bags are a great and cheap option to keep your food categorized and organized in your chest freezer.
As seen in the image above, If You Do Stuff does a great job at keeping her food stockpile in order by placing chicken, beef, and pork in separate bags so she can easily find what she needs.
Lable where everything goes
Once you have your food placed in bins or bags (cardboard boxes work too) label them so everyone knows what goes where and to make finding what you need easier.
Use binder clips to hang bags
I absolutely love this chest freezer organization hack of hanging smaller bags of food or frozen veggies to your small chest freezer’s wire baskets from Fabulous Organization.
It’s such a simple idea of using binder clips to hang plastic bags but is totally genius because it utilizes space in your freezer that would typically be unusable.
Store food in clear bags
Another way to make finding what you need in your freezer is by using clear bags so you can see exactly what you have on hand.
To keep your food visible while saving precious space, and last longer, you might want to consider using a food vacuum sealer as I do. It’s really been a game-changer in keeping my chest freezer organized.
Use food storage labels
If you’re into freezer cooking and have meal prepped food in your freezer, it’s a good idea to label your meals so you know what recipe they are, how long they’ll stay freshest, as well as cooking instructions.
These editable labels I found on Money Saving Mom are perfect to do just that. You can also find some meal prep labels on Amazon for pretty cheap too so you don’t have to print them at home.
Create custom shelves
I found this fun idea for making custom shelves out of magazine holders at Aunt Peaches.
She uses this trick to make custom shelves in her upright freezer but who says you can’t do the same in a chest freezer.
Keep small items visible
Keeping everything visible is the name of the game when organizing a chest freezer, even the smallest items, which is why I love these magnetic containers by Tator Tots and Jello.
You can use the same technique with different sized containers to fit your needs and utilize every inch of your chest freezer walls.
Tips to keep your chest freezer organized
Rotate your chest freezer inventory
When restocking your chest freezer, it’s a good idea to rotate your food so you never let anything go bad.
Simply place the fresher foods you just bought on the bottom of your bins or bags.
Track your freezer inventory
Even when your chest freezer is organized it can be difficult to remember everything that you have on hand which is why it’s a good idea to track your freezer inventory.
There are many ways to do this, you can use printable freezer inventory tracking sheets, or this brilliant chalkboard freezer inventory tracking idea I found on Stuff Parents Need.
She uses chalkboard contact paper which sticks right to your freezer but can also be removed without any damage.
Get rid of over-sized boxes
Lastly, you’ll want to get rid of any over-sized food boxes that take up way too much space in your freezer.
Instead place the food in a plastic bag, if it’s not already in one, and hang the bags in your wire basket with binder clips (as shown above) to make them easy to find.
Create an eat this first section
Create an area of food that needs to be eaten soon in your chest freezer to prevent having to throw it in the trash.
As you know, food has a shelf life even when frozen (you can find a food storage chart below) which is why it’s a good idea to label everything with a “use by” date.
How long does frozen food stay good?
As you know, food can stay good for quite a long time when frozen, but there are some guidelines you should follow to make sure your food quality at it’s best.
Below is a chart of how long food stays good when frozen provided by FoodSafety.gov, use this to label your food with the “use by” date when storing your groceries in the freezer.
How to organize a chest freezer conclusion
Is it time for you to organize your chest freezer? If so you’ll probably want to add it to your to-do list. You’ll be so much happier when you don’t have to spend 15 minutes trying to find what you need to make dinner tonight!
And I’m sure you’ll save money at the grocery store too. I just tackled mine a few days ago and realized I had 4 large packages of chicken, a 9-pound salmon I totally forgot about, and at least 5 bags of shrimp that I need to use up soon…
Time to head on over to Pinterest to find some shrimp recipes!!!
If you’re feeling motivated to get your entire home organized, here are more organizing ideas to check out
15 Ways To Organize Pots and Pans in Any Kitchen
Best planners for Moms to get and stay organized
How to organize a small bedroom
DIY family command center ideas
42 Genius Car Organization Ideas, Hacks, & Tips (perfect for trucks and SUVs too)
How do you keep an organized chest freezer? Do you have any other tips to help organize chest freezer? Please leave a comment below so we can try it out!!
What is the best way to store food in a chest freezer?
The best way to store food in a chest freezer is by categorizing your food into groups of related items.
How do you make chest freezer dividers?
There are many ways to make chest freezer dividers. One of the most popular and least expensive ways to keep your food organized is with cardboard boxes. You can also use chest freezer baskets, plastic bins, or even reusable shopping bags.
How do I organize my deep freezer?
The easiest way to organize a deep freezer is by knowing what food you have on hand. The easiest way to keep track of your freezer inventory is by grouping like foods together using chest freezer dividers, plastic bins, or chest freezer baskets.
How do I dress up a chest freezer?
There are many ways to dress up a chest freezer. You can put a skirt around it, drap a table cloth over it, add decrotive pieces on top of it, or paint it with chalkboard paint and let your imagination run wild.
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