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What are your tips for organizing a small chest freezer?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 05, 2012 at 11:19 PM

Having a small chest freezer makes it easier for me, as a single person living alone and on a tight budget, to eat a mostly paleo diet.

Today while defrosting my small chest freezer (~5 Cu. ft), I discovered some lost food, including a few treasures (a lobster tail, a pound of grass-fed ground beef, a big cache of pork bones) that had slipped out of sight in the deep bottom.

The freezer has no built-in method of organizing, like shelves. It's essentially a deep, freezing cold hole that everything goes into, and the more I search, the more stuff sinks to the bottom. It has one small basket that, in theory, slides back and forth across the top--for about 2 weeks after defrosting, before becoming glued to the spot by ice buildup.

At any given time, I have a collection of vegetables, fruit, nuts, meats, fish/seafood, stocks and soups. I often have more meat products (including bones) than anything else, with vegetables a close second.

I've tried sorting each of these food types into plastic grocery bags, thinking I could pull out the whole bag and not have to look too long for my target. But this doesn't seem to work as well as I'd hoped, and grocery bags don't hold up to many of these searches.

I'm seeking suggestions for ways to organize what I put in here in a way that makes it easy to find whichever type of food I seek.

Have you developed a clever method to organize what you keep in your chest freezer? I'm open to anything from the simplest to the most outrageously anal-retentive--gimme your best!

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on August 17, 2012
at 11:55 PM

Sorry I took so long to check this as "answered," but though I only got one response, I think it was the answer I needed. Thanks!

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on August 06, 2012
at 03:27 AM

I'm not -always- a meanie. :)

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on August 06, 2012
at 12:13 AM

This is a great response--thanks!

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2 Answers

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61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on August 05, 2012
at 11:36 PM

Yeah, I tried the grocery bag method, too. Didn't work out so well for me, either, as I think the cold makes the plastic brittle and they tore very easily. Also wasn't easy to find stuff in them.

I have a chest freezer and I use stackable wire baskets in it. They're wire so you get plenty of air flow and visibility, and they stack so they're stable, they save space, and stuff isn't tipping over and sliding out all over the place. The ones I have are kinda like this: http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10031119&N=&Nao=0&Ntt=wire+basket but mine are not quite so nice. I got them a thrift store though so I'm pretty happy with them. These have handles so they'd probably work even better than mine. I've also seen some wire baskets/shelving that are marketed for closets that would also work well in a freezer.

Also, for further organization, I like to use a dry erase marker right on the top of the freezer, like a little diagram even, and that way I can keep rough track of where stuff is in there and mark off things I need to replenish so I'm not expecting them when I go to make my meal. ("What do you mean, there's no more blueberries in here?!")

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on August 06, 2012
at 03:27 AM

I'm not -always- a meanie. :)

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on August 06, 2012
at 12:13 AM

This is a great response--thanks!

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on August 17, 2012
at 11:55 PM

Sorry I took so long to check this as "answered," but though I only got one response, I think it was the answer I needed. Thanks!

0
A11fdcb02fcc6f97779b74b86ba11e9f

on December 10, 2012
at 08:04 PM

Use stack-able bins and leave room to access them. In that space you can use "reusable" grocery sacks (you know the ones that the bag nazis want you to use.) That way you can store stuff in that space and easily lift those bags of stuff out of the way.

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