With only five simple tips, your freezer will become your greatest kitchen ally. Your partner in pantry storage, meal preparation, and savouring the seasons. Whether it is your chest freezer in the garage or basement, your upright freezer in the pantry, or your fridge top or bottom freezer, these five key ingredients will make you talk about freezer organization more than cross-fit at your next cocktail party.
With an organized freezer, you’ll be more efficient in the kitchen and waste less food.
Tip #1 – Labels
The #1 tip for an organized freezer is to label EVERYTHING. I find it’s helpful to keep a big black sharpie in my kitchen gadget drawer, that way I can reach for it and write on containers, freezer bags, anything. You will want to write the item, the quantity, and the date. You can easily wash off the marker when you clean the container, so they are ready for the next item.
Tip #2 – Consistent Containers & Categories
When choosing your freezer containers choose items of consistent shapes that will stack well in your freezer style. Freezing items in consistent portion sizes (like spaghetti sauce for 2) is an easy way to meal plan. Cooking for 6? Remove three containers and defrost in the fridge or microwave. If you have teens in the house looking for quick meals, freezing chili or other items in single serve is very helpful.
Keep your freezer organized by having consistent categories, like frozen pre-made meals, frozen meats, and frozen treats. Keeping items in like-sized containers within their own category area of the freezer makes reaching in and grabbing what you need very easy.
Tip #3 – Bins and Bags (not boxes or trays)
When it comes to storing food in the freezer your best friends are bins and bags, not boxes or trays. Items like frozen chicken fillets often have cooking instructions right on the resealable bag (inside the box), so toss the box and save the space.
You also want to be sure to transfer all meat (beef, poultry, pork etc) from the tray pack from the grocery store or the butcher’s paper. These are not freezer friendly. While this type of packaging is fine for the fridge for a day or two before you cook & enjoy, you will always want to repackage your meats into freezer bags and label accordingly. This is also a great time to add your favourite marinades. Having bags of chicken breasts in my favourite peanut sauce makes stir fries a cinch!
I find small clear bins help me keep everything in those consistent categories. But if bins aren’t your jam, just type freezer organization into Pinterest and go down the rabbit hole of every possible freezer hack you can find. There will definitely be one that works for you.
Tip #4 – Keep Inventory
It might just be in your head but just like for your fridge you should have a rough idea of what you have in your freezer, and when it should be used by. Some people like big lists on the freezer, that is very handy too.
I like to think of my freezer less in terms of the individual items but more on the categories. Knowing I’ve got at least a container or two of pre-made meals, a bag or two of frozen meat for the slow cooker or barbecue, and some frozen veggies (and yes, French fries) I’ve got the basics covered. Just like having flour in your cupboard, or eggs in the fridge, having some basics in the freezer will make it part of the pantry family.
Tip #5 – Use It as Your First Step in Meal Prep
The key to an organized freezer is one that is regularly used. Make your freezer the first step in your weekly meal prep. Open it up, see what meat should be eaten, or what container of pre-made spaghetti sauce, chili, or stew could help with the busy week ahead. Using this as your starting point to help meal plan, use the food you have, and ensure none goes to waste by lingering too long in the back of the freezer will make you feel like a superhero.
Isabelle, Your Appliance Expert