How do you organize the frig & freezer?

JoAnn_FlaApril 5, 2010

I was pulling stuff out of my freezer today, just thinking.... How did we ever live with those tiny freezers?

I have a side by side and its very hard to find room for anything. How do you organize yours, mine seems to stay cluttered and I can't find anything.

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I find is the best way to keep things organized is to repackage what I can so it lays flat and,or stacks.

I repackage meat. Hamburger goes into zipper bags and is pressed flat. Not only does it take less room in the freezer stacked flat but it thaws easier too. Steak and chops get put in bags too in meal sized packages and I try to keep them flat too so they stack well. All meat is kept on shelves separately from the rest of the stuff. It is all labelled with the date and the old stuff moved to the top so I know which to use first

Other things are in labelled baskets or stackable containers. I keep a permanent marker and labels with my bags so it's handy when I come home from the grocery. It only takes a few minutes to label and it can save a ton of time and wasted food

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 9:07PM
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How about the refrigerator side? I have so many jars there is no room for big casserole dishes.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 10:15PM
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Here's a link for in-depth discussions on fridge/freezer organization.

Here is a link that might be useful: Refrigerator/Freezer organization

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 5:38AM
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Freezer in garage: buy in bulk from sam's and those items generally are in boxes. We KEEP the items in the boxes.
bagged stuff and breads/bagels go in door wire baskets. pie shells go in bottom drawer so they do not get crushed.
wrapped meats stack in betweens the boxes on the shelves. pizza NOT in boxes stack on top of pizza's in boxes.

Fridge in kitchen: first, we have a freezer on bottom. And a very big fridge. I would never have any other as I saw my grandma complain over her 2..a side-by-side and another with freezer on top. she could NEVER hold everything. she was always sending food over to us and my aunt, as they and us had the freezer drawers on bottom. back to my fridge. I adjusted the shelves to fit items we always bought. same with the shelves in the door. Then I arranged everything that fit. On the shelves in the door, I put labels on the shelves. Now everyone knows where items belong. No more hunting for a container of cream cheese at the back of a shelf.
I also line up say, yogurts, or pops, just like canned goods in the store, on my fridge's shelves.
I also found out, that if you buy certain brands or items by sizes, then they all fit nicely. I hated Sam's Club chip sauce, as it was huge and would only fit in the door with the gal milks. They now have a smaller sized container and it fits nicely next to mayo. My fridge, has a space just for 1 & 1/2 doz eggs, that just slides right in. I love that, no more broken eggs as a result of stuff piled on top.
Top shelf of fridge is for breads, or items we do not want smashed & left-overs. Next shelf(left)have canned rolls and yogurt. the right side of the shelf (is adjusted a bit lower) has cottage cheese, velvetta and those sized items.
Next on the left side only is a drawer, and that is where lunch meat, hot dogs, etc go.
Now since that drawer takes up more space, the items below it are sized for like pop cans, some take-outs, left-overs. The right side next to it, holds 2nd gal.'s of milks, more OJ, and tall items.
Below are two drawers, for veg's and fruits.
My door is my fav, as I have all the items per shelf organized. Just above the MILK's are: mayo/barbecue sauce, ketchup, salid dressings, on left. on right, is relish, PB, jelly. above them: Left: eggs with another shelf above that holds butter. Right: two more shelves: first- cream cheese & sliced cheese, above- stick butter & taco cheese.
When I bake, the top shelves will fit a huge cake (say the largest cookie sheet size).
The fridge's freezer holds ice packs for lunches, opened bags from boxes in freezer in garage, ice cubes, stick butter, current ice creams opened, and ice pops.
We also have a fridge in basement to hold pops, water, extra milks and OJ. NO FOOD.
We have a list, so when the person takes the "LAST" of something they need to note it on the list. The empty boxes stay in freezer, til a new one, THUS,nothing falls.
silly, but works, andyou can open the freezer and see an EMPTY box and KNOW you need more, when someone forgets to write it down that they took the last of it!!!!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 11:09AM
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In my kitchen, I have a small overhead freezer on my refrigerator. We keep ice cubes in there and small food packages, such as frozen leftovers,frozen juice concentrate, ice cream for current consumption. In my basement/laundry room I have a chest freezer. That freezer came with one hanging basket and I bought two more. Big boxes and meats on the bottom, veggies and prepared dinners (Lean Cuisine, Stauffers,etc) in the baskets. It's hard to keep organized. But you must, to avoid confusion and spoilage. I clean and defrost the downstairs freezer once a year, usually on Superbowl Sunday. I clean my fridge constantly, at least one shelf a day.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 12:03PM
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If it were in the budget, I'd get rid of the side by side fridge/freezer combo. I've never found them practical. We had one in our apartment. I couldn't even put a frozen pizza in there. It barely held a weeks worth of food for our family.

We buy milk by the gallon and sometimes have two gallons. It has its spot on the bottom shelf. I usually put the casserole type dishes on the same shelf. Condiments go in the door. Fruits/veggies in the drawers. The other shelves have less room between them so that is where I put stuff like the tubs of margarine.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 6:27PM
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It'a a pain! I have a side-by-side. On a previous thread, I noted I have to use a kind of discipline not to try to have some of everything. The problem is that a given shelf or space often works only for that one thing--if you put something else there one week, then purchase the thing that used to go there, you will have to cram it in somewhere else. (I hope that makes sense). Like, I have a shelf that fits ? 6 or so frozen entrees for work lunch or whatever. Then if as I use them up I stuff something else there, and then entrees are on sale and I buy 6, voila, no place. Or if the kids wanted to have frozen pancakes and waffles and ice cream bars and popsicles (and a few other things) all at the same time--something had to give. Same for pizza. I keep one space dedicated for the ice cream carton and extra loaf of bread.

I found I have a bit more space for non-perishable pantry items so try to stock up there and then purchase freezer items in small quantities. I HATE when stuff falls out or is crammed in and I'd rather have fewer choices in a given week--use up a carton or box of one thing and get something different. A separate freezer would make this not necessary, but honestly I don't need that much more space--just a bit, and bigger shelves so can be more flexible about what goes where. just am on the lookout, for our next appliance, for a different arrangement; maybe bottom freezer.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 1:54PM
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The side by side was my temporary freezer/fridge while we were building. It just wasn't an efficient use of space.

My freezer is the new house has the freezer on the bottom. It's a GE Profile. I do like it. It is a pullout drawer rather than the having a cabinet where everything falls out if you stuff it in there. I can fit more in there than the top cabinet type. There is room for big box pizzas. There are various compartments so everything doesn't get lost in the shuffle. The fridge part is great because I can fit the gallon milks in the doors. Of course, the other shelves hold quite a bit too.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 8:29PM
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I keep a big lazy susan on my top shelf of the fridge for small stuff. Just spin and grab. I keep plastic bins in my side by side freezer for smaller stuff - 1/2 bags of frozen veggies etc. Just pull it out and grab. Otherwise before a big grocery shop I purge and wipe down the fridge. Takes me about 5-10 minutes a month, but there are only 3 of us. I also like to "decorate" the fridge. I put the strawberries and salads in pretty glass bowls with saran and keep on the shelves rather than in drawers. I love the colorful display when I open the fridge!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 11:52AM
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Let me just say I'm right there with ya--I have a side by side and I just HATE it. I really miss my bottom-freezer drawer I had in my old house. I found with the frige on top we wasted a lot less food.

To at least help us eliminate wasting time searching for stuff, I've started LABELING dedicated space for certain items, especially in the doors. I also containerize within the space if possible. The more OCD I get with it, the less we waste!

The tippy top door-bin has the plastic cover. I keep butter/lard up there as well as the tube of tomato paste, yeast packets, and that broth-concentrate that comes in a jar.

In the top rack of the door I have labels for the mayo, jelly, and the cream/creamer. Other stuff can be added, but not a the expense of the labeled items.

The second door-rack down is large enough for a gallon of milk, but I don't use it for that. I've got it labeled "Condiments" since those are the little things that are just too easily lost in the backs of the main shelves and then fall over when you have to shift items. Incidentally, when I did the actual organizing not too long ago, I discovered that we had SEVERAL duplicates opened--presumably because the first open jar had gotten "lost" in the vast wasteland that is the side-by-side. Grrr....

The third rack down is labeled "Salad Dressings" and also holds bottles of wine. Awesome shelf :)

The bottom rack is very narrow and is labeled "Syrups" for pancake and Hershey's syrups. Kids can reach by themselves. Great.

Now for the main cavity:
The top shelf has about 10" of space, and is for stuff I don't use too much, like the buttermilk mix. Cut/cleaned celery and chicken broth live up there too. I try not to keep tiny items there, or they get lost and forgotten.

The second shelf has 6.5" of space and is for the eggs, yogurt, sour cream, etc.

The third shelf has about 12" clearance and is for milk, OJ, other liquids, and for leftovers. (Your containers make a difference! I finally just caved in and purchased a complete set of rubbermaid that stacks and interlocks so I could save frige space. It was well worth the $20.)

The lowest shelf has just over 7" of space. It is for salads, canned sodas, large fruits like cantaloupes, and for a special container I labeled "Sandwich Fixin's." Now, when you want to do sub sandwiches, just pull out this bin (an old refrigerator egg-container w/o the egg compartments) and you have all of your peppers, oils, special mustards, etc. right there. That saves several trips back and forth to the frige and works great!

Top drawer is thin. It's for deli meats and cheeses.

Middle drawer is for fruit and veg. I use containers to subdivide that drawer or it gets to be a mess and things get lost and rot.

The bottom drawer if for raw meats. It does have a temp. control, so at least I can keep the meat partially frozen. I figure that buys me an extra day or so before it goes bad.

The other thing I try to do is NOT TO OVER-BUY.

I went ahead and took some shots of the interior as it is today. Luckily, it was already pretty clean!

Sadly, I cannot say anything nice about my freezer. It is a MESS. Things will fall out and HURT you if not opened carefully. Perhaps I'll work on that next :)

Good luck with your project!

Here is a link that might be useful: My OCD frige

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 10:32AM
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D'oh...I just re read the OP and realize the question was about the freezer! Sorry!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 10:46AM
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the topic line includes 'frig'...

those pics of your fridge are just sad...for me. will never post a pic of my fridge. and it's only me here...

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 7:00PM
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Make the decision to do something about your fridge. Grab a garbage bag and get rid of the science projects, anything that is past its expiration date, and anything that you don't like. Clean up all the dishes. Now you need to figure out how it gets so bad so you can make changes. Then you can start to clean one shelf a day, and after a week you'll have a shiny fridge.

I love how organized her fridge looks. I hardly think being that organized is an OCD thing because we all know how quickly the fridge gets to looking like a mess, and wasting less food is a huge bonus. I am very inspired.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 10:31AM
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