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Who Organizes Their Freezer?

Posted by Maura63 (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 22, 05 at 9:21

This is on my "To Do" list this week, and I would appreciate any tips/advise you can share.

I hope that if my freezer is more organized then I will find the "What's For Dinner?" question less daunting.

The details:

I have two fridges, one in garage and one in kitchen; both are your standard, fridge below, freezer above. The kitchen freezer has 3 shelves (including the bottom) and an auto-ice maker. (The garage has two shelves, bottom plus one wire shelf, with an ice compartment, not used for ice. Right now there are ice-packs in there.)

Typically I do not cook ahead of time; but if I have leftovers I do sometimes freeze.

For longer-term storage (i.e. meats) I use garage fridge. I also store "frozen entre" (Lean Cuisine or WW) type things in here since these are consumed only occasionally, and can be bulky. If I buy a roast or turkey on sale, it will only fit in the garage fridge, on the bottom.

Some general questions

Do you assign shelves for different products? Do you use bins to keep like-items together? If so, does it take away from storage space? Would plastic bags be a better option? (Im leaning toward using bins.) If you use bins, what do you use? Currently I use a dishpan to store meats. It seems to hold up well frozen.

What stores better on the doors vs. the interior? What should not be stored on the door? Do you use any "containers" on the doors to keep like items together? (Side note: Sometime I can get carried away with "containerizing". Food typically comes in its own container, box, bag, etc. And the freezer is a container. That sort of thing.)

If you do have an organized freezer (with appointed shelf space) please describe what you have where.

Your insightful input will be greatly appreciated!

Maura


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Who Organizes Their Freezer?

I organize my freezer. There have been too many times when I couldn't find what I needed!

I use different colored bins: green for vegetables, yellow for poultry/pasta/pork, red for beef, blue for fruit/nuts/desserts. I like to vacuum seal everything, and do that in the flattest packs I can make so I can stack them vertically in the bins. This takes up the least amount of space and it's easy to flip through the items (kind of like a filing cabinet). I also pound chicken breasts before I vacuum seal so they thaw quickly and are ready to use. (I made dinner last night in 20 minutes, so this works really well for me.)

In the door I have boxes of vegetables, jars of home-made stocks, frozen bread, cans of juice, frozen yogurt, popsicles in the summer. This system is working for me, and I can find everything I need without having to root through the entire freezer.


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RE: Who Organizes Their Freezer?

Well, my freezer is organized, but the big one is an upright freezer, so this may not help you much. ;-)

The top shelf holds rolls of cookie dough, bags of veggies, and leftovers. I don't use bins - just keep them on thier own third of the shelf. The second shelf is for meat - beef only, ground beef on one side, steaks/stew meat in the middle, and roasts on the other side. The third shelf is for pork - chops on one side, roasts on the other, and the bottom shelf is for chicken - breasts on one side, whole chickens on the other. I store smaller bags of frozen veggies in the door, and things like extra butter, leftovers, etc.

In the kitchen, my freezer is on the bottom, so it's a pull-out drawer. I have open bags of veggies in the top bin (things to be used up), fish food, an open container of butter, and a bag of frozen pepperoni. Not very organized there. ;-) The bottom is divided into two bins - one holds cheese, cut up onions, cut up bacon, and the other holds frozen fruit, and leftover raw meat (half a pound of burger, a pound of crab meat, etc). Things tend to just get thrown around in there though, so I can't say it's exactly "organized", but I do try to keep things in the proper "side" at least. LOL


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RE: Who Organizes Their Freezer?

I have found that frozen vegies thaw & refreeze too many times on the door so they stay in a plastic basket in the freezer part on the shelf under the ice. I keep meat in another basket so it doesn't get spread around the freezer. It makes meal planning easier not to have to search for ufo's (unidentified frozen objects).


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RE: Who Organizes Their Freezer?

I do. I have a sXs in the kitchen. I found stainless steel freezer baskets at Lowes that fit on the shelves. I have labeled the baskets:
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Chic
  • Fish

    This way at least I know what species it is.


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    RE: Who Organizes Their Freezer?

    I don't, not really--we don't use it that much. Not w/ a grocery store open late, 3/4 of a block away.

    But, just in case it is helpful, I wanted to say....

    a P-touch label will stay on in the freezer (be sure there's no water underneath it, if you're mounting it on the actual wall or rail inside the freezer).

    Love that tip about pounding the chicken breasts BEFORE you freeze 'em!


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    RE: Who Organizes Their Freezer?

    For refgerator and freezer labels, I use the 3" X 1" plastic hanging tags like the ones in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. You make the labels on the computer and insert them into tags then clip them on the rail of the freezer basket or the door shelves.


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    RE: Who Organizes Their Freezer?

    I have only the freezer that came with the fridge. I group things together -- all the veggies together, all the meat/fish together, etc. There is a bin for the icemaker/ice (which I use only when entertaining) and a bin for those small items (of all kinds) which would otherwise disappear in the freezer.

    The door always is somewhat warmer than the middle of the freezer, so I put there things which can handle a little thawing/refreezing. Most bread goes there (if it fits), my tub of tomato paste (used one tablespoon at a time) lives there, and some other items (like camera film and cling wrap) go there as well. Easy to reach and use. I don't like rummaging through a full freezer.


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    RE: Who Organizes Their Freezer?

    I put a little wire shelf in the bottom left side of the freezer to make better use of the space. I try to keep fruit on the top right (the ice maker's on the top left), and put frozen vegetables in the bottom middle and meat (if any) in the bottom right.

    Right now it's not very full.
    The door holds Italian ice and frozen herbs.


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    RE: Who Organizes Their Freezer?

    Thanks for the responses. So far I attacked the kitchen freezer.

    TS, I wondered about the P-touch labels, thanks. But I think my family would never let me hear the end of it they suddenly saw labels in the freezer. (As it is, my extended family thinks I'm nuts. But the former Kdg. teacher in me wants to label!)

    After reading suggestions here I decided to move breads to the door (so bulky in the main compartment).
    On the top shelf I put breakfasty items, fruits, and cheeses. I put the cheeses (small items) in a slim ice holder (that probably came with the fridge, fits on the door, but also fits on the top shelf and now acts more like a drawer. And it's clear!)

    The bottom shelf has anything related to dinner: meats on the left (in a bin), frozen veggies on the right, sauces in the middle.

    The middle shelf has dessert items and snack-type foods (i.e. ice-cream or Cool Whip).


    I'm using a Sterlite bin instead of a dishpan. I read that you should use bins that have holes to allow for air-circulation. I hope it holds up as well as a dishpan does.


    The garage freezer is next! (And I think I will use more bins in this one.)

    Thanks again.
    Maura


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    RE: Who Organizes Their Freezer?

    I haven't read what everyone else has done. But for me- I have an upright freeezer/fridge in the house and a chest freezer in the garage.

    I organize both of them to some degree- I don't use bins just because I don't think it would make it any better than it currently works. It works 'good enough' for me that I don't agonize about organizing it to the nth degree when I won't get anything more out of it than I currently do-- the ability to open the door and grab what I want easily and to keep a fifo rule going.

    Long term storage goes outside. Also frozen dinners, frozen leftovers, etc. I have three sections. The Left hold fruits and nuts and berries. The middle section left side holds frozen dinners, extra meals, etc. The middle section middle holds the frozen milk and bread. The middle section right holds shrimp and fish, in a box so it will stack nicely. In front of the box is the orange juice cans. The Right section holds vegetables. Then we do have a little hanging basket in there that holds frozen meats.

    My freezer in my house is organized similarly. The top shelf right holds the meat, the top shelf middle holds the veggies. As I plan my meals weekly and shop every other week, this usually empties out every two weeks which enables me to keep it fairly organized and keeps from getting old meat in there. (IF i hit a sale and buy lots of meat, it goes out side in the freezer, and when I plan meals, I bring in what I plan to cook in a two week period). The bottom shelf holds misc. items such as frzn green chile, cool whip, etc. The door holds frozen nuts, chips etc.

    Ginger


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    RE: Who Organizes Their Freezer?

    I have to tell you what happened yesterday. I got a container of stew from the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw for a day to take to work for my lunch. I love a hot meal at work, makes me feel better. Waiting for my lunch break to come, yum. Had a couple slices of bread and butter to go with the stew. Lunchtime comes, I retrieve my container from the fridge in the breakroom, pop it in the micro and heat it up. Open it up and stir, hmmm, no potatoes...or carrots. IT'S GRAVY ! ARGGGGG. LOL. So I had some bread with butter and some Chex mix. Guess I need to organize my freezer a little better.


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