07 March 2012

Easy freezer organization with plastic bins + painter's tape

Freezer organization tools: plastic bins + painter's tape

We could all benefit from a little freezer organization. But how to begin?

James's system is cheap, quick, and functional. He applied the general organizational methodology of sort, categorize, contain to his freezer with brilliant results.

With this system in place, imagine the money and time you could save double-cooking dinner and freezing leftovers, or stocking up on sale cuts of meat, frozen vegetables, or staples. Great tip for vegetable gardeners and farmer's market patrons as well!

Some additional tips of my own:

  • You could pick up those plastic bins at the dollar store, but you may want to stick with food-grade, freezer-safe containers, both to avoid brittle plastic that's hard to manage when cold, plus any possible contaminants.
  • Use your trusty Sharpie permanent marker with painter's tape for the labels. Masking tape will work as well, but will be more difficult to peel off.
  • Store your food in labeled freezer bags to keep everything separate and identifiable inside the bins.

How do you organize your freezer? How do you remember what's in there?

More: Hacks for making smart use of your freezer

And: You can do it: Grow a vegetable garden (I'm planting snap peas this week)

Your comments

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Seems like way too much wasted space! Given that everything in a freezer is rock hard anyway and the space is so small, this feels like way too much effort for not that much gain.

Really, Luke? Seems like total efficiency to me, but I'd be interested to hear your suggestions. Perhaps this is most practical for those who have a second freezer?

I agree with the wasted space comment. Sometimes I have a bunch of chicken in ye olde freezer and other times, just one lonely piece. So to have the same space designated for chicken regardless of my chicken holdings would (sometimes) be a waste of space.

I have a similar system using reusable grocery totes. They aren't labeled, but I know where everything is. I keep meat (leftover ham, chicken parts) in one, bread (random buns, pitas) in another, etc. The bags have handles so they are easy to pull out and move around, everything stays organized and separated and they are collapsible! I use them in my small chest freezer by the way.

I think that even with the space loss, this system beats losing stuff in the freezer when you just don't remember or can't see what is where. Having a designated space for each category makes it really easy to assess what you have and what you need to buy, and also makes for some energy saving strategy (taking out the whole container instead of rummaging through the freezer with the door open). I used to do this just for meat/chicken and one for veggies, but changed fridges and the containers I use don't fit in my actuall freezer. It worked very well.

So perhaps there's some middle ground here...bins for easily-lost stuff, open shelf space for more flexible storage.

For myself it is less of wasted space and more of an issue of airflow - big closed boxes like that stifle air flow and keep your freezer from working as efficiently. On top of that - the actual food items (now inside the boxes) cannot help as "cold-sinks" to help the freezer work.

A better option would be something like wire baskets (coated in rubber) or plastic bins that are full of holes.

Thanks for the inspiration! I went and organized my freezer today! http://connected2christ.com/theblog/2012/03/organizing-the-freezer/

Interested in seeing something similar for those of us who have a drawer freezer. Those stacking containers would be invisible in there.

I need one of these things instead of using my old hamper that I have been using for several years. I think I deserve an upgrade

I use cardboard shoeboxes. Same idea, but free, and they have perfectly vertical sides, so I don't lose space. I have enough food in my freezer that there's no empty space in the boxes. Any space left beside the boxes is used for other things that won't fit in the boxes (tortillas, juice concentrate, mason jars of soup). It has been a HUGE help. I made pretty labels on the computer and "laminated" them with packing tape, too.

This is great. I am probably the least organized individual there is! I am always needing tips. I wonder why I can't think this up on my own but I guess my brain doesn't work that way!! Thank you!!

Very nice organizational system. Will have to try it out for my own messy fridge.

Another example of the joy of plastic boxes. I Use them all over the house and garden.

I've tried similar, but I cannot get the tape to stick. I use these erasable freezer labels now on my freezer containers http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=537588&cmSource=Search I think I'll have to try a few plastics bins too and see how it works for us.

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