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Organizing A Chest Freezer: Ideas & Solutions

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Organizing a chest freezer is not always easy to do, but if you don't do it you'll soon begin to have to dig down in the abyss for your frozen items and it can get very frustrating.

Organizing Refrigerator & Freezer Challenge
This type of freezer is popular because it can hold so much food in such a relatively small space (less space than uprights, typically).

But, they are notoriously bad for accumulating food clutter, and if not loaded properly they can waste your money and food because it is easy to forget (or lose) what's in there.

Below I've gathered ideas shared by readers who did Week #4 of the Organized Home Challenge which had, as one of its tasks, to organize your freezer.

These readers did an awesome job and they happened to have chest freezers, so I separated out their hall of fame submissions for those of you who have this type of appliance, because of the unique organizational challenge they pose.

Just make sure before you start organizing that you first declutter your freezer using the instructions in the linked article, because you only want to be organizing edible food!

If you organize yours I'd love to see your pictures as well. You can submit them here and I'll add the best ones to the hall of fame!

Practical real life ideas and solutions for how to #organize your chest freezer {on Home Storage Solutions 101} #OrganizingTips #KitchenOrganizationuse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

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Organized Freezer Baskets To Labels Plus Inventory

by Megan L. @ Life of the Lorenzens
(Waverly, IA)

Chest freezer baskets

Chest freezer baskets

Megan from Life of the Lorenzens shared some of her pictures from her freezer organization project here, for the hall of fame.

Megan says:

I completed a much-needed reorganization of my freezers and cleaned out the fridge. I had fun making cute, reusable labels for new freezer baskets. I also updated my white board inventory system.

Taylor says:

Megan, your pictures are lovely, and I can tell you put a lot of work and effort into your organization project. Thanks for sharing a couple of the pictures with me here for the hall of fame.

Plan To Eat From Your Freezer Both Before & After Your Project:

One of the great tips from Megan's blog post was that she and her family ate from the freezer for a while before she began organizing it, so it could be more emptied out before she began.

She did it before, but I know many readers have been inspired to eat out of their pantries and freezers for a few more meals after they went through the organization process too. I think either works great!

Stackable Baskets Are The Best For Chest Freezers:

If you don't use any type of storage containers when filling your freezer you'll quickly have a jumbled mess.

Baskets are perfect because they keep like items with like, keep things from spreading out over more space than they should take, and allow stacking.

Stacking is important because you want to be able to easily lift the baskets out to move that stuff out of the way to get something lower down when you need it, and then easily lay the baskets back to put everything away.

Create An Inventory Map:

One of the reasons it is so challenging to organize this type of appliance is because you cannot see everything you've got in there at once.

Instead, some baskets of frozen food are a layer or two deep within the chest.

That means just knowing you've got chicken somewhere in there is not good enough.

A freezer inventory map shows what you've got on hand, but also where in the chest it is -- the right, left, bottom layer, middle layer, top layer, etc.

Megan made a map, and I love how she did it -- because it is changeable and erasable since she used a white board.

This is important with any type of inventory because it is always going to be changing as you buy new things and eat others.

Not only does she know where each basket is in her chest freezer now, but she also can add and subtract from the list as she goes, so she's got a freezer inventory form at the same time.

Here's another organized chest freezer using baskets and bins in action, shown by another reader, Karen.

Organized chest freezer using baskets and bins {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

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Organization Of Chest Freezer: They Hold A Lot

by Pauline
(Millmerran, Queensland, Australia)

Chest freezer after

Chest freezer after

Pauline shared these pictures of how she organized two different freezers in her home, and actually combined everything into her chest freezer in the process.

Wow, Pauline, you really worked hard, didn't you?

I note that your "after" pictures for your fridge freezer is completely empty. Hopefully you've started filling that back up by now.

It is interesting that actually freezers, I've learned, work better when they have things in them (whereas packing a refrigerator too tightly will make it not work as optimally).

I like your use of freezer baskets. These can really be helpful in getting things organized, such as separating the various types of meats or other frozen foods, such as produce and fruits.

Below is another photo, this one sent in by a reader, Lee, who also used containers to organize her freezer. She said, "Chest freezers are so much cheaper to run. I took out the dividers and went with containers."

Using containers to organize your chest freezer (featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

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Use Milk Crates As Stackable Baskets For Chest Freezer

A reader, Dianne, wrote in to give this tip. She said, "My husband and I use milk crates to organize our chest freezer.

We have been doing this for years. The crates stack neatly, are very strong, and are easily removed.

Each crate has its own meat. Beef, Chicken, Pork, and Fish.

Vegetables also have a crate.

Here's a photo from another reader, Vickey, showing a similar way she organizes her. She explained, "Used stackable plastic filing bins sold at Staples and flour bags for the wild game roasts."

Organizing a chest freezer with stackable plastic filing bins {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

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Organizing With Reusable Grocery Bags

Organize your chest freezer with reusable grocery bags, making it easy to lift out the bags as you need to retrieve something specific from inside {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

While many people love baskets and containers inside their chest freezer, I've also gotten several tips from readers who love to put their food into reusable grocery bags.

They can place different categories of food into each bag and then it is easy to lift the bags out by the handles when you need to get to one particular thing inside your freezer.

Above is an example of this organizational method shown by a reader, Michelle. She explained, "I mainly use our chest freezer for meats. I separated them in reusable grocery bags - one for each - chicken, pork, beef & fish. We also keep ice cream in there on the short side."

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Refrigerator & Chest Freezer Organization Before & After Pics



Amy from Amy's Corner shared before and after pictures for this challenge, which you can see above.

She says: "So I have completed the next phase of kitchen declutter - fridge and freezer.

using Food Saver vacuum sealer to organize freezer
I want to thank my entire family for not only their efforts to clean out the deep freeze but their efforts to keep the fridge organized all week.

WOW! We had a lot of nasty food: old meat from deer, fish, and turkey, things that I couldn't even decipher their origins, corn from our garden in 2007.

It was scary. That is what you get when you put an entire bag from Walmart in the freezer at one time instead of sorting through it.

Believe it or not I once found a bag of candles in the freezer. Anyway, I feel so much better now that I know what is in the freezer."

In addition, here's another before and after set of photos from another reader, Sarah. She said, "Before and after photo's of our chest freezer. Thanks for the inspiration. I used multiple sized baskets to organize the deep freeze and should be better than the system I had, pulling out one thing at a time and digging through the cold mess! Fingers crossed it sticks."

Before and after of a chest freezer organization project {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Are You Inspired To Get Organized Now?

organized home challenge
I hope these before and after pictures gave you ideas for how to organize this object in your home.

If you've gotten inspired to organize though, not just your freezer but your whole kitchen, or maybe your whole house, I would love it if you'd join the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge.

Over the course of the year we organize your entire home, room by room, item by item, developing good habits and consistency along the way.

And once you've organized this large appliance make sure to send me your before and after photos here and I'll add the best ones to the hall of fame.

Practical real life ideas and solutions for how to organize your chest freezer {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Some links on this page are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase a product through them I receive a small commission which helps me provide this information to you for free, plus support my family. My integrity and your satisfaction are very important to me so I only recommend products I would purchase myself, and that I believe would benefit you. To learn more please see my disclosure statement.

Related Pages You May Enjoy

Getting Clutter Free 15 Minutes At A Time Hall Of Fame

Freezer Storage Times Guidelines {Printable Cheat Sheet}

Go From Organizing A Chest Freezer To Home Page

Comments for Refrigerator & Chest Freezer Organization Before & After Pics

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Type of basket for chest freezer
by: Andrea

I'm wondering what type of basket people have found to be the best for chest freezers. I looked online at several that claim to be "stackable" and reviewers say that they don't actually stack, but fit inside one another. I'm wondering what works the best. Thanks!

use cheap ones
by: Ginni

I use dollar store ones. Then if they break I don't feel bad.

don't like chest freezers for this reason
by: Jackie

I hate chest freezers. With the volume we have there is NO organization, especially when you're loading just brought home freezer items and trying NOT to hold the stupid door open too long. Only my husband has patience (barely) enough for this!

My husband does it
by: Cassie

We have a five cubic ft chest freezer and a thirty cubic ft upright. Not counting our refrigerator freezers. In the chest he puts bulky items, suck as turkeys, hams etc. In the upright we put stackable freezer items. He is currently trying to find a better way to organize the upright. The dollar tree baskets I will pass along to him. He is thinking about doing wood dividers.

Thrifty organization - cardboard boxes
by: Nancy Baltensperger

We have raised our own meat, fruit and vegetables for 40 years. Usually have 2 large chest freezers pretty full. I have used cardboard boxes to organize the bottoms of my freezers for years. Cheap and works - can replace when need of size changes. I use the original sliding baskets on top. No clutter and everything is accessible.

how we organize with 1/2 a beef each year
by: Susan

We get a 1/2 a beef every year for Christmas from my parents, so keeping it organized is a MUST! While I inventory when we get our meat and again halfway through the year, we also have a garden to harvest and preserve, and other things we buy during the year. I sort my beef, hamburger on one side and other cuts on the other. Any misc. goes in the middle. I store bags of produce from the garden inside 2 gal. ziplocs. My inventory sheet is updated periodically and hangs with a magnet and ink pen to mark when something is removed!

reusable shopping bags
by: Anonymous

I have 5 chest freezers and one upright. I use reusable shopping bags from the dollar General store to organize my freezers. I like them because as they are emptied they collapse down and only take up as much room as is needed for the contents. They also don't hold more than I can easily lift.

chest v.s. upright
by: Elizabeth

I understand the organization dilemma for chest but if you have ever lost power you understand that chest holds cold temp longer than upright and all that time and money stored in there is worth the hassle.

opening and closing a chest freezer
by: Rhonda

My Dad ran a hook from the roof and then my mom could hook the lid up while she loads in a big Shop of frozen supplies.
A weight on the lid keeps my kids from not closing our chest freezer properly.

I use recycle baskets
by: Anonymous

I use recycle baskets they stack and hold a lot of items I have a chest freezer with 4 baskets.

Take pictures!!!
by: Sheri

Every time I defrost my freezer (which I do every 3 months), I take pictures of each layer/section as I strategically put stuff back in. I put the newest stuff at the bottom with oldest at the top so as to prevent any wasted food. This has worked for me for years and I still love my chest freezer :-)

How about reusable grocery bags?
by: Therese Maddux

I wonder if the heavy reusable grocery bags would be good for organizing a chest freezer. They hold lots and are sturdy. The cold shouldn't damage them and they will fit into any size. A red bag could be for ground beef, yellow for chicken, etc. Post a guide to the color code on the top of the freezer and anyone can easily retrieve the food they are looking for it with ease.

How I sort my meat
by: April

I sort my meat by meat type and keep them in canvas bags. Easy to lift out, and what I see on top is what is in the bag. Leaves lots of room for more.

to Jackie
by: April

I wouldn't be too concerned with keeping the chest freezer door open for short periods (five minutes, at least), as cold air drops. I've even had mine open for at least ten minutes during hot summer months, and had no frost buildup. That's why chest freezers are better for keeping things cold. Stand up freezers lose too much cold when keeping the door open.

how do you go about filling up one of these type freezers?
by: Anonymous

I have a chest type freezer but the only thing in it is a tub of butter. I am new to this, my mom and Grandmas both canned and froze foods. Theirs were always packed full. They are gone now and so I need to learn how to do this for myself and my son. Can anyone please tell me how to do this? I'm desperate for ideas on how to fill up a chest type freezer?

Baskets - THANK YOU for the idea
by: Carol M

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for the link to baskets. I've bought four - pork, beef, chicken, vegetables. Perfect. I had looked and looked to find the size to fit a small, chest type freezer but couldn't come up with anything until I saw your post.

filing food with my food saver bags
by: Dustin Johnston

I use a food saver and plastic zip locks. I have a small upright freezer that I freeze everything flat. Then I move them to my chest freezer, and put them in the reusable canvas grocery bags, like a filling drawer. When I need something from the bottom bag, I just lift it out by the handles, flip through the frozen tiles (as we've come to call the bags) pull it out and replace the bag to the bottom of the chest. Bulky items go in the two sliding baskets that came with it.

happy when mine finally gave out
by: Donna

We used to have a huge chest freezer, and I almost fell into it more than once while reaching for something inside. I was so happy when it died! lol

chest freezers better if you lose power
by: Jayne

We live in the northern NJ mountain area where we lose power often, so I put bags of ice in the bottom of my chest freezer.
It limits storage space, but makes it easier to reach items and use/rotate them.

We have lost power for days at a time (the last time, after Hurricane Sandy), and all the items in my freezer have remained safe and frozen.

wire baskets
by: Margaret

I love the idea of wire baskets. I have used cardboard boxes in the past, but the baskets allow you to see the packages. I also date each package and will try to rotate my stock. This is a ball.

Reusable bags
by: Yabut

Thanks for the idea of using reusable bags to organize the freezer. While I have grouped recent purchases in plastic bags at times, to distinguish them from the older stuff, I've never thought of putting like things in cloth bags. I'll used different colours for different types of meat, and it will be much easier to find what I'm looking for in the future.

Shopping bags
by: Anonymous

Hi, thank you sooooo much for the wonderful idea of using reusable shopping bags for the chest freezer! Me and my husband divided 'veggies & fruit' 'predone meals like lasagna' and the most important one -'meat' Used to be we'd try to figure out what meat we had left by digging....and boy was that a horrible frozen hands job and reaching to the very bottom was so hard on my back! Now when I want to know what is in there we just grab the bag, the handles make it easy to lift or move out of the way to get another bag. BEST idea ever!! No more digging through and not being able to find anything. Went from a 'nightmare!' to an enjoyable venture. Love it! Thanks!!! That idea was a real game changer for us!

Veg rack in the chest freezer
by: Lin

I have found a plastic veg rack that fits the chest freezer perfectly. I can separate different types of meat and veg into different baskets and they are easily accessible. I can put bulky items in the space in the middle and the normal hanging freezer baskets still slot into place as well.

Freezer Organization.
by: Carol

Last year I decided to take every thing I got ready for winter I would freeze in on container. I did up a few things and put them in clear locking dollar store containers. That way you can see inside what you have. I also use by the earliest date on my packs. I plan on doing it again that way & just rotate up to the small refrigerator freezer as I need it.

Zip-lock bags
by: Kim

I freeze a lot of our farm produce, and I think the best tip was mentioned by Dustin above. We freeze everything as flat as possible in zip-lock bags. They stack nicely in a basket, like a file drawer. Also date everything! You think you will remember that these cherries were from 2017, but you won't!

Freezer gloves
by: Anonymous

I keep a pair of gripper palm style gloves near my chest freezer that are exclusively used for our freezer. Also have a piece of closet rod dowel for holding the lid up.

Organizing small chest freezer
by: Anonymous

I used large cool bags you purchased from grocery store to transport food in hot weather. Then separate poultry, seafood, frozen vegetables, and labeled them accordingly for the small chest freezer. When I need something I get the item out the bag. Other small items are stacked on a corner and can be quickly seen.

Easier freezer storage
by: Barb Kehl

I have a 15 cubic foot chest freezer. I have had it many years. As I have aged I find it difficult to bend far enough to reach items in the bottom. I don't need all the space.

I took empty plastic containers of the size that hold several file folders and put them in the bottom of my freezer, which created a higher bottom to my freezer. There is enough clearance that my baskets slide over the items stored below.

Chest freezer. After
by: Sharon

I thawed freezer and organized. Looks more accessible.

Cardboard Boxes on the Bottom
by: Louise Johnson

I must be a twin of Nancy B. We have used cardboard boxes on much of the bottom of our chest freezer for over 45 years. One box has always had chicken parts in Ziploc bags. Baking-related item (frozen pie crust, filo dough, almonds) on the shelf made by the motor. Jarred soup and pasta sauce in the left front bottom, lemon juice cubes on the left back bottom, meats and little items in the upper left basket, fruits and vegetables in the right basket, Hot Pockets and ice cream in the center with extra large bags of anything. Open bags of anything, leftovers, and one carton of each flavor of ice cream that we have belong in our refrigerator freezer in the kitchen. Sometimes things get a bit mixed up after a trip to Costco, but it straightens out pretty quickly as we eat it all!

best chest freezer we ever had
by: Ulla

When we still had a garden we used a freezer with stackable chests which had coloured handles, yellow, green, red, blue ones - two of each colour. AND we had magnetized, cleanable cards for each chest which we stuck in the lid, exactly above the chests. THAT was the best chest freezer we ever had!

Small freezer, no room for baskets
by: Anonymous

I have an apartment sized chest freezer. It came with 1 wire basket. As I keep this unit very full I didn't have room for the 2nd basket offered by my MiL. I use shopping bags to organize. These are plasticised bags, about 12" tall and I use them to store types of meat separately and bags of frozen veg. No more pulling out chicken thighs instead of pork. I put items like bread at the top and small items like frozen herbs, butter and cheese (yup I freeze some for crumbling) in the basket. I put small packages like hot dogs, nuts, or tupperware under the basket which is on top of the motor. My jams are on the very bottom as they are in glass bottles and I don't need to access them often. I have to remember to put pizza and bacon in first or they don't fit. The only real problem is I'm the marketer and Hubby is the cook so keeping a log is required, but not a habit - yet.

coloured cloth bags to help organize
by: Marjie

I like using coloured cloth bags to help organize my freezer. I use green for vegetables, pink for chicken, blue for fish, purple for pork, brown for beef, red for frozen berries, orange for grated cheese , yellow for perogies and fries, and white for milk and ice.

Chest freezer organizing baskets
by: Diana

I found these baskets that expand to fit my freezer perfectly. I have a 15 cubic foot freezer and couldn't find a way to organize that I liked. I'm not kidding, these things are the best.

Has anyone tried the magnetic white board organizer
by: Bobbie

I saw a comment online about a chest freezer system that uses a magnetic white board to mark on. Has anyone used this?

Freezer bags
by: Priscilla

I make fabric drawstring bags out of 1/2 yard cuts of fabric. They are great for oddly shaped stuff like bags of veggies, anything vacuum sealed etc. Each bag is a different fabric so I know which one to grab, although I also put tags on the drawstring cut from milk cartons.

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