How to organize your freezer the right way
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If organizing your freezer has felt like a less-fun version of Tetris as of late, you’re not alone. While staying at home becomes the new norm, so is cooking at home, leading to an uptick of grocery purchases. If you’re trying to keep your grocery trips to a minimum, you may be finding yourself gravitating to foods with long shelf lives, including frozen goods.
Unfortunately, freezer real estate isn’t always so available. That’s where key freezer organization comes in. We’ve taught you how to organize your fridge—here’s how to make the most of your freezer space.
Clear out your freezer Credit: Getty Images / hutchyb
Start by tossing any food that's already succumbed to freezer burn.
Before you begin reorganizing, you’ll want to audit what you already have, especially before storing anything else in the freezer. If decluttering in Marie Kondo style helps you, grab two bins and make a “keep” and “toss” pile.
When deciding what to throw away, start by getting rid of freezer-burned foods—a tell-tale sign of freezer burn is when ice crystals begin to form on the food itself. Although freezer-burned food isn’t necessarily unsafe to eat, the taste and quality of the food will be significantly diminshed.
Since cooking at home has never been more convenient, it’s important to remember that not everything you cook will need to be frozen. If it doesn’t need to hit the freezer quite yet, keep it stowed in the fridge to eat sooner rather than later.
Downsize wherever you can Credit: Getty Images / serezniy
Free up unused space by freezing foods flat in bags and stacking them on top of each other.
One of the best ways to downsize your items is by flattening them. You can freeze anything flat, from vegetables to meat, by using a rolling pin or tenderizer to fully spread out your food in the bag before it hits the freezer.
With this strategy, you can stack your items high with ease. Plus, food that’s stored flat can even thaw quicker as well.
Another way to streamline space is by getting rid of any excess packaging, like cardboard boxes. Just be sure to make a note of any cooking instructions or ingredients you’ll need from the box before tossing it.
Use containers to your advantage Credit: Getty Images / artursfoto
Freezer-safe food storage containers and plastic bags can help everything stay organized.
Plastic baggies and reusable food storage containers are essential when it comes to getting organized and saving space.
Something to remember, however, is that containers can actually add extra bulk to a freezer if you’re not using them wisely. For example, a small amount of food, like leftover sauce from dinner, should not be stored in a large container.
To avoid wasting precious space, make sure you have a variety of reusable container sizes. Bonus points for a matching set of containers, like our favorite Pyrex 10-Piece Ultimate Glass Lid Set or our best value Glad Food Storage Containers, since they are designed to stack on top of and next to each other with ease.
Plastic sandwich and gallon bags are a great option for space-saving freezing (especially when you flatten your items).
For a more sustainable option, try freezer-safe reusable sandwich bags, like our best multipurpose pick from Rezip, which work just as great as traditional bags. Plus, there are several reusable bag brands with a dishwasher-safe design, making clean-up a breeze.
Organize it like you would your fridge Credit: Getty Images / Qwart
Even if your freezer is full to the brim, storing like items together can help you keep track of what you have.
Your fridge has a dedicated spot for specific items: Produce goes in this bin, meats go on that shelf. The same mindset should be applied to your freezer, even if it’s a much more confined space.
A great way to make organizational space for frozen food is to create efficient shelving as you would with your fridge. The last thing you want is an avalanche of frozen goods, waiting to come down when you open the door. Take advantage of freezer shelves if they’re already built-in, or invest in a shelf organizer.
Label your items Credit: Getty Images / hedgehog94
Labeling freezer contents by name and date you froze them can help you keep track of your inventory.
Frozen food can keep for a ridiculously long time, so it can be easy to store and forget about food for months on end. However, that isn’t to say your freezer items will never expire—like all food, the items will eventually lose quality and taste over time.
Try to keep track of when you added these items, that way you know what timeframe you’re working with for the food. Writing a date as to when you purchased the food on your plastic bags or meals is an easy way to get a handle on what should stay and what’s ready to go.
Related content feature The 10 best tools to help you meal prep successfully feature Here’s how to cook all the pantry items you stocked up on
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