Sunday, June 3, 2012

Maximizing Freezer Space

       One of the most aggravatingly disorganized spaces has been my freezer. It's a small, open freezer in which foods can quickly get piled up and lost. I love utilizing the convenience and savings offered by a well-stocked freezer, but digging through the mass was not helping me in either regard. I needed some kind of an organization system that allowed me to maximize the small space while still providing me access to everything. My solution has involved the addition of a tiered sliding basket unit, cabinet shelf and Freezer Inventory Sheet. 

     Now, everything has a place so I know where to look for what I need. The breakdown is as follows:
     (1) Ice Cube Trays- Ice cube trays take up about half the room of the automatic ice cube maker's bin. In such a small area, that space is too valuable to lose. Ice cube trays are more versatile in that I can freeze several different foods instead of just ice.

     (2) Chicken Stock- Chicken stock is easily made by tossing in some celery, carrots seasonings when boiling a whole chicken. I flat freeze my stock in one cup portions so that I thaw about what I need per use and they stack up nicely when stored.

     (3) Meats & Pre-made Meals- Most of the meats I store regularly are ground beef/turkey (flat frozen in per use bags), shredded cooked chicken (also flat frozen in per use bags), pork chops (after cutting a whole loin into portions). Pre-made meals are typically anything that we didn't quite finish the week it was cooked. For instance, we currently have leftover mackerel patties, meatballs for pasta, and Norwegian meatballs ready to go whenever we need a quick meal option.

     (4) Fruits- We make a couple of trips during the spring & summer to pick our own blueberries, apples, and strawberries. Some of gets used immediately in baked goods or canned, while the rest gets tray frozen. I particularly love putting these frozen berries into smoothies

     (5) Dairy, Sauces, Soups and Breads- If we have any cheeses leftover by the week's end then I'll cut some of it into slices and the rest will get shredded. This way, we can continue to have a variety of cheeses without worries of it going bad. Soups and sauces get frozen flat in bags in per use portions to allow them to stack nicely. The exception is with pesto and salsa which I freeze in ice cube trays because we only use a smaller amount at a time than can be frozen in a bag. I typically don't keep too many finished breads in the freezer. However, I do love keeping bags of tortilla dough balls

     (6) Vegetables- I like to have a variety of frozen vegetables and will typically purchase in the best value size, which is perhaps the main culprit to the piles that tend to arise. I've found that it is easiest on me to actually divide the larger bag into per use portions and store them clustered. When I need it I simply grab the pre-measured bag and add it to whatever I'm cooking. It also keeps the rest of the vegetables in the bag fresher by not being opened and exposed each time that particular vegetable is needed. Along this same line, I dice fresh onion and bell peppers, tray freeze them and then store them in bags. When needed, I just scoop out the portion the dish calls for, which saves me time and dirty dishes from prepping them on the spot. As you can see from the picture, I'm able to get quite a bit of vegetables in that single bin! 
    Last but not least is the Freezer Inventory Sheet that keeps me informed as to what we have and what needs to be purchased before we make our weekly grocery trip. Simply jot down what item is stored under each category when it goes in the freezer. When it's used, then it get's marked down or off and you thereby know if you need to replace it. I currently keep mine on the side of the freezer and use a pencil to record on it. To make it even easier, slip it in a sheet protector and then using a fine tip dry erase marker each time. I've provided the sheet I created and use in the link under the photo. 

Freezer Inventory Sheet
     There are a few different methods of freezing food, some of which have been mentioned above. We'll discuss those further in an upcoming post. 



  1. I totally need to do that! Thanks for sharing! New follower from covered with grace. Love for you to follow back!

    1. Welcome Julie! Glad to have you join! Thanks for sharing your site. I love all the link up opportunities to connect with others :)

  2. I did something very similar last year!! I've tried keeping a freezer list inventory, but I'm not very good at keeping up with it. Any tips?

    I would love if you linked this up to my Take it on Tuesday blog hop at Romance on a dime!

    1. Using sliding baskets has made a big difference in my ability to see what I've got. I can just pull a bin out and quickly see what I have and what I need. In regard to the inventory sheet, I think the sheet protector and fine tip dry eraser marker would be the easiest way to keep up with it. The markers are magnetic and can attach directly above the sheet if it's stored on the refrigerator. Thanks for sharing the link up! :)

  3. Nice!
    I use a flimsy paper sack to "divide" some of the things in my freezer.. your method is much, much better. I'm going to have to follow suit for sure.

    Thanks for linking up!

  4. This looks great! I'm still working on my freezer...and my biggest problem is those bags of frozen veggies! I think I'll try splitting them into smaller bags soon. Thanks for the great tip!

  5. Whitney...I love what you did and you have motivated me to re-do my freezer. I do keep a dry erase board on the outside of my freezer and add/erase items as they go in and come out. But I wish it were my organized like yours. Maybe this week. :o) Thank you for sharing this at WJIM.

    1. Whitney...I am featuring you this week at WJIM. Glad to be able to share this post and your blog with others. :o)

  6. This is great! I love posts regarding freezer cooking! Thanks so much for linking up and sharing!


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