If there’s an avalanche of food spilling out of the freezer compartment of your refrigerator every time you open it, or if stuff is buried so deep in your chest freezer that you’ve stopped even trying to search for things, it’s time to get your freezer situation under control!
When your freezer is not organized into an efficient, usable space, you’re likely to allow the following to happen:
• You’ll buy groceries you don’t need, forgetting that you have plenty of chicken buried in the freezer.
• You’ll be less likely to use your freezer when it’s messy because it’s an unwelcoming environment. (Never mind the fact that you can’t fit anything else in there.)
• You’ll be more likely to have spoiled food on your hands because when your freezer isn’t organized properly, it doesn’t keep things at their optimal temperature and frozen food won’t last as long as it should.
Your freezer is an essential tool and, like with any other tool, in order to get the most out of it, you need to use it properly.
The best way to optimize the space in your freezer—whether you have a chest freezer, upright freezer, or over-under fridge/freezer—is to freeze things flat.
When you freeze pasta sauce, soup, ground meat, hamburger patties, fish fillets, sliced chicken, or prepared-in-advance future dinners, freeze them flat in heavy-duty zipper bags. This way, you can stack those frozen items nicely and neatly. Make it a habit to use a marker to jot down the name of the item and the date it’s been frozen on the front of each bag.
Not only will more things fit in your freezer when flat, but they will also thaw much more quickly. Picture, for example, a bag stuffed with six chicken breasts all stuck together and a bag with those breasts laying flat in a single row. Which do you think will be easier to thaw?
I do this with soup in single servings so that I don’t have to thaw out an entire batch of soup when I know I’ll just end up getting sick of it. Using single serving bags, frozen flat in the freezer, I can easily pop out the flavor I’m in the mood for and quickly thaw it in a bowl of cold water so it’s ready to be heated up for lunch or dinner.
Keep an inventory log near the freezer with a list of items that are in there, crossing items off as you use them. This way, you’ll know when you have six servings of chicken soup on hand, when you’re out of pork chops or when you only have one roast left.
When your freezer is in control, you’ll also be much better equipped to plan meals using what you have on hand.
Your freezer really can save your dinner! One of my favorite Saving Dinner product lines is our freezer menus.
P.S. These freezer bundles are a hot hit! Click here and grab yours right now! Classic or Paleo, you choose!
One quick question. How about things like tubes of hamburger or rolls of something? Do you recommend taking it out of the original packaging and putting it into a bag (laying it flat)?
You could open it up, slice them into patties and lay them flat. But, really, that’s wasteful since it’s already wrapped in plastic. I would leave it in the tube of plastic it’s already wrapped in. Just my two cents!
When I buy a big tube of hamburger, I cook some, then freeze it flat in meal-sized portions. Anything I leave “raw,” yes, I put into a baggie and smoosh flat. It will freeze faster, thaw faster, and pack in the freezer more easily and neatly. The convenience of having meals already half prepped (meat already browned) is worth it to me.
My resistance to this method is all the waste generated by using so many plastic baggies. I’ve been storing my soups/liquids in canning jars, which stack nicely, but for other items, I’m having a hard time organizing. I’d love to hear about more sustainable tips.