How to Organize A Freezer
The holidays are rapidly approaching, and this tends to bring with it a lot of stress about what to do: what to clean, presents to start buying, how to deal with your least-favorite relatives, and so on.
Among these stresses that people tend to encounter (and justifiably so) are “how am I going to handle dinner?” Are you the sort that likes to host big holiday dinners at your house so you’re in charge of the menu and the preparation? This all sounds fun at first until you start heading to the store for ingredients and realizing you have nowhere to put it all.
While there’s a lot that can be done to handle this, one part that tends to get overlooked is the freezer. Whether your freezer is attached to your fridge, freestanding out in the garage, or even just a small icebox farther in the kitchen, these things can run out of space pretty fast, especially when they’re all full of ham, turkey, and frozen sides for the holidays.
Want to avoid the pain of an overstuffed freezer? Read on!
Label everything: We do mean ‘everything’. No matter what it is, no matter how easily identifiable it is from the outside, no matter if it’s still shrink-wrapped from the store or crammed into a Ziploc bag, make sure everything is labeled. Hand-written Sharpie names on the bag itself are fine, but if you’re feeling adventurous you might want to print out some ingredient and recipe cards to put on the side of everything to keep it easily identified and close-at-hand.
Throw out what doesn’t need to be saved: It’s a gross and thankless job, but sometimes things are in the freezer that…maybe don’t need to be stored anymore. Take a look at anything that you’ve had forever that you’re never going to eat, has sailed past its expiration date, or both, and prepare to part ways with it.
Bring in some extra storage: Your freezer already probably has a lot of shelves and drawers already, but adding extra storage can help keep everything even tidier than it was. If you have the room in a bigger stand-up freezer or icebox, try adding some plastic storage bins (also labeled, so you remember which one the sweet potato fries are in), or repurpose some kitchen cabinet organizers to hold onto frozen things and keep them easier to get to.
Make a thawing station: A lot of things need to be thawed before serving or cooking, but in many cases the garage or basement isn’t the best place for this. What we suggest is to get a refrigerator stand with a mini fridge and a work surface on top. The fridge can store anything that needs to be thawed out in a refrigerator (as opposed to just sitting on the counter for a few hours), and the work surface above the stand can hold those items that don’t need to be refrigerated until they’re all ready to go.
Organize by type and category: Finally, when the freezer is all equipped and ready to go, start grouping everything together by what it is and/or when you’ll be using it. Put sauces in one bin, meats in another, vegetables down in the drawer where they belong, and desserts away from everything else (to prevent being tempted, of course).
Hopefully with these tips your freezer will have enough space for all the Thanksgiving and holiday meals you could ever dream of making!