How to Organize A Chest Freezer

Have you struggled to maintain some degree of organization in your freezer? Know a certain cut is in there….somewhere? There are a lot of schools of thought on organizing a freezer, and depending on how you think, some might work better for you than others.

Benefits of a well organized freezer:

  • I can send my husband for a certain cut of meat and be reasonably sure he’ll find what I’ve sent him for! That makes for a much less frustrated husband and a much happier wife!

  • No wasted meat because a package slips down into never-never land

  • Fewer emergency trips to the grocery store.

Win!

Half a beef and a small lamb in the back of my van after pick-up from the butcher shop. This needs some organization! Note the tags banded to the bags - you can use the back of these to label your bags!

Half a beef and a small lamb in the back of my van after pick-up from the butcher shop. This needs some organization! Note the tags banded to the bags - you can use the back of these to label your bags!

In the past, I’ve tried to keep a written list of all the cuts as they went into the freezer. For this to work, you (and anyone else that has access to the freezer) must be diligent about keeping record of every packaged removed, even if they are in a hurry and their hands are full. I suggest you tape the list on the lid of the freezer and attach a pencil (pens refuse to write when it is cold, so consider where your freezer is located) to help everyone actually keep record!

Our personal freezer holds beef and lamb as well as fish, chicken, frozen fruit, meat and bone broth, ice cream (don’t tell the kids!) and a few frozen meals for days when everything goes haywire!

I divide my meat by species (lamb, beef, chicken, fish) and then by type of cut (steaks, roasts, ground meat, cuts used for soups/stews). Then I consider how those cuts stack to determine the kind of container needed.

On the bottom of the freezer in plastic milk crates, I put the ground lamb and ground beef. The round packages of ground meat, called chubs, don’t stack well, so the crates contain them and also provide a solid base for the next level.

You can see the beef chubs in the black plastic milk crate with the bags of divided beef cuts stacked above.

You can see the beef chubs in the black plastic milk crate with the bags of divided beef cuts stacked above.

Next, I sorted the packages in reusable cloth shopping bags by the type of cut. The bags are easily picked up for access to the ground beef or lamb below, provide enough structure to keep the meat separated but are flexible enough handle the variable shape of the packages and not take up excess room. Each back can be labeled with a tag that is attached with a safety pin or rubber band.

I used the shallow hanging baskets that came with the freezer to hold the random smaller items such a containers of bone broth, frozen meals, or bags of frozen fruit, and placed those baskets above the bags of meat packages.

This whole process, from emptying out the freezer so I could clean it, to completely having the meat organized and put away, probably took about 30 minutes. It is so easy to find what we need! And there is no extra effort in keeping it organized, so it is staying organized - total WIN!

Tell me, how do you organize your freezer? Just write it in the comments below - I’d love to hear!