How to Organise a Chest Freezer

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By Elizabeth Masterman

Reading Time: 5 minutes

A chest freezer seems like a great way to save time and money – you can stock up while you’re at the supermarket and make the most of any special offers. But it’s all too easy to end up with so much stuff crammed in there that you’ve no idea what you’ve got! We’ve got some great tips to help you keep it organised.

What is the Best Way to Organise a Chest Freezer?

Using storage containers to keep things organised means you can store similar items together, as well as make it easy to lift things out and see what’s at the bottom. Make sure everything is clearly labelled, so you can see what you’ve got and find things quickly.

Why Is It So Hard to Keep a Chest Freezer Organised?

If you’ve never had a chest freezer, it might be hard to imagine how people can end up in a mess. If you are used to an upright freezer with drawers, shelves and compartments, you might be wondering, ‘How hard can it be?’

But most chest freezers don’t come with any built-in storage system, so you may start with the best of intentions, placing items in groups or stacking them together, but before you know it, the freezer is packed full, and you can’t see the bottom anymore!

Why Is It Important to Keep a Chest Freezer Organised?

If you’ve already got a fully-stocked freezer it can seem an overwhelming task to get things organised. But there are lots of reasons to take the time to get this job done.

Introducing a storage system into your freezer will make it easier to keep track of what you’ve got. This means you can avoid overstocking on some things and running out of others.

Knowing exactly what you’ve got can help you with meal planning and when writing your weekly shopping list.

Being able to keep an eye on what you’ve got can also help you avoid spoilage and waste, as you will know what has been in there the longest and what needs to be used up.

Keeping things organised will mean you can find things more quickly, which will save you time but also means the freezer isn’t open for as long.

Every time you open the freezer, warmer air enters the appliance and moisture from the air condenses and freezes, causing a layer of ice to form. Over time this can lead up to a thick layer of ice that needs defrosting.

Having a system can also help you access things more easily. Keeping items grouped in containers means that, even if you want something that’s right at the bottom, you only have to lift a couple of boxes out to get to it, rather than lots of smaller items.

Our Chest Freezer Organisation Hacks

If you already have a chest freezer and you are looking to get organised, then here are the steps you’ll want to take:

Have a Clear Out

start by emptying and defrosting your freezer. Sort through what’s in there. If you’ve not had an organisation system in place, there are likely things in there that are past their best and need getting rid of.

Anything you decide to keep will need to be kept frozen, so ask a friend or neighbour if you can use some freezer space.

If this isn’t possible, use cool boxes, or you could even wrap your items in newspaper and tightly pack them into boxes, then place the boxes in the coolest place you can find.

Defrost

When the freezer is empty, carefully use a hairdryer to help remove any residual ice, then dry down the inside with an old towel.

Make sure the inside of the freezer is clear of debris. A hoover can be useful for clearing up breadcrumbs and rogue peas. You can also use a cloth and antibacterial spray to clean the surfaces.

Measure

Now the freezer is empty and clean, measure up the inside of the appliance so you know what size storage containers you need. If you haven’t already obtained these, place your frozen items back inside the unit and you can come back to this job later.

Once you’ve obtained your storage containers, decide what you are going to put in each one. You could have a box for frozen vegetables, one for desserts and ice creams, one for uncooked meat, one for liquids such as soups and one for ready-cooked meals.

Make sure each container is clearly labelled. You could do this with a label maker or use a freezer-resistant pen, such as a Sharpie. 

Box Up

Place all your items into your containers, then decide how best to arrange them inside the freezer.

Put the containers of items you will use least often towards the bottom, with things you will frequently need at the top. If you can, keep the centre of the appliance clear so you can see and reach the bottom.

Frozen Vegetables in Storage Boxes

Keep an Inventory

It’s a good idea to keep an inventory of what’s in your freezer and when you put it in there, either on a whiteboard or notepad that you keep near the freezer or on an app on your phone.

If your freezer is particularly large it might be worth sketching a plan of what is where.

What is the Best Way to Separate Food in a Chest Freezer?

There are lots of options when it comes to containers to use inside your chest freezer. Many different sorts of purpose-built storage containers are available to purchase online, including wire baskets and plastic containers, as well as adjustable dividers.

However, there are plenty of low-cost alternatives. Various types and sizes of plastic crates are available inexpensively, both online and in many high street stores.

Bags for life are another low-cost option, and these have the bonus of handles to help you lift items in and out. You could even use cardboard boxes.

How Full Should You Fill a Chest Freezer?

The guidance for how much to put in your freezer is the same for a chest freezer as for other types of freezers. You should aim to keep your freezer 70-85% full.

The frozen items inside your freezer help it to maintain its cold temperature. If your stock is running low, fill empty water or milk bottles to fill the space. Equally, don’t overfill your freezer. Air needs to be able to circulate to enable your freezer to run efficiently.

A freezer is an expensive item to run in your home. If you fail to fill it efficiently, it’ll cost you more money.

If you have more questions about keeping a chest freezer organised then check out these FAQs:

Are Chest Freezers Cheaper to Run?

Generally, chest freezers are cheaper to run versus upright freezers but this will come down to their energy rating, size and age.

What are the Disadvantages of Chest Freezers?

The main issue with chest freezers is their size. You’ll need a large area to store the freezer but will also need enough room to open the lid. This is why they are often used in outbuildings and garages.

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