Organization in the Real Food Kitchen: Knowing and Using What's in Your Freezer

Organization in the Real Food Kitchen: Knowing and Using What’s in Your Freezer

Today’s post is written by my friend Nola, who happens to currently have a more organized freezer than I do! I asked for tips for freezer organization a while back and Nola had sent me enough good stuff to make an entire post of it. I’ve added a few little notes of my own as well.

It just didn’t seem right to explore the way that we organize our “real food” and not take a look at the beloved spaces that we use to store our sides of grass-fed beef, our seasonally picked berries, our jars of extra bone broth and all those other wonderful things that help to keep such nourishing food affordable. May you be inspired, and may your freezer be (or become) organized…

1. If you use it often, keep it close

I have 3 freezers (fridge one and two in the basement) so I organize my freezers but which items go in them.
Upstairs are things that get used often. The small freezer is just meats and freezer meals, homemade stocks, things like that. My large freezer is just veggies and fruits.

2. Create a freezer inventory list


For freezer bulk storage, I have set up a really good freezer system. I made lists alphabetically of the contents, leaving room for additions later. I then listed those things and taped it to the freezer doors, with a pen.

Beside each item is two columns: one for last year and one for this year, so I can see what I have and what needs using first. Then I put x’s for each item in there. When an item is taken out, the x gets circled. When an item is added, an x gets added.
Stephanie’s note: I’ve done this before, and it was invaluable to know exactly what was in my freezer at a glance.

3. Use boxes, baskets and bags to organize your deep freeze

I organize within the freezers using the baskets that come with it if I have enough room, though sometimes I have to remove them.

Instead, I have found bags to be useful to put the like with like items into. Grocery bags work okay for this, but I often have very few since I use cloth bags, and they do rip easily in the freezer. The store bought cloth bags that are a more rigid, “plastic” style will somewhat stand up on their own and they are extremely useful for sorting items in the freezer.

full freezer
Stephanie’s note: I also found that using various boxes, baskets, etc. made it a little easier to navigate. I could quickly lift out one box to access what was under it then just put the one box back in again, without having to juggle 7 different items that I had moved.

The photo above was a bad example, but usually I had a box in that center area. My taking that one large item out, suddenly I could move around my two side baskets and access everything in the middle of my freezer as well. I am now blessed to have a stand-up deep freeze. If you are ever offered one or find one for a deal, snag it!

4. Map out your freezer


I also do a type of freezer “mapping” (what I call it). It basically shows a map of the space of my freezer set up into compartments so that I know what is where, or at least have a general idea.

Stephanie’s note: So clever!

Nola is the mother of two girls, ages 4 and 1. She enjoys “wearing” her baby around her home, while hanging out clothes, going on walks, grocery shopping, and hiking with her family! She also serves as “Global Moderator Extraordinaire” in the Keeper of the Home community forum, so the next time you’re in there, be sure to say hi to her!

How is your freezer organization these days? What other tips and tricks do you use to make sure that you know and use what’s in your freezer?

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  1. WOW! I am so jealous you have three freezers. We have just the one in our upright refrigerator and it is so small! It’s a side by side. We are looking into getting a better one for our basement.

  2. Love the map idea! I’ve been intending to organize my freezer for, oh, two years now and just haven’t done it.
    .-= Wendy (The Local Cook)´s last blog ..Baked Oatmeal =-.

  3. I currently use a report cover folder with inside pockets. I staple a list of what’s in my freezer on the front broken down by meat category. Under each category I include a recipe I could use and place that recipe inside the folder for easy reference. I need to update it about every 2 months or so. This works well when you’re trying to quickly decide what to make for dinner and what you have on hand.

    I love the map idea above and will use this too. Have I told you lately how much I love your site :o)

  4. Great post! I only have the freezer space above my refrigerator and if I want to do any amount of stockpiling or freezer cooking, I have to be super organized. I just keep a note pad that has a magnetic strip on the back on my fridge door where I list everything I have and then cross it off as I use it. It’s a rather simplistic method but for now it works since I only have the one freezer.

    I also have a plastic box that is the perfect size for ziploc bags with soup, beans, etc and try to keep like things together: meats, bread, leftovers/cooked foods, fruits & veggies. It’s truly amazing how much you can fit into a small space if you organize it well!
    .-= Emily´s last blog ..A Letter to My Boy =-.

  5. I just have the freezer above my fridge at this point. I keep a freezer inventory, but I don’t always remember to check things off when I use them. To compensate for this, I put updating my freezer inventory on my to-do list every two weeks on grocery shopping day.
    .-= Jessie´s last blog ..… Wedded To … =-.

  6. I only have one freezer… the one in my kitchen. It is small, so now that my family and are on this real food adventure, space is definitely valuabe. I have a storage crate that I use to store smaller meat products and pieces of fish caught by a family friend that are in individual packages. This keeps all the small items contained and keeps them from skating around the freezer. I used to freeze soups and stocks in ziplock freezer bags but I recently learned how to use my pressure canner, so those items will now live in my pantry (which has more space to spare). This was a great post. I plan to inventory my freezer and try this method too. Thanks!
    .-= Lindsay Burden´s last blog ..The Babies Are Here! =-.

  7. I only have my one kitchen freezer, too, but I’ve been wanting that garage freezer for so long! My mom offered to give us one for my son’s first birthday, but we don’t have the room yet. I love these plans, though. I read a tip in a magazine about freezing soups flat and then “filing” them in a plastic storage box in the freezer. Very easy and organized.

  8. I too have 3 freezers. My basement freezers are my storage freezers. Then each week when I make my meal plan, I bring up all the frozen food to the upstairs freezer (it’s the small fridge/freezer combo). That way I have everything nearby. I also just keep important items upstairs that I access often (like icecream, booboo bunnies, or oj concentrate).

  9. Wow!!! That’s amazing organization. I’m impressed. We have a big deep freezer and I should probably do this. It would save me asking my husband to run down to our basement and check for me all the time! 😉

  10. You did a great job with my notes and pictures! Glad I could help you out. Everything sounds true to life except that my oldest is now 4. Just a minor non freezer issue I am smiling writing this. 🙂

    Hope the info helps someone out there!

  11. Oh, all this freezer talk is making me sad! I don’t have an extra freezer. I have the one over my fridge… and we moved a few months ago to a place with an even smaller freezer than our previous place. I’m slowwwwwly saving up for a chest freezer to put in my dining room (smallllll apartment, that’s the only place I can put it… if only I had room for a table and chairs in there too! 🙂 ). It will be a 7 cu ft one until we are in a house…. but I have $45 put toward it so far… saving is a slowwwww process!

    I can’t wait to get my freezer…. I’m an organization freak, so I will probably do something like this with mine. 🙂

  12. Seeing this post just reminds me of how unorganized I am. Although the measures taken in this post may be a bit far, as well.. Anyway, thanks for the detailed post, maybe I’ll try it out!

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