Growing up, my parents had a chest freezer big enough to hide a family of four! We also had a garden that was the width of our backyard in Mississippi. Whenever there was an overflow of produce, it (the produce) would be prepared for future usage and placed into the freezer. As teenagers we could safely bend over and rotate items in the freezer. Newest items were place on the bottom and older items were brought to the top. With a chest freezer this large this could be quite a feat.
Fast forward many years when I have a family of my own and we decided to get a chest freezer. Albeit much smaller than my parents, it was basically to serve the same purpose. We did have an upright freezer in the garage and it stopped working. So now we have the smaller chest freezer that fits inside the dining room. In the upright freezer, each shelf was designated for something. The chest freezer is like a big ‘toy’ box for food storage. We would open the top and place food in and close the top and all is well. At least that’s what we told ourselves. It was a disaster trying to find anything and to remember when we put it in there. We quickly discover we needed to find away to organize the freezer for sanity and to stop wasting food and time. We settled on two things: vacuum sealing and bins for storage.
Vacuum sealing was easy to adept. Organizing took some time. The bins are not super, strictly organized because they change with the seasons and with whatever celebrations are going on with our family. The freezer is also at risk of disorganization if one of us finds a super deal or sale and go over board in buying something. Once we finally found the bins that would work, it became easier to store, plan and shop because we new exactly what we had at any given time and how old the items were because we date most things.Here is a sneak peek of my freezer while looking for some trout to prepare for dinner …
Here you can see we vacuum sealed and sliced a few bricks of luncheon loaf. Now this item was not so much of a sale as it was one of those products that was no longer sold in our stores here in Virginia. We brought these from Mississippi and enough to last until we could get back there to replenish. In this case you can see they are laying on the top until they freeze solid and then a couple of them will be placed in the refrigerator freezer and the rest will be placed in the same bin. There are actually four bins in the freezer. One bottom bin has chicken and pork; the other has beef and fish. There is a shelf on the side under the basket which contains frozen fruits and treats. The basket has quick items. The bins actually came from The Container Store and are actually Recycling bins. So not super organized but it does make things a lot easier for us!🙃 The trout is in the bottom bin next to the basket side.
There is no right or wrong way. It is whatever will systematically work for your family. My goals were to be able to find and identify things as well as reduce waste and optimize storage.