HomeKitchenHow To Organise Your Freezer: 13 Space-Saving Hacks

How To Organise Your Freezer: 13 Space-Saving Hacks

Organising your freezer is one of those household tasks that make you feel like a proper adult. While it can be tedious while in progress, and while you may find yourself stunned by the amount of expired items you’ve uncovered (or the amount of ice), it leaves you with a feeling of total satisfaction afterwards. 

Until you have to do it all again that is. 

Here to help you achieve that delightful feeling of getting something done is my tried and tested list of 13 freezer organising hacks. Let me know which ones you try!

The Basics Of Freezer Organisation

Here’s a bit of a TL;DR for you, in case you would just like to get at the essentials and not bother with any of the specifics or any more in-depth advice:

  • Old goes in the back, new goes to the front: items that should be eaten first should be at the front of the freezer. Or at the top, if you have a chest freezer. Within easy reach in any case. 
  • Keep a running freezer inventory and shopping list that can easily be accessed by every member of the household. 
  • Label everything: when was it frozen, when was it opened, what’s inside, etc. 
  • Freeze things in the amount you will be using it. Single-serve portions often work best. 
  • Get rid of any boxes or other packaging as often as possible. It will just take up space. 
  • Freeze things flat in a bag whenever you can, then sort the bags vertically to save space.

And now let’s dive a bit deeper into the best ways to organise your freezer: 

Start With a Clean Slate 

When you decide to tackle freezer organisation, start by taking all of your items out and defrosting it. Since this is something you should do on a regular basis, it’s also a great time to reorganise your frozen foods. 

By removing all ice buildup and making the freezer nice and clean, you’ll enjoy the finished results more. Plus, it will be easier to fit things and you won’t get annoyed by the ice or any potential smells

Take a Detailed Inventory 

We all end up buying things we already had in the freezer, just because they were buried somewhere deep in the back and we had no idea they were still there. 

To save waste and cut down on your expenses, write down everything that is currently housed in your freezer. Ideally, you want to stick the list to your freezer. You can use pen and paper, or a white or chalkboard, which will make it easier to edit your list. We have this whiteboard on our fridge, as well as this meal planner which I absolutely love. I try to switch out the design with every season. 

You can also keep a digital list and share it with the entire household, if you prefer to have access to it at all times. My daughter’s family uses AnyList, and it works very well. She shares access for birthdays and Christmas, so we’ve tried it too. 

Write down what each item is, how much of it there is, and when it’ll expire. If you’ve frozen freshly-bought meat, for example, google how long it can remain in the freezer. The same goes for all homemade meals. 

You can even make a note of where in the freezer the item can be found. This can come in handy when you have a large chest freezer and want the rest of the household to know where they can find their favourite ice cream. 

Update your list every time you eat something or put anything in the freezer. It will take a bit of getting used to, but it does help immensely. 

Label Everything 

Every container in your freezer, be it a bag or a tupperware container, needs to be clearly labelled. You need to at a glance be able to tell what’s inside, when you’ve frozen it, and how much of it there is. 

I like to write notes like “1 portion of Tom’s lasagna, spicy, frozen on 15.09.2023.”. This helps save time when rummaging around in the freezer, as I know exactly which one of us will prefer which meal. 

I also prefer to buy clear labels, like these ones. You can of course buy them with pre-written templates, like these ones, but I like to write my own types of notes on a blank slate. 

If you’ve taken an item out of its cardboard box and thrown the box out, you can label this too, to avoid any potential confusion. 

Put Your Most-Used Items Within Easy Reach 

When placing items in the freezer, consider how often you use them. Everything you reach for often should be within easy reach. You don’t want to dig around to get to a packet of frozen fruit if you make smoothies every day. 

This hack will also help you keep your freezer organised for longer, as you won’t keep messing everything up every time you can’t find something.

It’s also worth talking the household through where things are, labelling shelves and baskets, and in general making a team effort to stick to the system you are putting in place. 

Put Everything That Expires Soon To The Front 

On a similar note, you also want everything that is about to expire to be the first thing you notice when you open the freezer. If you have a couple of items in there that you don’t make often, move them to the forefront where you’ll spot them and remember to eat them on time. 

If you have a lot of the same kind of item, apply the same principle. Items with a longer expiration date should be placed to the back. When you buy a fresh item, make sure it goes behind an older item of the same variety. 

Carefully Select Bins and Containers 

When choosing what to store items in the freezer in, make the choice count. Buy bins or baskets that fit perfectly into your drawers or freezer compartments. You don’t want to waste an inch of space. 

Consider how you want to categorise your items. How many separate compartments will you need? How big does each one need to be? Don’t buy any storage container or drawer organiser randomly. Tailor it to your specific food separation needs. Grab a tape measure and figure out your specific needs. 

Place each drawer, bin or compartment where it makes the most sense – what you use most often and what needs to be spent soon to the forefront, everything else to the back. Or, everything that you use often at the top, and everything else below. 

Create Zones in Your Freezer

When buying said drawers, organisers and containers, you can also think about creating specific zones in your freezer. This will help you stay organised in the long run, and help you at a glance tell what you are running low on. 

For example, you can have a zone for meat and fish, another one for sweets and ice cream, a third one for veggies and fruits. 

Depending on the size of your freezer, this may be more or less doable, and you may need to merge some of your zones. 

You can also organise zones based on usage frequency, for smaller or larger items, and any other way that makes sense for your household. 

Use Clear Containers With Clear Tops 

While we’re on the subject, try to get freezer containers that are made of a clear material, with clear tops. This will make it easier to judge what’s in them, in case you forget or can’t be bothered to label what’s in them. It will make the washing up better too, as you’ll see all the stains. 

I personally love these ones. They come in two sizes, and they are rectangular, so can easily be stacked in the freezer. I also have some of these ones, which come in a variety of sizes. The small ones are great for stray small portions you often wound up with and don’t know what to do with.  

Freeze Smaller Portions

In order to save space, try freezing smaller portions. This will get rid of all the oversized bags and containers. 

Ideally, you want each of them to contain one portion for one person. You can then defrost two containers or bags if there are two people eating. This will also save you the waste of defrosting a large container when you only want to feed yourself. 

Lose The Boxes 

Everything that has come in a box but that also happens to be individually packaged should be removed from the box. This applies most notably to ice cream. 

Instead of trying to cram the cardboard box in the freezer, simply throw all the individual items in the same drawer or freezer bin. You can even use a freezer bag to keep similar items together. 

Freeze Things Flat 

One of the best ways to save space in your freezer is to freeze individual bags flat. Just put your food in a freezer bag, lie it flat, and let it freeze. You can then move it to the right bin, or even better, store it vertically.

The best freezer bags I’ve found are from IKEA, but you can also find them on Amazon. They wash well, I’ve yet to break one, and they are great for vertical storage.  

Store Bags Vertically 

One of the best freezer organisation hacks I have ever come across is storing flat bags vertically. It will literally change the way you look at your freezer. 

When things are piled on top of each other, you need to rummage around until you find what you are looking for, unless it’s right at the top and at the front. Things are likely to spill out or get disorganised this way.

When you store freezer bags vertically, i.e. like books on a shelf, you can just pull out what you need. If you also stick a label on the edge of this bag, you’ll know what is what at a glance. 

You can throw in the necessary separators to help you differentiate between freezer zones for further organisation points. 

Hang Bags From Shelves 

If your freezer happens to have wire shelves or wire baskets, you can use clips to hang your freezer bags from them. This will save you a bit more space. 

This works well in chest freezers, but you may prefer to stick to baskets and boxes. 

Now let me also give you some tips for organising different types of freezers. 

The Best Ways To Organise A Top Freezer 

If you have a freezer on the top of your fridge, you are probably dealing with very little space. Not much to organise, is there? However, here’s how you can make the most of this space:

  • If you have a door with shelves in your top freezer, don’t put anything that is liable to melt there. It’s fine for packets of ice or ice cubes, but not good for ice cream or anything else in fact. Remember that leaving the freezer door open quite quickly leads to an increase in temperature, and every time you open it, whatever is nearest to the warm air will suffer the most. 
  • Put your ice cream on the top shelf, alongside anything that is not likely to drip. You don’t want to make a mess on the bottom shelf if a pack of frozen strawberries starts to melt and leak. 
  • Everything else can go on the bottom shelf. 
  • You can try adding a couple of bins to the freezer, but this will ultimately be a judgement call. You may find they cause more clutter than is worth your while, and decide to go for storage containers and freezer bags. 

The Best Ways To Organise A Bottom Freezer 

A bottom freezer is perhaps the least accessible and toughest to organise. However, if you establish a clear system and stick to it, you’ll soon find there is plenty of space in there after all. Here’s what you can do:

  • If the top shelf is narrower than the others, you can throw all of your randoms in here. The odd single-serve ice cream, your herbs and ice cubes, and anything else that is small and easy to fetch.
  • If you have one main drawer, you will need to create clear zones. Use dividers or bins to designate a space for each type of food. If you have two drawers, like our old fridge/freezer used to have, you can section them into fruits+veggies/meats+fish, or in any other way, depending on what you tend to store the most of. 
  • Make sure to get rid of any packaging that will just take up space. If you’re not sure how to prepare something once you throw away the box, take a screenshot and name it clearly. Then label the item using the same name to avoid later confusion. 
  • Try to freeze everything flat to make smaller piles. 

The Best Ways To Organise a Side Freezer 

If you have your freezer on the left and fridge on the right, you may be dealing with some narrow shelves. Unless of course you have an American-style freezer, which can be quite big and spacious. Here are some tips for organising this kind of freezer:

  • You can use the top shelf to store items you rarely use. Make sure you keep checking what’s up there though, to avoid waste.
  • Use the middle shelves to store everything you reach for most often. This will be the first thing you see when you open the freezer door, and it will also be the easiest to stock. 
  • Your fruits and veggies will best be stored on the next-to-bottom shelf. It’s sufficiently cold here, and they will be within easy reach. 
  • The bottom shelf is ideal for meat and fish. This is the coldest place in your freezer, and is thus best suited to your most perishable items. You can also put anything that is likely to spill here. 
  • The best way to organise this type of freezer is to store things vertically. You’ll have more space that way, and it will be easy to just grab whatever you need, especially if you clearly label everything with a nifty label in the top corner of the bag. 
  • You can label the shelves too, especially if you live in a large household and can’t rely on everyone to remember how the freezer is supposed to be stocked. 

The Best Ways To Organise A Standing Freezer 

If you have a large standing freezer, you can practically go to town with the amount of frozen items you buy. It will also be fairly easy to organise:

  • Your top shelf is great for any items you don’t often reach for. It’s also a good place for pizza. 
  • The middle shelves are great for fruits and veggies, as well as for anything homemade that you have frozen. 
  • The bottom shelf is great for meats and fish. 
  • This kind of freezer can significantly benefit from containers or bins. You should also try to label the shelves, so everyone knows what can be found where. 

The Best Ways To Organise a Chest Freezer 

A chest freezer can seem like nothing more than one big box. However, when you throw in some baskets and boxes, it can become a neatly stacked and stocked heaven. Here’s what you can do:

  • While the freezer will probably come with its own baskets, you may want to buy your own, ones that will fit your needs better. 
  • First consider what you want to store on the bottom. All large packages can go here, so anything you buy in bulk can safely live here. You can place one item within easy reach, and have a neat stockpile below.
  • Once you know how much space you need in the bottom portion of the chest freezer, buy baskets that will fit above. 
  • Label each basket clearly, to prevent things from ending up just about anywhere. 
  • You can still freeze items flat and create neat upright rows of freezer bags in your baskets. 
  • Make sure you regularly update your inventory list. It’s very easy to lose track of an item in a chest freezer, and you don’t want to run out of one thing but have too much of another. 

Wrapping Up 

How do you organise your freezer? I would love to hear your tips and tricks! Hopefully some of mine will help you save space and make you smile when you are greeted with nothing but order when you open the freezer door. 


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