How to Fit twice as much into your freezer.
Organizing week continues!

Flat-soups

 

 

People are always asking me how I get so much done.  Part of it is because doing things is literally my job, but mainly it’s because I’m a doer.  I like to start, do and finish things.  That makes me a doer.  The thinkers among you are way smarter than me, way more insightful, and would probably do a far better job at all of the things I do … if you could ever stop thinking and actually start doing.  But you don’t.

Then there are the starters.  The people who like to start a job to see how it’s going to look or work and once they’ve done just enough to see that … they stop.  These are the people living in homes with one strip of wallpaper on the wall, one refinished floor board and an exercise bra that’s been exercised in exactly once.

But there’s one other small way I get things done.  By taking the time to organize shit.  When I redid my entire house on a whim my whole life got easier. I knew where things were, I knew when I was running out of toilet paper and when someone wanted to borrow a book I could shoot my arm out like a Jack-in-the Box and pull it back with that book in my hand.  This kind of organization takes time, a lot of time, to do, but in the end it saves you even more time.  And it honestly does. It’s not like when people say installing new windows will save you money in the long run.  It won’t.  The long run would have to be 250 years long for you to save the money those windows cost.  You will be warmer in the winter and have a better view of your neighbours fighting though, so it’s still kind of worth it.

When I redid my kitchen I also redid my mudroom, which I’ve never shown you.  What I did was remove the pantry from my old kitchen and dragged it into my mudroom.  My neighbour who helped me pull it out in one piece thought I was crazy.  Maybe I am. But the pantry idea isn’t proof of that.

I then trimmed the pantry in and built some shelves to the left of it and framed them in along with my upright freezer.  Add a door to cover up the freezer, paint everything the same colour and BOOM you have a good lookingish mudroom for barely any money.

Wait. That wasn’t the point of this post at all.  The point of this post was how to get twice as much stuff into your freezer.  O.K.  Let’s talk about that.

 

Pantry-in-Mudroom

 

But before we do take a look to the right and see the one thing that really improved my mudroom. It’s a shoe closet from Ikea.    I’ve wanted it for years now but could never be bothered to actually go to Ikea, drag it off of their warehouse shelf and bring it home.  Just before Christmas I had enough time to do that.  I had enough time because I took the Christmas Pledge by the way.

 

 

Mudroom

 

So now that my mudroom was lookin’ so organized it was time to REALLY organize my freezer.  This is my freezer “before” shot.  I know.  It looks pretty organized already right?

 

Freezer-Before-2

 

But here’s the thing.  Take a look at the photo again.  LOOK at all the empty space.  Everywhere there’s emptiness is a spot that actual food could be stored.  I’d sometimes try to compensate for that by piling food up higher and higher in the containers.  It was always a crapshoot as to whether a falling filet or a bag of perogies would be the thing to break a toe when I opened the freezer.

When I was up to 9 mini-marshmallow sized casts on my toes I started to look for better containers for my freezer.  Ones that would take better advantage of the space and let me fill up the rest of my freezer.  No joke, it took months to find the right sized containers.  And these still aren’t exactly right.  For them to be MOST efficient they should have straight sides so there are no gaps in between them, but I gave up on finding straight containers that were also the right size in terms of width, depth and height.

Behold the Organized Freezer 2.0.

 

freezer

 

Putting all the food into better sized storage containers has done 2 things.  It’s used up almost all of the available space in the freezer, but even more importantly it allows me to see exactly what is in every inch of the freezer.  The containers are clear and they’re labelled.  Anyone who has ever owned a chest freezer knows what happens when you can’t see what’s in your freezer.  7 year old containers of weird gummy goo that used to be ice cream.  That’s what happens.

A disorganized freezer means there is ice cream in this world you are being deprived of eating.

Stop this craziness now.

 

Top-of-freezer

 

Just by using these new containers (which I got on sale for $1.49 each) I’ve increased the amount I can fit into the freezer by almost double.

Add in this next tip and you’ll love your freezer so much friends will think you met on Tinder.  Because Tinder is all about love.

 

FREEZE IT FLAT

flat-soups-2

 

If you can freeze it flat in a baggie, DO IT.  Soups, stews, gravy, sauces, broth … anything that doesn’t have big bones sticking out of it can be frozen flat.  Just pour whatever it is into a baggie, lay it flat in the freezer (putting it on a plate or baking sheets helps keep it really flat) until it’s solid and then stack them.  Freezing everything flat will gain you all kinds of space in your freezer.

Plus it makes things easy to flip through and when it’s time to use it, flat baggies defrost quicker.

That’s really all there is to gaining a ton of space in the abyss you call your freezer.

1.  Store everything in clear containers that use all of the available space in the freezer.

2.  Label the containers so you can find everything easily.

3.  Freeze it flat.

 

Sound good?  Now stop thinking about it and just do it.  (Nike really has something there with that phrase).  And once you start doing it, finish it.  That’s all there is to getting stuff done.

Well that and a little bit of crazy.

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138 Comments

  1. Barbie says:

    I love your mudroom and that ikea shoe thingy….want one now!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Barbie! I wish I had bothered to take a before shot of the mudroom. It was a wreck. A WRECK! I hated looking at the dumb freezer. Framing it in and putting a door on it was the best thing ever. ~ karen

  2. Couldn’t help but notice the massive bucket of clumping cat litter you keep in the bottom of your freezer… Are there uses for this stuff that go beyond the usual? Or is your cat part-snow leopard?

    • Karen says:

      Hah! I was wondering who the first to mention that was going to be. You win. 🙂 The kitty litter bucket just happens to fit the space perfectly. I keep my seafood in there. Salmon, lobster, crab, sole … anything that stinks. It’s all sealed, and then put in the kitty litter bucket. That way there’s no chance of any smells transferring to other foods. ~ karen!

  3. Laura says:

    Ok, I can’t use this post ’cause I’m sans deep freezer even though I’m dying for one… BUT… Why the kitty litter in the freezer?? Does it make it do a magic trick?

    • Karen says:

      Hey laura! You can still use the method with a regular freezer. It’ll make WAY more use of any freezer. Oh! And see my reply to Fiona for why the kitty litter, lol. ~ karen!

  4. Barbara says:

    Thanks for this post! Very helpful and I now know how I’ll be spending next weekend . . . Getting my freezer organized. Awesome job! I do have to ask out of curiosity – what is the cat litter container for? I am sure I won’t be the first to ask this question. 🙂 Love your website and tips! Thanks again!

  5. Cynthia says:

    OK,
    What’s in the clumping cat litter container?

    Those food containers look just like the shoe box containers I found at Bunnings Hardware last week.

    I MUST know the rules for storing cooked stuff. Do you keep pre-cooked meals together in their own container with nothing like dough etc. allowed in with them?

    (I am really showing my analness, but please placate me.)

    If you want even more perfect flatness when putting cooked stuff in baggies. Fill the baggie while holding it up, partially seal, squeeze it a bit to push out the air, lay down flat and squish down with a square plate… before putting in freezer. No lumpiness at all.

    I want to print out labels on my computer now for you, so your freezer is so perfect to look at I could just pee.

    I can remember when I started reading your blog I was insanely envious of your post on organising your upright freezer. I did not have one then. Now I do. A BEKO, my very favourite appliance brand.

    • Karen says:

      I thought of nice, neat printed labels Cynthia, but the stuff in them will be changing too frequently. Especially, obviously the precooked meals. Speaking of which, yes, the precooked meals get containers of their own so I can quickly scan and see what I have if I need some food. Doughs all go together so I can just grab it when I want to make pizza or pie or pasta (all 3 of those doughs are in there). Best thing EVER. ~ karen!

      • amyfaith says:

        I was also thinking about the lables and how they need to change periodically; pulling off the lables makes yucky gummy residue, and putting new lables over the old ones eventually ends up a peeling mess. So it occurred to me that perhaps a dry erase marker (directly on the plastic) would do the trick. Hmmm, I’ll have to give it a try.

      • amyfaith says:

        New thought! The one problem that I had with dry erase markers was that they might not “pop” enough with the darker, varied background of the bin contents, BUT, you could simply put blank lables on the INSIDE of the bin, then the marker would show up just as clearly as if it was written on the lable itself.

  6. Cynthia says:

    You just put that in there to mess with our heads, Karen. Did so!

  7. Valerie says:

    Perfection.

    For sale: hundreds of chest freezers across the world.
    I really want a freezer with a door like yours but they were very expensive at the time I purchased this freezer I have. I realize now that I should have just bitten the bullet and obtained one in spite of the price. Who knows what is at the bottom of my chest freezer? I have pledged to take it all out this weekend and find out. I will keep you posted as to what I discover. I suspect it is either a plastic bag of nail polishes, some type of potato cake things or perogies.

    • Karen says:

      It’s freezer burned perogies. Trust me on this. ~ karen!

    • Maria says:

      Valerie, you can use the same storage system (clear containers); maybe with locking lids so you can easily lift out the top row of ice cream to get to the 2nd row of beef, chicken, dough, etc, the easily put everything back. Tape a ziplock bag on the top so you can easily insert labels as the contents change. Been there and done that, a looooong time ago 🙂

  8. Melanie says:

    Okay, I said NOTHING about the lint roller collection, but…unscented scoopable clumping cat litter? Never mind. I don’t need to know.

    The freezer looks great. Also, I now have to check Ikea to see if they have a picture of the shoe closet opened up. In case it’s what I need to store my ribbon collection.

    You have so much food! Just as well: I heard that Idris has an appetite.

    • Karen says:

      O.K. I won’t tell you about the litter. But if you reallyyyy want to know you can check my answer to Fiona. The shoe case from Ikea would be great for ribbon. The “drawers” tip out. You could put a dowel from one end to the other in it and put your ribbons on it so you can pull and snip without having to even remove the ribbon from the drawer. ~ karen! p.s. I really, really like food.

      • Sue says:

        (The ikea grundtal towel rods/kitchen shelf hanging rods work awesome for ribbon spools, particularly if they’re on the wooden type ones. )

        I don’t know the etiquette on this, iplease edit if this is inappropriate, but there’s another blog I follow (that’s mostly local gardening and cooking) that’s created downloadable freezer inventory printouts (and a bunch of other lists, too) Here’s the page http://www.nwedible.com/downloadables

  9. mia pratt says:

    Oh yes, Karen, organizing my kitchen is like a substitute for sex…I get that warm, glowy feeling every time I finish lining up cans, boxes and jars in perfect rows, row after row, higher and higher until I need a stepstool to reach that last box sitting at the peak of the very top shelf….Er…yeah, I like things organized, too.

  10. Beverley says:

    Hi Karen,
    I’ve been reading and enjoying your great tips for just over a year now. I was born in T.O. but raised in a village called Bond Head, around 100 km north of Toronto, ever heard of it? Now I’m in warmer climes residing in Duncan, Vancouver Island. Anyway, just curious to know what size is your upright freezer. Cheers, Beverley

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beverley! Nope. I’ve never heard of Bond Head. Which is odd because with all the shows I’ve hosted I thought I’d been to almost every small town in Ontario! This is my upright freezer … http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/newfangled-peas-carrots For some reason someone has only given it one star. I have no idea why. The only ick thing about it is the fact that you have to defrost it. Bleh. ~ karen!

    • Susan says:

      Just had to drop in and tell you that I’m on the opposite coast and I’ve definitely heard of Bond Head! My parents avoided major highways like the plague and for years and years we travelled through Bond Head on our way to the Severn River cottage. And, at this moment, the East Coast is definitely not warmer climes.

      • Beverley says:

        Hi Susan, you must have been travelling north along Hwy. 27 and driven past the intersection of Hwys. 27 & 88. Ever remember seeing George’s Drive-In (hamburger joint) on the northwest side of the intersection?

        • Susan says:

          Yes! Definitely highway 27 because the 401 was too fast for the parents. For years, I thought it was an all day trip from Toronto to the Severn. And I vaguely remember George’s Drive In. Was it later changed to a flag store? Or am I thinking of another small town intersection on that route?

          • Beverley says:

            It must be another joint you remember seeing. I was just back last summer and drove past it…still George’s! I’m visiting my brother (he lives in a little hamlet called Egbert near Cookstown – bet no one has ever heard of that one!) again this summer, maybe I’ll go in for a greasy good old fashioned burger!

    • Cred says:

      Beverly, I know Bond Head. I grew up on the 7th line but technically in New Tecumseth. So, if you were to keep driving down the road from the booming metropolis of downtown Bond Head, our house was about 10 km directly west.

      • Beverley says:

        Then you must know George’s Drive-In!!! It was a special greasy treat now and then for my siblings and I to eat there. Times were tough kind of thing so my mum was always counting money. In retrospect, she made a really healthy choice! Anyway, one of the highlights for country bumpkins growing up in Bond Head. hehe!

  11. Laurel says:

    I am a thinker. I made the big mistake of marrying another (even bigger) thinker. I eventually do get the most important stuff done, once I have thoroughly researched everything. In my head, I have done way more than IRL 🙂 I am in awe of your ability to get stuff done!

  12. Jamieson says:

    1. I too freeze things flat and store them standing up in my bottom freezer, to flip through like vinyl albums.
    2. I believe the spaces left between your bins are actually good for airflow and will keep everything colder.

    • Karen says:

      I’m afraid that’s untrue Jamieson. Not the vinyl album thing … that’s true I’m sure. But the more frozen stuff in your freezer the more efficient it is and the easier time it has to get everything else colder. ~ karen!

      • Jamieson says:

        Don’t be afraid! Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. Anyway, I’m sure you’re right. In my refrigerator instructions it suggests to leave space between items so the chilled air can circulate between items; my shelves don’t even go the back of the fridge, they stop about an inch away. But I guess a freezer works on a different chilling principle. (Chilling as in cold, not as in terrifying. Oops, I hope I didn’t scare you again there!)
        xxj

  13. Beverley says:

    Hi Karen, the link you sent me to check out your freezer was for a recipe.
    Beverley

    • Karen says:

      LOL! Well I’m sure the recipe is good too but here’s the freezer link. http://www.costco.ca/Danby®-Designer-8.5cu.ft.-Upright-Freezer-.product.100149457.html ~ karen!

      • Maria says:

        Karen, I have the Danby 4.2 cf upright. It has integrated door bins. The top has a textured working area where I will put my brand new Christmas gift: Vacuum sealer! It also is a manual defrost *sad face*, but it’s a perfect size for me. The one star on yours indicated that it had shut off on them and they’d lost all their frozen food, and that Costco claimed there were no recalls on it. Mine has worked flawlessly, but it will need a defrost soon.

        BTW, do you have a lot of room around the freezer? My instruction manual (not ONE of the 50 things to throw away – yet) said it needed 5 inches behind it to ‘breathe’. I thought of putting it in my closet as well, but when I read that…

      • Beverley says:

        Thanks Karen, I am totally inspired and now on the lookout for upright freezer sales! It’s time to replace my old chest style. I would LOVE your recipe for pumpkin ravioli to have so I can fill up an entire shelf…yum yum!

  14. Bernard says:

    There are a couple more bennies from your reorganization by the way:
    1. Less “space” means less air to chill = less drag on the motor/compressor = less $$ to the utility company. Even if You leave the door open to peruse your available choices or are in and out of the freezer frequently, the air needing to be re-chilled is still less (the plastic containers will retain the latent cold) once the door is finally closed;
    2. Flat storage of foods = more surface area of chilled exposure = more efficient freezing and maintenance of cold temperatures of products themselves.

    Considering the use of vacuum sealing bags and the bonuses increase in terms of more product within each storage container.

    So…kudos K!

    Cheers,
    Bernard

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bernard! Yup, all true. And everything in my freezer (if you take a close look) is in Foodsaver bags. I’ve been Foodsavering for 15 years or so. Things like soups and liquids are better let to a Ziplock bag. ~ karen!

  15. Liesl says:

    Hi Karen,
    Now, do you have some sort of hack for preventing all of the ice that builds up in a freezer? (I have precious photos of my husband with my hairdryer in the freezer to melt that ice build-up, without defrosting the entire thing!)
    Also, what is the best way to avoid freezer burn without owning a vacuum sealer?

  16. Janelle says:

    Hi, Beverley – I too live in Duncan (Maple Bay)…small world.
    Karen, your freezer is a beautiful thing. You will do very well in an emergency…and for a long time thereafter.

  17. Chancy says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who was wondering about the cat litter…although, really, how could that have been possible?

  18. Marna says:

    Wow that is awesome! I am a thinker, but I get a lot of things done once I figure out how I want to do it! I have a chest freezer, it is hard to find things in it. I use to have a really large one when I had all my kids at home. I had it well organized, had metal dividers and baskets. I recently bought some coated wire baskets to use in my chest freezer and refrigerator freezer, works well. I wish more plastic manufacturers would make straight sided containers, easier for use all over the house.

  19. Louise says:

    I went on Ikea.com.us and .ca to find the shoe closet and I don’t see it. It looks great and now I want one! (Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!) Oh pretty please, do you have a link?

  20. Tigersmom says:

    Thank you for already addressing the cat litter container question.

    Organization is a beautiful thing much easier accomplished when hoarding tendencies are not present.

  21. Ryn says:

    Now I know how to organize my upright freezer when I finally get one. Thanks Karen!

  22. Mary Gilkinson says:

    No matter how I try,my meat gets freezer burn. Do you experience this? If not, what is your method for freezing meat? Any tips on organizing bottom drawer freezers? somewhere in mine iI think I have frozen peas.

    • Karen says:

      Mary – I use a Foodsaver. I’ve been using it for years and I’ve never had something I sealed in it get freezer burn. Meat will keep in the freezer for over a year and not get freezer burn. I can’t recommend them enough! For the bottom drawer freezer use containers, but upright and skinny. So maybe 6 of them across the bottom freezer. Keep certain things in certain containers. They’ll still be full of stuff and you’ll have to dig through them a bit, but if you know the entire first container is filled with frozen vegetables you can just pull that one container out and go through it and nothing else in your freezer will move around and get jumbled up. ~ karen!

      • Pam'a says:

        Karen, I’ve been pondering a Foodsaver for ages, and in looking at the accessories I see 8″ and 11″ rolls, as well as bags. Do you have a recommendation? Do the rolls allow you to make various sizes? Enquiring minds and all. 🙂

        • Karen says:

          Hi Pam’a. Yes, if you buy a box of Foodsaver rolls they come with 2 different sizes. If you want to freeze 2 steaks for instance the slightly larger one will do 2 of them side by side. It’s just a matter of preference. I just use both sizes until they’re gone, lol. I have never used the premade bags but my choices are getting slimmer because the only way I’ve seen the boxed rolls for sale now is *with* the bags so I suppose I’ll be giving them a shot in the next month or so. I prefer to cut the rolls and make the bag the size I want. Foodsavers are a bit finicky in terms of the size of your bag. If you cut them too small then the Foodsaver won’t seal properly and you’ll get air. I really love it though. It’s a GREAT kitchen gadget. I’d get the smallest/cheapest one possible if I were you. Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better it just means taking up more room in your kitchen. ~ karen!

  23. Su says:

    you mention Jack in the Box and now I want one…. since I already freeze stuff flat AND use containers I’m going out to find Jack…. 🙂

  24. Diane says:

    I’m not coming to your house to eat…ever! Kinda grossed out by the kitty litter in the freezer! I think you are the only person on the planet with kitty litter in the freezer. Makes me wonder what you are actually shrink wrapping in the bags!?! Kinda scary Karen…just sayin!

    • Karen says:

      The litter box fits into the space perfect and is air tight. I use it to hold all of my seafood so I don’t have any odour transfer, lol. ~ karen!

      • julie says:

        If your seafood was nice and fresh, like we have here on the east coast it would barely have a smell! We are able to keep our fish intermingled with even bread or cake with no flavour transfer!!

  25. Karol says:

    Pumpkin ravioli. Now that sounds delicious!

    • Karen says:

      Let me tell you. It IS, lol! I make it with Kabocha squash from the garden. It also has a bit of condensed milk, salt, pepper and sage. A few other things. ~ karen

      • Beverley says:

        Now I might have missed it if you ever did post one….but can you share your recipe Karen? I love pumpkin ravioli drizzled with browned butter!

  26. Bonnie says:

    I think that the world is really divided into two types: the organized and the chaotic. Or, really, it is a continuum, with most people in the middle somewhere. I am on the right end, but I try to move toward the left sometimes. I just do not enjoy organizing; some people do.

    But, what really amazes me is how much food you have for a person who lives alone. Do you have some inside information that the world is coming to an end?

    Also, I will expose my ignorance–what is a shoe closet? Are the shoes in those drawers? Is that a European thing?

  27. Thera says:

    Beautiful mudroom!
    As for the freezer, I too am stuck with a chest freezer, so I hung a clipboard, with some blank paper and a pen tied to it above.
    When we put food in, write it down, take food out, cross it off, it’s not pretty, but no ice cream is being neglected.

  28. Jody says:

    You are more than a doer; you are a finisher. If I chuck out all the freezer burnt crap in the bottom of my freezer does that count for Monday’s 50? Organizing my freezer has been on my to do list forever.

  29. maggie van sickle says:

    Looks good . Wow a lot of food for a little bitty person.

  30. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    I agree with Maggie Van Sickle….that is a lot of food for one little Karen! Does your fancy dancy clear door fridge not have much of a freezer section? Anyway, it looks great and this post is inspiring. When I grow up I want to be a doer. I’m already pretty good at organizing my stuff. Thanks, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Melissa! The glass door fridge is refrigerator from top to bottom! Alllll fridge. This is my only freezer. It stands on the other side of the wall my fridge is on so they’re basically side by side, separated by a door. ~ karen!

  31. This is the only way to freeze stuff. We’ve been doing this for many years and it is definitely the best!.. I do have a bit of freezer envy though.

  32. Mary from Barrie says:

    I think I could throw out 50 things from the freezer today. Just wondering, Karen – do the clear containers help prevent/delay freezer burn?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary from Barrie! ~ I’m not sure if they do or not. I imagine they would a little, but I Foodsaver pretty much everything so it’s hard to tell. The less air around something the less chances of freezer burn though so they might help a bit. ~ karen!

    • Beverley says:

      Hi Mary from Barrie! Is this Barrie in Ontario? If so, I lived there too after I moved from Bond Head!!! Ah, such nice memories of Kempenfelt Beach as a teen 🙂

  33. Robin says:

    I love freezing in the flat baggies and do this with all meals. One problem I have found, though, is that the baggies do not nestle well. They slide all over the place and sometimes even attack me all at once. Putting all the sliding baggies in a bin makes a great idea even better so now I am off to find some bins for my freezer. Thanks so much

  34. Christin K says:

    Looks like you could flip the boxes on the right upside down and they’d fit snugly against the left ones. I imagine the flat frozen bags would then slot quite nicely into the space leftover at the edge of the shelf. I have a chest freezer so organization is a bit more cumbersome. I use recycling bins with handles so I can easily lift out the top two to expose the two that fit below (I have a small chest freezer so the bins are fairly light even when full). I also use plastic boxes like yours on the little shelf to the side of the freezer for more stacking space; they fit freezer jars of jam and other small stuff perfectly.

    • Karen says:

      omg I’ll try that! Great idea! ~ karen

    • Ev Wilcox says:

      I have a chest freezer from hell. Where can you get recycling bins? Will give it a try if I can find them!

      • Christin K says:

        I bought the 6 gallon stack and carry bins from the Container Store. Inexpensive (10 bucks each), fit my freezer perfectly (I can get four in there), and the handle really makes it easy to lift them in and out.

  35. Maria says:

    You are a sexy sexy organizing woman. I love a good labeling, a good organizing and a decent throwing out.

  36. Heather says:

    That is a lot of food! A whole container of cabbage rolls?
    I think everyone else has said it all. Just want to say I love the ladle in the first picture!

  37. Elen G says:

    Sing it, Karen! I’ve been freezing flat for a year now, and I love it, love it, love it! Great piece from IKEA for shoes.

  38. Kris Wilson says:

    Looks great Karen! I too love organizing, but struggle with my chest freezer, it’s a mess. Maybe you could come over (I live close to you) and do a demo on how to organize a chest freezer and post it for your other readers? Just trying to help other poor unorganized chest freezer owners. And I’m surprised no one mentioned your deer head in the mudroom! Everyone is all up in arms over the cat litter container! What’s the story there?

    • Karen says:

      That’s a vintage/wonky deer’s head the fella bought at an auction. When he was here I would never let him hang it. The moment he ran away from home I went to the basement and put it up, lol. ~ karen!

  39. Connie S. says:

    Luv those upright freezers. I have one and it’s usually packed to the brim too. But i never thought to use bins to corral everything. Brillant!! No more frozen turkeys breaking these toes 😉 And now that i know it’s ok to do so i’ll keep it fully stocked. I’m a foodie too and that’s what we do – cook, eat, freeze and enjoy 🙂

  40. Barngirl in Texas says:

    Hi, Karen, I’m a thinker-starter-perfectionist: that means that by the time I get the research done and the perfect plan, I’m out of time to do any of it! I’m working on the Nike slogan to make it mine, too. Love following your site!

  41. Patti says:

    I’m a thinker and a starter but I wish I was a doer! I envy you and your organized everything!

  42. Cred says:

    Love this! I’m not a natural organizer but when I force myself to purge and create order, I’m transformed…. Energized, lighter, efficient and admittedly, a little boastful. You don’t want to come around when I’ve fixed a former chaotic storage area.
    I am envious of your upright freezer, we have a small chest freezer. But I am still grateful for it since I had been working with just the top freezer of our fridge previously. We got this freebie from my inlaws- it was looking pretty beat even after a good scrubbing so I painted the lid in chalkboard. While its not terribly organized or large, it holds the quarter beef we get from my brother-in-law and I write the inventory right on the lid. Pull a prime rib out for dinner, scratch off one from the lid inventory.
    Now, I’m going to peruse the World Wide Web for organizing ideas for a chest freezer posted by all those natural organized types.

  43. Dea says:

    Love, love, love the upright freezer. We have a teeny-tiny one in the garage. Only 4 feet high. But we get a lot of stuff into it, and for just the two of us (and one of us not being much of a cook), it’s perfect. One tip you might try for freezing the ziplock baggies. I have an old Tupperware container that has lost its top, and I was about to throw it away when I discovered it would make perfectly square frozen globs of stuff if you lined it with the ziplock baggie and filled the baggie, then froze it in the container. Pops right out of the container and stores beautifully! If it sticks a little (sometimes the baggies will stick), just dip it in warm water and it will pop out. And just a quick dip won’t thaw it a bit.

    BTW, you might want to take a magic marker and label that kitty litter container. I’d hate for some clever kitty to do his business in your shrimps and clams. 😎

  44. Bols says:

    I almost passed out when I saw your freezer. I actually had to close the browser, take a few sips of tea with sage (because I have a sore throat), then I reopened the browser and took another look. Again, I almost passed out because I have never such an organizer freezer. (Which says a lot about the state of my own freezer).
    Yes, I frequently find things that are over 5 years old (I really looked into it, I bet I could still find items that I MOVED into the freezer when I moved into this house … that was only 9 years ago). I actually recently used something (I can’t remember what it was) that was frozen for 5+ years and I consumed it. Me typing this proves that there was nothing wrong with it.

    I actually hate both types of plastic boxes that you used and I would never buy them. Because even the second kind (the see-through ones) even though somewhat better shape-wise, still leave tons of wasted space. I will tell you why manufacturers make them like this: because they stack nicely. That’s all they care about, how to stack their inventory. Not so much about the functionality.

  45. Jean says:

    Oh I learned to freeze baggies flat by doing it wrong. When you put the baggies on the freezer rack, they come out looking like Christmas ribbon candy…after you’ve pried them off that is. Time to go find that old roast in the bottom of the chest freezer. Thanks for the tips.

  46. Vicky says:

    I love that you have a whole container dedicated to stuffed cabbage!

    • Karen says:

      LOL! I grew a LOT of cabbage this year. It resulted in a LOT of cabbage rolls and slaws. 🙂 ~ karen!

      • Beverley says:

        Hello there Janelle! I cycle all the time doing the loop from Lakes Rd-Herd Rd-Maple Bay Rd and up Zhouhalen back to Lakes. Do I go past your house? lol

        • Janelle says:

          Yes – I am right on Maple Bay Rd about 1/2 Km up from the Herd Rd turnoff. My little white dogs probably bark at you (er…sorry)! Wait…are you the Beverley that I went mountain biking with, once (the acupuncturist)? Maybe not, I think she was from Nelson…

          • Beverley says:

            Hello Janelle, I was looking forward to a bike ride on Saturday but the rain curbed my desire. I’m a different Beverley, but do need an acupuncturist for my arthritic hip…know of any you could recommend?

            • Janelle says:

              Sorry about your hip. I have never had acupuncture so I can’t recommend anyone from experience, but the other Beverley is a lovely person; she is right in Duncan on Coronation I believe. My cousin is studying Traditional Chinese Medicine in Nelson but he is still learning so I definitely wouldn’t recommend having him stick needles in you 🙂

            • Beverley says:

              No, you’re right! Point of entry has to be right on the mark!

  47. Margaret K. says:

    That freezer is a beautiful sight, but for one thing. Where’s the ice cream?

  48. Jake says:

    OK I’m going to say it, what is with all the people who did not understand about the kitty litter. Explaining once is OK, twice a stretch but over and over. Good grief

  49. Debbie says:

    The shoe closet is lovely, but other than myself, my other house inhabitants are men (even the dog). Husband keeps his shoes in the closet, he’s a good boy! The three sons? When they visit home, they would put their shoes under the shoe closet.

  50. Carolyn says:

    I didn’t see it in the comments, but what are the dimensions of the clear containers you put in your freezer? Also, where did you get them?
    I’m realizing I’m part thinker and part starter.
    I want to be a doer like you.
    I will clean out my freezer tomorrow. I will, I swear, after I plan out tonight how I will do it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carolyn! It doesn’t matter what the dimensions of my containers are. You need to find containers that fit your freezer specifically to utilize the space. Just measure and deduce from there which ones will fill your freezer the best. ~ karen!

  51. Sherri says:

    About the kitty litter bucket, I am sure Karen will get around to prettying it up with contact paper, fabric, paint, sticks, something……….
    I love the organizational result. You are awesome, your freezer is awesome. I use the same type of clear shoe box containers in my fridge to corral sandwich makings. One has all types of sliced cheese, one for sandwich meat, one for all the odd rolls, one for made sandwiches (I make a couple at a time). Nothing lost in the back, easy take out and put away. I do the same for jellies and jams- no sticky shelves. Is there anything clear containers can’t do?

  52. Edith says:

    Hi Karen,

    While visiting an office supply store last week, I noticed that the Duct Tape folks now make an erasable white tape that would be perfect for labeling those storage containers. I love organizing and labeling and so my inner dancer did a little gig when I saw that.

  53. jainegayer says:

    I can’t tackle the freezer yet. But I did organize my spices. I put them in ABC order. I think I need an intervention or wine or both.

  54. LazySusan says:

    Iris 13.5 gallon clear boxes from Costco? I bought a ton of them, also. We have a small chest freezer, so I use cardboard boxes of various widths and heights to sort things and find them easily. When we cleaned out the freezers, I made a map of what is where, so I can just check the map before going to get something. The boxes were started after seeing your old post about freezer organization, right on this very site. It works pretty well for us, so thank you! I like your new method for your upright freezer…much better use of space!

  55. Ellen says:

    First- I can’t figure out where is the IKEA shoe thingy!!!

    Second- Great idea- I have tried the flat plastic bag idea and love it- except that they can attack me and slide all over the place- plus now, I have a plus one fella with big ol hands and anything in the way of the frozen yogurt flies out and then putting the frozen yogurt and previously airborne items back becomes a big mess. Soooo, I am going to try out this box idea for my regular freezer and eek out a special place for the frozen yogurt- you’ve inspired me!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ellen! The shoe thingy is directly below the deer’s head thingy. It has 2 wood candlesticks on it. It looks like a cupboard but it’s really only 7″ or so deep and the drawers flip out as opposed to pull out. ~ karen!

  56. Jennifer Ramirez says:

    Before I can do anything with my freezer, I MUST finish my bathroom wallpaper job! I have had 2 strips hanging for 6 months, maybe more. I love that your so organized and I LOVE your mudroom!

  57. Manisha says:

    I got a freezer from my mom when I started breast-feeding and pumping with the idea that I would have hundreds of ounces of milk for my little one. That’s also when I learned to freeze-flat. Well, the milk never exceeded 12 ounces at a time (TMI?) but I do now have an awesome freezer filled with meats and flat-frozen soups. BTW, I think I’m a thinker/starter. My hubby is the doer, so I pass on the project to him when I’m done.

  58. The Container Store sells boxes almost exactly like those but a little less tapered. They call them shoe storage boxes. I use several of them in my small business (I store the different flavors of my nougat in them, once I’ve cut, wrapped and labeled them.) I’m so doing my freezer as soon as I have bathed today.

  59. Kristina says:

    Love the organization. I am inspired! We have a freezer problem at our house – 2 (one stand up and one chest) and counting. We get a 1/4 steer and whole hog every year and still run out of space for frozen fruits and veggies by the end of the summer. Add in freezer meals, soups, stock and ice cream and yeah, I think we will be needing another stand up freezer soon. I refuse to get another chest freezer.

  60. Anne says:

    Only one good thing about chest freezers. Well, two actually. When you (read ‘I’) finally got around to defrosting and cleaning ours, I had enough frozen fruit to take to our local McBarley’s and have a batch of very nice wine made! And the chickens loved the freezer-burned veggies that I so carefully froze who-knows-when. I definitely need one of those “what’s in your freezer”lists. However, the frozen cooked bacon bits and frozen mushrooms made a darn nice lunch!

  61. I was going to say something snarky like “how many people are you feeding there Karen?”, when I remembered your vegetable garden and all the lovely things you grow each summer. I am doubly awed.

    • Karen says:

      Yah, sadly almost none of that is in my freezer, lol. It’s in the pantry next to it. Which is also full. An update on how everything I grew is storing 5 months from picking it. So snark away Tricia! ~ karen!

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  63. mary says:

    wowsa! judging by all the comments, you really struck gold with this post! Lots of great ideas, but i’m trying to figure out how I can apply them to my side by side refrig-freezer, which is the worst for trying to keep organized. My freezer is only about 12 inches wide so I don’t have much to work with. Any suggestions for organizing such a small, narrow space?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary! The bins will still work great for that. You just have to find the right sized bins that will stack. 🙂 ~ karen!

  64. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    OK..I have a medium size chest freezer but I can still separate food into containers like you did..I always flatten what I can to freeze it..Must go buy some containers now as I am not sure what is in there anymore..need to clean out my fridge freezer too..I want to make lists of every item that is in each container and how many too or I will totally forget..Thanks Karen!

  65. Shannon H says:

    This is great, truly a great set of ideas but where do you put the ice cream?

  66. Marti says:

    I suppose I missed this in the 65-plus-replies-that-aren’t-counted comments on this post, but… where is the ice cream mentioned in the section after the first photo of “2.0” organized freezer? You talk about ice cream, but… is it on the door? (Disaster. Door items defrost first and are then refrozen, repeatedly. Very detrimental to quality of ice cream.) So… where is it? What kind is it? What flavors do you have? You don’t expect me to believe that you, with the abs-‘o-steel, only stock one flavor, right? You’re a variety gal.

    • Karen says:

      Actually Marti, I don’t often buy ice cream, lol. There is in fact ice cream in the door, vanilla, but the only reason I bought it was to make the hot buttered rum recipe in the middle of December. I used half a tub for that. It’s still in the door with an exact measurement of half a tub, minus one bowl. I’m more apt to eat my late night, guilt calories in the form of a steak and fries. ~ karen!

  67. martina says:

    I found a potential source for straight sided containers!
    http://www.muji.us/store/storage/pp-boxes.html

    • kathryn says:

      in the absence of straight-sided containers, matching slope-sided ones will tessellate more closely if you turn every other one upside down; if the lids close tightly and they aren’t so big that once filled they’re too heavy to lift off the shelf, shouldn’t cause a problem.

  68. I soooo need an upright freezer. My chest freezer is a mini one, and it’s still impossible.

  69. Maryanne says:

    Thank you for the idea! My freezer is now easily accessible.
    I’m imagining this will prevent me from throwing out long, lost unrecognizable frozen “creatures”

    My next task are my photos that are in shoe box type storage. Any ideas Karen?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maryanne – Thanks! I too had boxes and boxes of photos dating back to my parents’ grandparents! One winter I bought a bunch of nice black leather bound photo albums and every night sat and organized them while I watched television. It took almost the whole winter, but I got them all into albums. They’re organized according to date. ~ karen!

  70. Maryanne says:

    i originally had my photos in cheap craft store albums. The backs broke and the sleeve tore from the binding.
    That is why I put them in the boxes. Which was a mistake.
    Good idea about the leather albums. I will start to hunt for sales.
    As always Karen, thank you for keeping me inspired!

  71. Dianne says:

    I am here to attest to the wisdom of the “freeze it flat” method. Alas, I do not have a big freezer. I have only the teensy one on my fridge. So finding a way to store as much as possible is critical, especially since I am a family of one (and one furbaby) so I cook and freeze leftovers for quick meals on work daysand days I don’t feel like cooking. To describe how much room this will save you let me tell you about the day I entered into the ‘freeze it flat’ world. My freezer was packed with those lovely freezer boxes and packages from the grocer’s freezer section. Not room for one pea more. So, I took advantage of a sale on freezer bags and changed my ways. I bought quart size bags, just right for defrosting a meal’s worth with some left over for work lunch. I repacked everything in the bags and repacked my freezer. Amazing! I had almost one third of my freezer space back! Empty! Begging to be filled with new goodies. The bags are much easier to rearrange as I rotate my freezer foods too. I am a ‘freeze it flat’ girl now and will not go back. I have only space for two plastic containers which hold my work lunch reserved. This way I can pack two lunches, freeze them, then pull one out before bed the might before work. By the time lunch rolls around the next day, my lunch is thawed but still cold and need only be heated in the microwave to eat. Try freezing flat, I am sure you will find your freezer is bigger than you thought.

  72. Eileen says:

    I must have missed a post, ,,,why do you have so much space allocated for “cabbage rolls”. Are they something special, large, what???? I’ve never made a cabbage roll, so am curious.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I grow cabbages so in the fall I make a batch of cabbage rolls. One or two cabbages make a LOT of cabbage rolls, so I end up with a ton of them. 🙂 ~ karen!

  73. jen says:

    Hi Karen!

    I would love if you’d do a post (even if you don’t have one of these) on how to organize a chest freezer! I’ve tried a lot of these suggestions in mine but when you have to pile stuff on top of each other, it really screws up the plans of being able to see everything. Any ideas?

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