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Chest Freezer organisation?

Our new duplex has an itty bitty side-by-side freezer with an icemaker taking up most of the space... so we went out and bought a small chest freezer to make room for the bulk meat and veggies that we usually like to buy (you get far far better prices buying meat in bulk at BJs than at the grocery store...)

My question is this - I have never had to deal with a chest freezer before in my life. Can you put baskets into it or make some way to keep the contents seperated to take some of the guesswork out of finding stuff? I can just barely reach the bottom, so I put a layer of ice packs into it (it'll help keep the food cold too) but it's still a big stretch. If you have a chest freezer, how have you made it work on a daily basis?

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  1. I hate chest freezers!!!!
    There was a running joke in our family when I was growing up.
    In 1958 my parents bought a commercial chest freezer from a local restaurant that was remodeling their kitchen (they built a walk in).
    My mother only 5'2" tall could never reach down into the freezer to find anything she wanted. My brother had his Bar Mitzvah in 1959. There was leftover lox from the Sunday brunch at out home, and it went into the freezer. For years my father would ask my mother where the lox was.
    In 1968 we bought an upright, the chest freezer was unplugged and defrosted to be carted away. They found the lox buried in the ice at the bottom.

    I have three freezers in my home, all are uprights. It is much easier to see what is on a shelf than have to remove everything to see what's on the bottoim of a chest freezer. If you have enough room in your freezer and can spare the freezing space, try using milk crates in the freezer. Buy assorted colors, use red for meat, blue for vegetables, green for poultry, etc. It might help, and with the hand cutouits you should be able to lift the crates in and out easily.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bagelman01

      LOL to the ten-year-old lox... I know chest freezers can be a pit of no return if you're not careful - that's why I need to be organised from the beginning! I've been reading and found one good suggestion - reusable grocery bags for sorting! I've got a bazillion of them and they only cost $1 each, so that's what I'm going to try... a different colour bag for each major food group. And I think I'll leave my emergency frozen dinners in the tiny upright - that's about all there's room for.

    2. Yes, you can use baskets in your freezer. You want to use a plastic or rubber coated metal to avoid any unintentional skin sticking to frozen metal.

      1. I get nervous when my chest freezer is even one tenth empty...it's always gotta be full. I don't know what's in the bottom.

        1. We used to have a chest freezer. When it died (while we were in Europe for 10 days. . . what a welcome home gift) we replaced it with an upright.

          Keep a running list of what is in it. If you use it, cross it off. If you add it, add it to the list. Get grumpy when other freezer users don't do this an you suddenly have no ice cream.

          I kept stuff in "zones" based on frequency of use. Bulk meats were off to their corner, frozen fruits/veggies were on top cause they were accessed most often. You could use reusable grocery bags filled with like items (veggies in one, meat in another) so you could grab the handles more easily

          1. Have never had a chest freezer, but understand the "science" that they're efficient. When you open un upright freezer, the cold air just falls out onto floor cuz it's heavier. problem with chest freezer is it's easy to become an archeological DIG to the bottom?? I'd probably hunt for bins/baskets that would fit and hold stuff byt category... chickne, fish, beef/pork, frozen veggies. I have a thrift store found Foodsaver vac sealer... wanna say an IMPORTANT thing to consider purchasing. Properly sealed, stuff is relatively indestrucible to freezing... rarely find freezr burned stuff.