If you’re a food freezing enthusiast, you’ll need to know how to save space in the freezer. The merits of freezing food are endless. From saving time cooking meals everyday to reducing your environmental impact by freezing leftovers as opposed to disposing of them as unnecessary food waste. Additionally, frozen food is often accredited with retaining more nutrients than food sitting on shelves, which is important for a balanced diet. Finally, let’s not forget the cost savings associated with buying less food, ordering takeaways and making less supermarket trips.

Space can really be at a premium if you only have a fridge freezer as opposed to a freezer chest. This can be particularly true for people who engage in meal prepping and batch cooking food; this equally applies to people who bake regularly. We’ve all been in situations where trying to force food to fit in the freezer is equivalent to a game of advanced tetris. With that in mind, let’s delve into the top 10 ingenious tips and tricks to optimise the space available in your freezer!

How to save space in the freezer - freezer with food containers

Organise your freezer

Label foods and containers:

We’ve all been in the scenario where we’ve started routing through the freezer and started finding random unknowns. Whether it’s that frozen mysterious soup or leftovers from a batch cooking marathon which, at this stage, would probably need to go to a food lab to identify if it still even is food. If you’re living in a shared house, you may be wondering if the food is even yours!

Thankfully, we have been graced with novel items, such as pens and labels, which we can use to obliterate any ambiguity surrounding foods in your freezer. Many freezer bags now have a dedicated space where you can write the details of the food on the bags. Not only that, if you add the date made or use by date, number of portions and the owner of the food, it will make life so much easier when you’re scavenging for a meal; labelling also eliminates incorrectly throwing out food that you’re concerned could be past their expiry date. It might also deter those notorious food thieves from taking your food; word of warning – they don’t just exist in the office canteen!


How to save space in the freezer - writing with green marker

Food inventory:

A common feature associated with freezing foods is forgetting what you’ve even stored, this is particularly prevalent when it comes to freezer chests. Food gets buried in towards the bottom and then becomes forgotten about. A simple trick to avoid this is by writing a list of the foods you put into the freezer. You can even write it on the freezer. Yes, you read correctly. Get an erasable marker and write on the inside of the freezer door. Alternatively, you can pin a list to the freezer door with a magnet and update it as food is added or removed.

How to save space in the freezer - food list with pen

Declutter:

Believe it or not, frozen food doesn’t last forever. This means you need to declutter your freezer every so often. Ideally, this means removing everything (yes, everything; don’t be lazy or taking shortcuts) from the freezer and identify what can stay and what needs to go. If you’ve adopted the practice of labelling your food or created a food inventory, this will make your life much easier, provided you’ve included the use-by date on the label/food inventory.

How to save space in the freezer - freezer full of food

Defrost regularly:

While many freezers now incorporate a self-defrosting function, there are many freezers that don’t. Frost buildup can constitute a significant portion of freezer space, especially if it’s a couple of inches thick. Freezers should be defrosted when the ice becomes a quarter inch thick. For some freezers, this may mean that they need to be defrosted once a year, although each unit differs. Doing this optimises the efficiency of the freezer and ensures premium space is not unnecessarily used up. While defrosting, why not take the opportunity to declutter your freezer as well?

How to save space in the freezer - freezer not defrosted

Store food flat:

Stacking foods flat on top of each other eliminates unnecessary wasted room in your freezer. By lying food flat, e.g. berries/vegetables/soup, removing excess air from the freezer bag and freezing them flat in the freezer, it optimises space efficiencies greater than randomly shaped bags of frozen items.

Divide freezer into zones:

If you have a number of different shelves in your freezer, you could allocate each of them to a specific type of food or even to a person if you share the freezer. For example, store all meat or fish on the bottom shelf – if the food somehow happens to leak, e.g. during a power outage, at least you don’t have to worry about it dripping onto other food sitting below it! Freezer zones allows you to find food easier. It also ensures you know which food you own and prevents food wars associated with people mistakenly taking food belonging to others. If your freezer isn’t that large, you could opt for the plastic basket option below.

Containers

Square containers:

Food containers are almost a necessity for anyone who freezes meals. In terms of space optimisation, choose ones that are square or rectangular in shape as they utilise space more efficiently with the corners of the freezer compared to round containers. Additionally, investing in a good food container set in a variety of sizes ensures you don’t have to store small quantities of food in a large container and consume unnecessary space. If you’re lacking in food containers, then this freezer and microwave-safe meal prep containers review could be the answer to all your questions.

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How to save space in the freezer - prep pro meal prep containers

Plastic baskets:

Similar to freezer zones, organising your food by type and sitting them in plastic baskets is a simple, yet effective way to put some order on your freezer. For people who engage in meal planning and cooking their own meals, this could take the form of a basked dedicated to protein, fats and carbohydrates, or meat/fish, vegetables and pasta/rice. That way, all you have to do is select an item from each container, and just like that, you’ve got the core ingredients for a macro-balanced meal. You could also have a basket dedicated to dressings, sauces or herbs.

Remove packaging:

Many food manufacturers are becoming more conscious of the additional cost and waste associated with unnecessary packaging; fortunately, this means that they are designing packaging to be as compact as possible. Sadly, this is not the case with all food. The cardboard packaging that accompanies your food stuffs often consumes excessive amounts of space. Removing the food from the cardboard box will often make for more compact storage. If the food isn’t individually wrapped, remove it from the packaging and place it in labelled freezer bags. It also ties nicely in with the previous tip. If there are multiple items in a cardboard box, remove them and store them all neatly into the one basket. This way, you know what quantity you have and don’t run the risk of them getting mislaid in the freezer or thinking that you need to buy more.

Bags

Freezer bags:

In terms of compact storage, freezer bags are practically unrivalled. Some people use tin foil, but this isn’t suitable for liquids, it can easily tear and isn’t reusable or recyclable. Freezer bags are especially valuable if you have small quantities of food or individual items/portions of food to store, e.g. a chicken breast or a few slices of bread. Investing in good quality freezer bags that don’t leak and are reusable is a winning formula for space storage; it also avoids the headaches that cheap, leaky freezer bags offer. If you’re seriously interested in freezing food and saving room, you could also invest in a vacuum sealer, but be warned, it is a more expensive option.

How to save space in the freezer - Xup Zip freezer bags

Summary

  • Labelling food is a simple technique to ensure you’re not eating expired food
  • Defrost your freezer when one quarter inch of ice develops
  • Declutter your freezer often to ensure expired food is discarded with
  • Remove unnecessary cardboard packaging, especially ones that consume extra room
  • Organising your freezer into zones or with plastic baskets helps with meal planning and prevents items going missing
  • Freezer bags are exceptionally efficient in terms of storage space

Thankfully, all of the above tips don’t involve significant investment or effort and can be easily followed. Just think of the time, money and food waste you’ll save! Have you any tips or tricks that you use to optimise space in your freezer? How often do you clear out your freezer? Post your comments and tips below!

Sources

Huffstetler, E., 2019. How To Tell When It’s Time To Defrost Your Freezer. [online] The Spruce. Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2020].

Lovefood.com. 2019. 30 Tried And Tested Tips To Organise Your Freezer | Lovefood.Com. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2020].

Categories: Blogs

24 Comments

  • Kathy · 16/05/2020 at 11:18 AM

    Thank you for sharing these very useful tips. I always use freezer bags to store bread rolls and brioche. It’s so easy to defrost them at room temperature. I also try to stack items neatly so they’re easy to find. However, I frequently forget to label them! I love your idea of writing down items put in the freezer. Fortunately, I live on my own, so the only food thief would be my cat!

      Sharon · 16/05/2020 at 2:31 PM

      Hi there,

      Glad that the post has been of benefit. The freezer bags are great – so versatile! Sounds as if you’re on the right track already! Let’s just hope you cat doesn’t jump into the freezer so, they have a habit of finding weird places to sit.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting on my page!
      Sharon

    Jeff · 16/05/2020 at 11:30 AM

    As always you provide such amazing tips for your readers, I know living alone I often have leftovers I store in my freezer for another day. What do you recommend for the best way to store my meat broth in my freezer, I am using plastic containers that is taking much room?

    Is there a better solution
    Jeff

      Sharon · 16/05/2020 at 2:32 PM

      Hi Jeff,

      You’re very kind, thank you! Well at least you don’t have to worry about your food being robbed! You could always try the freezer bags, just make sure that you remove any excess air to prevent freezer burn. Or perhaps a different sized container might do the trick!

      Let me know what you think and if you’ve any more queries.
      Sharon

    Tom · 16/05/2020 at 12:21 PM

    Hi Sharon,

    This is not an article I thought I would come across, but I’m so pleased that I have. During lockdown, my fridge and freezer has gone out of control. I am buying food that I don’t need or even want to eat. I think everyone is just cramming things in just incase. So, because of that my freezer needs organising very badly.

    I like how you’ve brought a kind of scientific approach and organise it like you would organise a project. I am going to try your style out and I’ll let you know how I get on with it.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work on your site.

    All the best,

    Tom

      Sharon · 16/05/2020 at 2:34 PM

      Hi Tom,

      Glad that the post has been of benefit. It’s an issue I’ve had to tackle for a while now, so thought I’d share some tips with others! I think we’re all doing that; a trip to the supermarket just for milk rarely results in coming out of the shop with just milk!

      Please do let me know, I’d love any feedback you have and to hear how it works out for you.

      Sharon

    Michael · 16/05/2020 at 1:04 PM

    I love this idea of making an inventory – you are so right the freezer can become a land of mystery especially in the dark recesses at the back. I am not sure I can attain this level of organisation but I can see its worth! I will aspire maybe it can have a domino effect other areas of clutter….The packaging really gets in the way a lot of the time so I liked the idea of using reusable containers and bags. Thanks for this.

      Sharon · 16/05/2020 at 2:37 PM

      Hi Michael,

      It does sound like a bit of an ordeal, but when it boils down to it, it only takes me 20 seconds to write it down. Having a marker attached to the fridge means there’s no need to be running around wasting time looking for one. But ultimately, it’s up to you what works for you.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting on my page!
      Sharon

    Stefan · 16/05/2020 at 1:15 PM

    I really like your tip to use freezer bags instead of plastic containers.
    After reading your post, I learned that one of the best strategies is called organization.
    If people are not organized, they will leave old stuff in the freezer for ages without noticing.
    I laughed out loud when you said pushing food in the freezer was like the Tetris game on a hard level. LOL

      Sharon · 16/05/2020 at 2:37 PM

      Hi Stefan,

      Good to hear, I’m glad you found it valuable and enjoyed it! That is, after all, one of my key goals with these posts. Well that’s how it feels to me, I’m guessing we’ve all been there though.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Best wishes,
      Sharon

    jason · 16/05/2020 at 2:16 PM

    What a great article found it very informative and useful, have bookmarked it for future reference. thanks!

      Sharon · 16/05/2020 at 2:38 PM

      Hi Jason,

      Good to hear, I’m glad you found it valuable and enjoyed it! Stay tuned for more articles!

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Best wishes,
      Sharon

    JJ · 16/05/2020 at 2:25 PM

    I chuckle to myself when i remember that just yesterday I said I need a better system to store my food in the freezer because I am not going to the grocery store as often as I used to. Well you have given me a lot of valuable tips which are not difficult. The habit of using freezer bags, and labelling them is a big one for me. Also i find that suggestion of placing similar items in sections and neat containers perfect for me. I usually declutter before I go back to the store. Thank you for such a good article.

      Sharon · 18/05/2020 at 3:35 PM

      Hi there,

      Good to hear, I’m glad you got a chuckle out of it! That is great feedback to hear; after all, one of my key goals with these posts is to inform and make life easier for people. The freezer bags are so versatile, and the labels are also great, based on my personal experience anyway!

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Best wishes,

      Sharon

    Stephen · 16/05/2020 at 2:30 PM

    I love the idea of making batch foods that’s just so original because I hate cooking for ten people even though I can cook. I just love the breakdown of frozen foods storage ideas on your website it really just goes to show how many ideas are out there. I’ve saved this to show my mom so she can get rid of that massive chest freezer in her front room. Great website and I love the ideas really cool thank you.

      Sharon · 16/05/2020 at 2:40 PM

      Hello Stephen,

      It sure is a valuable trick to save time. Cooking one meal at a go is so time consuming and inefficient. Glad you enjoyed them, it’s not something people think of, so hopefully it helps you and others to unleash some well-needed space in their freezer.

      Thanks for visiting and posting your comments on the page, it’s much appreciated.

      Best wishes,
      Sharon

    Sami · 16/05/2020 at 2:31 PM

    What a basic way to help your readers.  Suggestions for bagging, labelling and organizing our freezers!  Growing up on the farm, that big chest freezer was an essential part of our life.  Those big boxes stored a lot of food but were hard to find stuff in.  Mom was strict about what came in and went out of the freezer.  She was the organized one who gave me my start in freezer storage.  

    Throughout my life of living in small towns without an HEB or Costco, I have still been able to shop, pack in the beverage coolers, and get home to repack, label, date and store.  I do think I can learn some new tricks and am so excited to have found your site with your ideas.  Will be looking through the site for more help and information. Thanks. Sami

      Sharon · 18/05/2020 at 3:37 PM

      Hi there,

      Good to hear, I’m glad you found it valuable and enjoyed it! Everyone seems to love the idea of the labels and freezer bags. Wow it sounds as if you’re ticking some of the tips off already!

      Thanks for the feedback and sharing your personal experience.

      Best wishes,

      Sharon

    Juliet · 16/05/2020 at 3:05 PM

    Thanks Sharon, I am one of those people who cook in batches and this post is just what I need. I was ravaging through my freezer earlier today trying to figure out what is where. Now I know what the problem is, I need to do some labelling, some decluttering and I need to get rid of some packaging. Thanks Sharon.

      Sharon · 18/05/2020 at 3:38 PM

      Hi Juliet,

      I hope the article was of interest and use to you. That’s so true – I bet you’ll notice an instant difference with the decluttering!

      If there’s anything I can be of assistance with, don’t hesitate to reach out!

      Best wishes,

      Sharon

    Sheddy Ovb · 17/05/2020 at 1:01 AM

    Heloo Dear, thanks for putting up this beautiful and helpful article on how to save space in the freezer. Saving space in the freezer can be sometimes challenging and frustrating.. my mum has been a victim of this so many times I believe this article is really going to be helpful to you. I’ll forward this to her immediately. 

      Sharon · 18/05/2020 at 3:39 PM

      Hi there,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope the article was of interest and use to you and your Mum.

      If you or your Mum have any queries, don’t hesitate to ask!

      Best wishes,

      Sharon

    edahnewton1 · 17/05/2020 at 1:12 AM

    Hey nice article you have there. Wow, this is indeed a timely information to me, I have learnt a whole lot from this article. I have been thinking about purchasing a bigger freezer in my kitchen for sometime, having gone through this article I discovered that I have not been efficient in the arrangement of food items. Will definitely employ these strategies, Regards.

      Sharon · 18/05/2020 at 3:41 PM

      Hello there,

      Thank you. That’s great to hear; sometimes people keep filling up a shelf or a freezer with various bits and bobs and they need more storage, not realising that decluttering would possibly eliminate the majority of the stuff. 

      If there’s anything I can be of assistance with, don’t hesitate to reach out!

      Best wishes,

      Sharon

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