We go through our chest freezers about once a year. We just did again. They get unplugged, emptied, defrosted, cleaned out, and contents inventoried.
I just wanted to give you a tip that has worked well for us. The way we organize our chest freezers. The key to successful organizing for us is this:
Colored Reusable Grocery Tote Bags
Pink = Pork
Brown = Beef
Yellow = Poultry
Green = Vegetables
Blue = Fish & Seafood
That’s it! Simple!
We also have totes for dairy. One is filled with butter and the other, cheeses. The point is, you get the idea. Different colors for different groups.
It works so well because you might have a good number of totes in there, stacked. A quick color identification will let you know what’s inside.
But wait, there’s more…
If I have totes with all the same type in it, such as ground beef, or steaks, or dark meat poultry vs white meat poultry… I make up a little label with a small piece of paper and Sharpie pen. It gets folded over one of the tote handles and stapled. Easy peasy.
We happen to have two chest freezers. A 9 cubic foot and a 7. We keep all meats in the 9 and everything else in the 7. Works out great.
Grocery tote bags. The trick is finding the colors. Of course it only matters if you’re going to use a color code method. Regardless, ANY tote works well because it keeps things together. You can just pull out the whole bag, get what you want, and put it back.
The following multi color totes come in 10-packs. Some years ago I splurged and spent the money for the various colors. I initially had lots of extras. But you know what? I’m sure glad because we use them for other things! Like going out to the garden and harvesting a bunch of peppers (for example). Useful.
TOTES 10-packs of your color of choice
I just found this: Red, Green, Yellow, Teal, Gray (1 each)
( view on amzn )
Chest Freezer Inventory
We also take an inventory as we remove all totes. You might do it any way that you prefer. Whatever makes sense to you.
Mrs.J writes it down while I count and call it out. Afterwards I transfer that information over to the spreadsheet I keep for the freezers. I print it out, and she keeps it updated as contents are removed and/or resupplied in a given category (tote), etc.
It’s a great way to visualize what you have in there. Otherwise, food gets lost! Seriously. Even this recent inventory uncovered a few surprises. We generally take what we’ve found that’s the oldest and try to consume it first.
Temperature Alarm For Fridge / Freezer
I cannot leave without suggesting that you get a temperature alarm for your chest freezer. You sure do want to know if something goes wrong before you lose all that food!
I have a sensor for each freezer that sends a signal to a display readout which I keep upstairs next to the fridge (chest freezers downstairs). Of course they don’t make that model any longer. But here’s another which appears to be a popular choice:
Oh, one more thing… use Lithium batteries in those sensors because they’re great for cold weather.