Organizing a Top Freezer

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Rachel at Useful Beautiful Home.

As promised, I’ve been organizing a top freezer. Since I only have a side-by-side, my friend was kind enough to let me root around in her kitchen freezer and come up with a few solutions to organize a freezer located above the refrigerator.

Organizing a Top Freezer at orgjunkie.com
Although this type of freezer unit may be challenging at times to organize, I’m sure you already know it’s proven to be the best economical choice. You may have to think a little outside the icebox :) when it comes to organizing this zone but the big bucks you save make up for it! Now you can re-invest that savings in a few containers to keep your space both economical and functional.

Everyone’s food preferences and storage needs are uniquely different. Therefore, my goal today is to share some visual inspiration for those who are looking to organize their top-freezer. Hopefully, you’ll find something that sparks your interest and will work in your kitchen freezer too!

Let’s take a look inside my friend, Mollie’s top-freezer before we started organizing…

Organizing a Top Freezer
Look familiar to anyone? Don’t worry Mollie, we ALL have our share of these freezer days! What a good an awesome friend to let me publish pictures of her unorganized freezer! And here’s the “before” shot of the door…

Organizing a Top Freezer Door
I started with some basic measurements of the inside of her freezer to know what size of containers I needed. Then I followed the same guidelines I talked about HERE, which are similar to Laura’s freezer organizing tips HERE.

Step 1: Empty the Freezer in Stages

Yes, she kindly let me empty the contents of her freezer and together we gave it a good wipe down. Emptying it helped us take a general inventory of her storage needs. I did this in three stages; the top half, the bottom half, and the door section. As mentioned last time, I empty in stages to keep from defrosting the entire contents of the freezer.

Step 2: Tidy-up and/or Condense Items

Next, we sorted. Actually, as I emptied a section of the freezer we would sort through that inventory, put it back, and then move on to the next section. Again, this is to keep those valuable goods frozen. The point of this is to pick through what was outdated or able to be condensed so we only invested in what she wanted to keep.

Step 3: Group Similar Items Together

Together we categorized her items and reviewed her needs for freezer functionality. Mollie reasonably stocks up on meat and other perishable items when they go on sale. I wanted to make sure there was room for her to continue this practice. Grouping like-with-like gives her a good idea on what is running low or what she has in excess. Her main category groups are…

  • raw meats
  • bread goods
  • baking ingredients/flours
  • convenience meals (like chicken nuggets or prepared ravioli)
  • and meals or sauces she had previously frozen for family dinners

The groups that were larger (listed above) got an individual container. The random things that were a smaller group or not a group at all went in the door space or in gaps like you see below.

Using every inch of a top freezer
For example, she doesn’t keep many freezer packs, so we tossed them in a narrow container and slid it right along the small gap to the left of all the meat.

Every inch of space used in a top freezer

Step 4: Containerize

I used three different types of products inside this top-freezer to best utilize every inch but also stay within the budget.

The first container (and my favorite for this type of freezer) was a large, white Akro bin found at the Container Store (HERE) and pictured below.

Freezer Organizing
We used these large sized bins across the bottom of her freezer to contain all the raw frozen meats. Three can fit comfortably on the bottom shelf of a top-freezer with a little room to spare on the side. For this particular freezer, they were just the right height leaving enough room to reach inside. FYI, these bins can stack too, so you have versatility if you change the layout down the road.

Perfect bins used in a top freezer for organizing contents
I like the design of this bin. It’s easy to reach inside while also keeping the contents well confined. Typically I like to dedicate the lowest space of any refrigerator or freezer to raw meats, but a top-freezer layout can be too small for blocking off an entire shelf. So, using containers to keep raw meats separated in case of a spill is equally as effective.

Also (and my favorite reason), they have a label built into the front edge. For those of us who love labels, could it get any better? I don’t have a good picture of this container label but I’ll be back next time with more on labels. Oh, and the price point is relatively low compared to most freezer organizing systems.

My final thought on this type of container, they are not specifically labeled as “food safe”. However, Mollie was okay using them to store her meat since everything was individually packaged in food safe baggies. The containers don’t specifically say “food safe” but they are BPA-free.

Just perfect for organizing freezer contents of a top freezer
The next container we used was a medium sized multi-purpose bin (also found at the Container Store HERE).

Perfect sized bin for organizing a top freezer
They’re narrow enough to be lined alongside each other and just the right height to fill the open space on the top shelf. We used three of these as well. From left to right, we containerized her sauces & pre-frozen meals, breads & dough, and convenience foods.

compact storage bins for organizing a top freezer
You can see where we tucked this Southern girl’s frozen pecans in the small open space on the right. The trick is to freeze them flat and then stand upright like you see below.

Freeze pecans flat and stack vertically to use less space in a top freezer
Finally, we used two clear Pantry Binz (found HERE or currently on sale HERE) for a few random items.

This bin fits perfectly inside a top freezer door to organize the small items
One holds her freezer packs and the other sits inside the door to contain her small bags of baking goods like chocolate chips and coconut flakes.

Organized bake-goods in a top freezer
Also, you will see below, we used the door itself as a container for other baking ingredients like flour and the butter she stocked up when on sale. Between the butter and pecans, I was ready to whip up a pecan pie for all our hard work.

How to organize a  top freezer and still have room for stockpiled items!
Since everyone loves a good side-by-side comparison, I’ll let the pictures below speak for themselves. Here’s the overall inside “after” picture…

Top freezer organized after photo
And the “after” picture of the door…

Freezer door organized
And one final comparison photo…

Organizing a Top-Freezer before and after
Now, I know what you’re thinking… “isn’t she missing a final step?” Yes, I feel the same. Perhaps there should be a 5th step in my freezer process that includes labeling. Some people label their freezer categories because everything looks the same when covered in a frosty layer of cold. I may or may not have something else up my sleeve, but you’ll have to stay tuned for next time. ;) Until then, click the links below to recap past freezer organizing topics.

Quick Tips for Organizing the Deep Freezer

Freezer Fix for Empty Spaces

Upright Freezer Organization Tips

Thank you Mollie for letting me photograph and organize your freezer. And thank you Organizing Junkie readers for mentioning top-freezer organizing in the comments!

Rachel

In the professional world, I’m a nurse by trade. But, around our house, I’m known as Mommy to our young daughter. My two worlds collided and began shaping into a blog. Useful Beautiful Home represents the hours I’ve dedicated to managing my household as efficiently as possible. I offer you motivation to keep your home healthy, organized, and welcoming. My goal is to share what I’ve implemented in my home to inspire you with fresh ideas and to encourage you to keep up the good work in yours! Learn more about me HERE or visit me at UsefulBeautifulHome.com.

Linking up: A Bowl Full of Lemons, House of Rose, Design Dining and DiapersThirty Handmade Days, Six Sisters Stuff

Filed under: Guest Bloggers, Kitchen, Rachel
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Comments

8 Responses to Organizing a Top Freezer

  1. 1
    Molly says

    It’s as if you were here. I needed this so much. Thanks

  2. 2
    Sarah @ Play 2 Learn with Sarah says

    OMG! My freezer definitely looks like the before picture…thank you for these tips! I’m going shopping RIGHT NOW to get this organized!

  3. 3
    Kemi Quinn says

    Nice! I have those containers from the Container Store. Unfortunately they’re packed right now but I’m bookmarking this for when we move.

  4. 4
    Terri | Sugar Free Glow says

    I have to do this with our store room refrigerator/freezer. I also have tons of frozen pecans–like too much for one family. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. 5
    Mollie Hayes says

    I love it! I can’t believe that my freezer could look so beautiful! it makes me happy just to open it and look inside!! thank you!!!

  6. 6
    Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens says

    Yep, yep – my back-up freezer is a “top” model, and it looks exactly like Mollie’s “before” pics (or, ummmmmmm … maybe worse! :D). Great ideas – and I’m feeling so inspired to tackle this project and get organized – I hate wasting food because I forget what i’ve got stocked in there! Thanks for the awesome tips! :D

  7. 7
    Mary says

    Hi, This was just in time for me. My freezer looks like that also, what a good idea. I am off to get containers and I know this will be a big help. thanks for info

  8. 8
    Herre. says

    Thanks! I was always afraid that putting the food into containers would reduce their ability to remain frozen but seeing this makes me happy!!

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