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Chest Freezer organization tips


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13 replies to this topic

#1 rotuts

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 12:59 PM

I have an upright freezer, had it a long time and as a standard refrig. has 4 or 5 shelves.

ever couple of years I have to refrost it and i do this in the coldest part of the winter by putting its contents in heavy plastic bags overnight outside in the storm door entrance.

Ive decided to get a new energy efficient chest freezer and move things back and forth for the defrost.

I do a lot of Sous Vide now and before i get the Chest Id need a method to organize the Chest so I knew ware everything was. im guessing most chest freezers have stuff on the bottom that comes from the Real Ice Age.

in super markets they have some sort of items that partition the freezer space into sections. thats a start

any ideas on how to have and maintain a Chest where you know where everyting is?

I bet this group knows all about this.

cheers Happy Cooking!

#2 Mark Muller

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 01:30 PM

Stackable baskets/crates. That way you lift out the ones on top and can see what is in the ones on the bottom. I made some to fit my freezer out of some scrap wood I had laying around. Nothing fancy - just 3/4" plywood ends and 1/4" plywood slats connecting the ends.

#3 rotuts

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 01:41 PM

fine idea. I actually do wood working.

some interesting things in the past Ive made from pallets ( those wooden things stuff is stacked on ) that I find for free from places that import from the Orient:

why there? they use scrap hardwood not pine

beatifull wood just in odd pieces!

#4 LoftyNotions

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 01:44 PM

Stackable baskets/crates. That way you lift out the ones on top and can see what is in the ones on the bottom. I made some to fit my freezer out of some scrap wood I had laying around. Nothing fancy - just 3/4" plywood ends and 1/4" plywood slats connecting the ends.

+1
my wife found some old wire milk crates that work perfectly. they stack 2 high and there's still room to pack stuff on top. Plywood would be great also.

larry

Edited to add space

Edited by LoftyNotions, 25 May 2011 - 01:45 PM.

Larry Lofthouse

#5 Boilerfood

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 03:52 PM


Stackable baskets/crates. That way you lift out the ones on top and can see what is in the ones on the bottom. I made some to fit my freezer out of some scrap wood I had laying around. Nothing fancy - just 3/4" plywood ends and 1/4" plywood slats connecting the ends.

+1
my wife found some old wire milk crates that work perfectly. they stack 2 high and there's still room to pack stuff on top. Plywood would be great also.

larry

Edited to add space


+2

I just finished defrosting my chest freezer, and realized that without the milk crates that I put in the bottom, I would be totally lost.

EDIT: Fonix

Edited by Boilerfood, 25 May 2011 - 03:53 PM.


#6 KennethT

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 04:31 PM

+3 - but I go one step further by numbering the crates, and then made an excel spreadsheet with the complete contents of the freezer, and the location. So now, when I wonder if I have something, I don't have to open the freezer to find out - I can look at the spreadsheet, see how much I have and see exactly where it is. Since I don't add or remove stuff that often, updating isn't a big deal...

#7 brucesw

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 10:15 PM

Nicer chest freezers (i.e., more expensive) will have ridges from which to suspend baskets and will come equipped with such baskets, I think. An old Sears chest that my folks had for over 30 years had two levels of baskets that slid back and forth and below that, 3 sections with fixed, vertical dividers. The thing was huge. I bought a budget chest freezer from Sam's, one of the best purchases I ever made. It came with no baskets although it did have a ridge along the front and back just below the lid from which baskets could be suspended. It was an Estate brand which I found was made by GE as I recall, so I looked at equivalent GE models, tape measure in hand, and bought a couple of baskets made for those models that that fit mine perfectly. Then I did what others have done, found other baskets that would fit. In my case, mostly at a local store called The Container Store that specializes in organizing equipment, baskets, boxes, shelving, etc. Similar products will be available at Target, WM, BB&B and Amazon, probably, with less variety to choose from.

I've never been diligent enough to maintain an inventory but I do have a system of separating what goes where. I have one basket on the lower level devoted to sausages, mostly from Texas smokehouses; another is other frozen meat products, beef, pork, chicken, etc. One of the top baskets is where frozen, home-prepared dishes go, another is frozen vegetables, legumes, etc., that are used more often and I want to get to quickly. If I was more of a cook I'd need a bigger freezer for stocks, etc.

Mine is small enough that when I need to find something, if I remove all the baskets there isn't that much left to sort through.

Things still get lost and forgotten, though, but I find them when I defrost it periodically.

#8 rotuts

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 09:35 AM

Great tips. much appreciated. Ive seen those ridges on the top only so Ill be carefull to try to find one like that,

Ill go look at the container store first

many thanks!

#9 sparrowgrass

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 01:05 PM

I have been sorting stuff into big reusable canvas bags. I got some that are large and that stand up by themselves. They fit better than hard sided boxes or crates, and the handles make them easy to lift out to check underneath.

If your bags don't stand up well, try cutting a piece or cardboard or wood to fit the bottom.
sparrowgrass

#10 rotuts

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 02:07 PM

Oooooooooooooooooh

more great tips!

many thanks!

#11 andiesenji

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 05:34 PM

Just be careful with your back. I worked for an orthopedic surgeon for almost 40 years and I can't tell you how many times we had both men and women, who were pretty fit, limp in with a severe back problem from treating their back like a crane and trying to hoist something too heavy from the depths of a chest freezer.

I got rid of a perfectly good chest freezer and bought an upright thirty years ago when i saw this happen again and again - and had a few twinges myself. Plus the space it took up on the floor was bigger than I wanted and the space above it was mostly wasted. If they made one with an hydraulic lift, I might reconsider.
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#12 rotuts

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 10:31 AM

All good tips.

My plan for the Chest is it will be more efficient than the upright. i hope to set up "lanes" with similar suff:

SV this SV that TUrkeys etc

then use the Upright q. 2years after starting it up to move the stuff slowly in there while the chest defrosts.

where I live, the basement is humid in the summer. I have the space for it. im guessing as i open the chest more cold air will stay in it than the upright which all spills out and is replaced by humid air which just adds to the future defrosting.

many thanks!

#13 DanM

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:09 PM

Bump! Are there any new ideas? We just bought one at a really great price. I need to get some ideas for the short period that I will use it as a freezer... before converting it to lagering and keg duties. ;) Maybe I should get some FIFO labels for everything that goes in there?

Dan
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#14 HungryC

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:23 PM

My chest freezer, a fairly inexpensive model, has the sliding baskets described above. Plus, the space below is divided into bins by plastic separators. Thus, you can fill each compartment by category (beef, poultry, etc) and things are easily accessible. I try to keep cooked frozen foods apart from frozen raw materials. I haven't had any problems with ice buildup or forgotten things at the bottom. I do keep it full of ice in food safe containers....which help to fill up the bottom, raising the good stuff to more accessible levels, and serving to make the freezer run more efficiently and as an emergency drinking water reserve.