Creative Organization: Organize Foods in the Deep Freezer w/ Printables

Over the years I’ve learned many ways to save money on groceries (without coupons!) When you have four growing boys who will eat everything in the house when not monitored then you have to keep said house stocked well. In comes the deep (chest) freezer. This freezer was a gift to us so I am not complaining. However, I would not have purchased a deep freezer given the choice. I’ve had an upright freezer and I know how easy they are to maintain and organize. Deep freezers pose many challenges in these areas yet they are the most purchased of the two since they are much less expensive.

I used to keep a log of everything in my deep freezer, especially since it is so difficult to tell what is in there at times. Ribs on top of chicken on top of sausage… I’ve had many “where’s the beef?” moments in my home. The problem is that even if you can maintain that freezer inventory list then you still have to dig everything out of the freezer in order to find your small pack of stew meat. And I guarantee you that if you are short on time it will be all the way in the back corner at the very bottom and when you find it the plastic will be ripped. *sigh* If you have a deep freezer then you are probably familiar with this scenario.

Well, I found a solution that works for us. Maybe you can work it in your home too.

First, I reuse all of my plastic baggies as extra reinforcement for the meats. That way if they are handled a bit too rough the main plastic covering won’t tear.

Second, I no longer retire my reusable shopping bags. At first when meats would contaminate the bag or when they would start to become unsturdy then I would place them in the recycle bin. Then one day I got smart and decided to organize my freezer using those bags. Now all of my poultry is in one bag, all of my beef is in another and so on. It also makes it easy to lift them out of the freezer to get to the seafood bag.

BONUS: Having our meats in these bags has saved us money more than once since little boys in a hurry to get back outside with their Popsicles tend to leave the freezer lid up. The bags insulate all of the frozen meat and even after 9 hours of leaving the lid up they were still rock solid. Yes, said Popsicle children are tortured disciplined for leaving the lid open.

Once I started using the bags to organize I realized just how mundane and time consuming it is to keep that freezer inventory list. Let’s not mention that it drove my ADDness crazy because I can’t stand for something to be scratched through or not neat and organized and doing it on the computer and reprinting it each time wasn’t feasible. I tried creating many different printables for the freezer inventory and I couldn’t find one method that I liked. It was just too much work to deal with. Then I got the idea to tag my bags.

I made dozens and dozens of tags, color coding each according to their meat bag:

  • red: beef
  • light blue: seafood
  • purple: venison (deer meat)
  • green: poultry
  • orange: pork
  • bright blue: everything else (lamb, bison, etc)

I made tags for all of the types/cuts of meats I buy regularly and made enough for about how many I purchase or how I bag them. Example, I usually have 7-10 two pound packs of ground beef in my freezer at a time because I stock up when it is on sale so I made 10 red ground beef tags. I use binder clips (don’t you just love binder clips?) to attach the tags to the corresponding bags.

I have printables for the tags that I use. I have provided each color. All printables are in .doc files and can be edited using Microsoft Word or the free open source software called Open Office. To customize them you only need to find the text box, type in the name of the meat, change the font to how you want it and save. After you customize them to suit your needs print them out on cardstock. Then to make it easy to get them on and off of the binder clip (without opening the clip each time) hole punch the tip and cut a slit from the side to the hole punch. It makes it super easy to add or take away tags as needed and makes freezer inventory lists unnecessary.

Now when I go to my chest freezer to find venison backstrap I simply look for the purple tags, sift through the tags to make sure I have that particular meat and if I do then I remove it from the bag and slide the tag off and drop it in my tag holder. When one of my boys bring home more deer backstrap from a hunting excursion then I can add it back. Super simple, yeah?

Download Printables:

Many more printables to come! Subscribe by RSS reader so you don’t miss any!

To read the other posts in this series visit: 31 Days of Free Printables

Are you a 31 Dayer? If so leave me a comment and let me know. If you want to be a 31 Dayer link up with Nester, Darcy, Jen, Jessica, Melissa, Sandy, Emily and Emily.

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Comments

  1. Marissa says:

    Question… Would you be able to laminate these labels so that they don’t get ruined? Or do your tags hold up pretty well? I’m borrowing a laminator but i don’t know if i’ll be able to cut these out or if that would ruin the hold the laminator made? haha i obviously don’t know the correct terminology for a laminator lol

  2. OH WOW! I LOVE YOU! I am sharing with EVERYONE I know. I was racking my brain on the best bin that won’t shatter, how to know what I have…. and your idea is genius, simple and inexpensive!

    THANK YOU!

  3. brilliant! I love that the deep freezer stays cold for days if closed, and everything stays frozen when open by children getting ice cream treats for 12 hours. That’s about all I love it for. The ripped bags at the bottom of my freezer continually annoy me. I think this might make me love organizing my freezer. I’ll have to swap the pork one for frozen veggies or something.Thanks so much for the tips and labels!

  4. Love this idea! And you even provide the printables for the tags! I do love our deep freezer. It’s a chest style one and it’s quite big. I organized it with similarly-shaped & sized boxes (from Costco) and all meat & bread is categorized, veggies go in 2 hanging baskets…

    This system works, however, sometimes it’s hard for short people like myself (5’3) to lean way over into the freezer to grab a particular package of meat. My old reusable upright-style grocery bags would be perfect! Then I could easily just reach in, lift up bag & grab what I need!

    All that to say… THANK YOU for sharing this great idea and for the printables! 😉

  5. Thank you so much for these great ideas! I have been searching the web all day for ideas to organize our deep freezer, but your post was the first that gave many creative solutions to the problems of tons of stuff in one huge cold box! I also love the printables, and am going to use them for our veggies too, since we do a lot of freezing from our garden and CSA produce.

  6. LOVE this idea!! I have been struggling with coming up with the perfect printable too…it was making me crazy with all the pencil mark-throughs, etc. Great ideas!

  7. YOU ARE A GENIUS!! I am so doing this color coding tag system in August when I get my big GI Bill stipen!! PURE GENIUS!!

  8. Giulianna Rigali says:

    Oh my gosh, Amy…I love this idea! 🙂  I have “hot/cold” bags that I use to transport my cold groceries home during the summer. I am going to store my meat in them…just in case the electricity ever goes out…my meat should stay good for a lot of hours this way. Love, love, love the tag idea…and idea that is workable for me!

  9. This is brilliant!

  10. Thank you for taking the time to share what works for your family. (we have four sons, too!) What I see as a huge benefit to this type of system (for anything really) is that you now have a way to see what needs stocked up on! When you have lots of ground beef tags it’s time to look for deals. Etc. Very nice.
    Dawn
    Also like the bins idea someone shared, but I find plastic cracks sooo easily when it’s frozen so you’d have to be pretty picky about the type.

  11. This is great!!! I love your ideas and the labels. I’m doing 31 Days of Family Fun!

  12. Love the tags! We have a newer deep freeze and this is a great answer to my mounting frustrations in finding anything in there. Thank you for sharing another of your brilliant ideas!

  13. This is a great idea and I love the tags. I also like this idea for fridge freezers http://www.redbookmag.com/recipes-home/tips-advice/clutter-tips (idea 6 of 12, if it doesn’t open on the right idea), which uses plastic bins to hold bagged veggies and meats. While an upright freezer is great for organizing, one of the advantages to having a chest freezer, especially if there is the potential for it to be left open like your has, is that cold air sinks, so the food will naturally stay cold for longer than if a fridge or upright freezer door were to be left open, with the cold air “falling” out the bottom.

  14. I love your idea with the tags! Not sure if I could be that organized, though. lol I have a deep freezer and have no idea what’s in there. The bag idea is a good one. I could see myself doing that!

    I’m doing 31 Days of Holiday Baking. 🙂 This is fun.

    Cindy

  15. Love this idea! We were blessed with an upright as a gift and were able to pass on our deep chest freezer to someone else. The chest freezer and its organizational challenges always drove me crazy. Wish I would have had this idea in my arsenal then…I may have kept the chest freezer…maybe.

  16. Great ideas! I just got a deep freezer this past week and am excited to start using it. (We will be getting 1/4 of my parents’ cow next month so it will be full soon!)

  17. Thank you so much for your wonderful and very valuable tips and printables! I learn so much from you!

  18. I love the tag idea. I just made up a freezer inventory list a couple of weeks ago, and it’s already out of date because I keep forgetting to update it. So now it’s useless. I like the idea of using the cloth shopping bags. I have about a million.

    Oh, and I’m glad that my kids aren’t the only ones who leave the freezer door up.

  19. Hi there! I’m a first time 31 day-er and I saw you on the link up. 🙂

    I love this idea! Freezer inventory lists overwhelm me. This is just such a great, simple way to organize the freezer. If mine was big enough, I’d snag me some of these tags! Thanks so much for sharing! I am looking forward to reading more!

Trackbacks

  1. […] reading this blog post by Amy Bayliss at Cajun Joie de Vivre, Creative Organization: Organize Foods in the D…I was inspired to clean out and organize my deep freeze using the method Amy Bayliss […]

  2. […] I started searching the internet for the perfect freezer inventory printable and while I was doing that I came across this blog post by Amy Bayliss at Cajun Joie de Vivre, Creative Organization: Organize Foods in the D… […]

  3. […] out Amy Bay Liss’s post HERE (you will find the labels here […]

  4. […] Amy Bayliss this week is for keeping track of what is in your deep freeze (you lucky people) using colour coded and labelled tags. The printables are customizable  and this is why I say never to pay for printables – so […]




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