Our New Stocked and Organized Deep Freezer

posted by Andrea | 08/11/2011

When we moved — way back in December — we sold our deep freezer with our house {it was old and too big for our new house}. However, it only took me two weeks to realize how much I missed having an extra freezer!

So I started looking to find a deal via Craigslist… and I kept looking with very little luck. I told myself that I should wait to find a deal but decided that if I didn’t find a deal by August 1, I would buy a NEW freezer.

Well, the months went on, and all the freezers were either too big, too small, too old, or too expensive. So when August 1 rolled around, I headed to Lowe’s with a 10% off coupon and purchased the exact freezer I wanted {don’t worry, I did my research!}

It’s the largest freezer we could buy that would also fit down our basement stairs, it’s energy star rated, and it was delivered and moved to our basement for free the next day! Plus we have $150 of coverage if any of our food spoils due to a malfunction or power outage, and a 3-year warranty covering ANYTHING that could possibly go wrong {except if we leave the door open}.

I figure that since a new freezer costs about $45 per year to run, and older models can cost over $150 per year to run, the new freezer will pay for itself in about 3 years — the warranty and free delivery also helped seal the deal!

I suppose sometimes it’s worth it to get brand new!

I’m so excited to have a big freezer again — just in time to start cooking and baking ahead for the busy back-to-school season, the holiday season, and for whenever baby Dekker decides to arrive {3 months to go}!

However, since I haven’t had much freezer space for the past 7 months, I had to do some serious grocery shopping to stock up our new freezer. So, I gathered up my coupons, scoured the weekly fliers, made a huge grocery list, and headed to the store on Monday.

Thanks to a bunch of really good sales at Meijer, multiple coupons, and a special 20% credit card deal, I was able to purchase everything you see in the picture above plus our entire weeks worth of groceries for only $38.12 and I saved almost $100!!!!!!

{All of this was done simply by pairing store deals with manufacture and store coupons — plus I had a 20% off grocery coupon thanks to my Meijer credit card} See some of my favorite coupon resources and start finding your own deals!

{yup, I’m a dork — but I just had to take a picture with this monstrous receipt and my growing belly!}

Since this deep freezer is a bit smaller than our last deep freezer, I’ll have to work extra hard to keep it organized. Here are some of my freezer organizing tips…

Tips to Organizing a Freezer:

1. Date and label EVERYTHING!

There is nothing worse than spending valuable time and money preparing casseroles, soups, broths, and baked goods and then not being able to find them back again.

Keep a roll of masking tape or stick-on address labels and a Sharpie right in your kitchen and then label the date and contents of everything you put into your freezer.

2. Keep the freezer full, but not jammed full.

Your freezer will actually work harder to stay cold if it’s not full. However if it’s too full, the air won’t be able to circulate, so you could end up with warm spots {which cause freezer burn}.

Since our freezer isn’t very full yet, I filled extra milk jugs, juice container and pop bottles 3/4th full with water and put them in the freezer. They will help the freezer stay cold and use less energy. And as I fill it with more food, I will simply remove those containers.

3. Use square or rectangle containers to save space.

You will save SO much space by packaging everything in square or rectangle containers as they are easier to stack and they fit nicely together.

I often use shoe boxes to organize lunch meat, block cheese, shredded cheese, baking supplies, and other small items that can easily get pushed to the back {I know, I use shoe boxes for everything!}. Here are some of my other space-saving freezer tips.

4. Use Freezer Bags

This probably is not the most environmentally friendly option, but I like to stock up on freezer bags when they go on sale and use them to freeze pre-measured portions of fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, baked goods, and even soups, stews, and broths.

This way, the food freezes flat and defrosts much quicker {just make sure to defrost liquids in a shallow dish in case they leak}. Plus, I can simply pull out however many bags I need for a specific recipe!

5. Create Freezer “Zones”

Think of your freezer like your closet… you most likely keep all your shirts in one place, your pants in one place, and your shoes in another place…right? Well, you can do the same thing for your freezer to keep it neat and organized.

I keep all the fruits and veggies in the door, the sweet treats on the top shelf, frozen meals on the 2nd shelf, lunch meats, cheese, and mics. on the 3rd shelf, and roasts/chicken/pork chops/etc. in the bottom drawer. This makes it easy to find anything I need within minutes.

 

Other Posts I’ve Writing about Freezing:

Still looking for more information about freezing? Check out the links below.

I’ll try to keep you updated as I work to come up with more delicious freezer meals… and please feel free to pass along any of your favorite freezable foods as well!

Do you have any great tips for keep your freezer stocked and organized?

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Filed under: FoodFreezer CookingTips and Tools

 
 

17 comments

  1. Tammy

    08/11/2011

    I just wanted to say that many homeowner policies cover food spoilage (often up to $500) as part of the policy, might be worth a quick call to find out. I am planning on taking the challenge of planning meals around sales, I think I figured out which day meat is marked down at a local store so that should help too!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good to know Tammy — although, we have a $500 deductible, so I’m wondering if we would have to pay the deductible first?

    Either way, it’s definitely worth looking into!

    [Reply]

  2. Tammy

    08/11/2011

    sorry, meant to clarify, they often do NOT require you to pay your deductible for it either. We were in Oklahoma City during the May 3, 1999 and didn’t have power for weeks so they covered our fridge food then. Again in 2006 we had a long term power outage in PA and they covered our freezer food then too. It’s something worth considering so you don’t pay for double coverage.

    [Reply]

  3. Rachel

    08/11/2011

    Andrea,
    Would you be willing to show a close up picture of your receipt? I am curious as to what foods you can get when you do the whole ‘savings angel’ method. (Not saying you actually do saving’s angel…but it looks like you use that philosophy!) If you can’t show the receipt up close maybe make a list of what you bought? I really want to bring down our grocery bill! Also, do you buy the GR press coupons to do this? Isn’t it like $10 a month for those?
    Okay, sorry so many questions but I would really appreciate an e-mail or post with an example of one of your awesome shopping trips!! :) :)
    Thank you! By the way, cute picture – you look great!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Rachel,
    First of all, I do NOT do Saving’s Angel… however I do use the similar concept of pairing coupons with store sales {my mom taught me how to do that from a very early age so I don’t need to pay someone else to do it for me!}

    Second, we DO buy the GR Press. My husband would be lost if he couldn’t read it cover-to-cover every single day. It costs about $100 per year to get the paper every day, the Sunday coupons are just a bonus! Plus I easily save over $100 every single MONTH by having those coupons and sale ads, so it’s totally worth the price even if Dave didn’t read it every day.

    Third, I’m sorry to say that I already shredded my Meijer receipt. However, if you look in my post, there’s a link to some of my favorite “deal bloggers”. I would suggest following a couple of their blogs and watch how they get specific deals at specific stores. That’s the best way to learn how to use coupons… at least in my opinion.

    Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

  4. Heidi

    08/11/2011

    Hi Andrea! Would you be willing to share the make/model of freezer you bought and why you chose that one? We need to get one soon so I can order a half a cow! :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Heidi,
    Our freezer is a Frigidaire MANUAL Defrost freezer 14.1 cubic feet.

    The only reason we purchased this freezer is because it was the largest size that could also fit down the stairs. Plus it was the cheapest of the other manual defrost freezers at Lowe’s {I got it from Lowe’s b/c I had a coupon and they offer free delivery and installation!!}

    There is really no specific reason why we chose this exact freezer — the ONLY thing we were really looking for was a manual defrost freezer because those are much better than “frost free freezers” for storing food for extended periods {a lot less freezer burn}. I also prefer upright freezers over chest freezers because they take up less floor space and it’s SO much easier to see and organize everything inside. You never have to dig through piles of food to find what you want at the bottom!

    So my best advice would be to decide how much storage you need and then look for an appropriate size MANUAL defrost freezer!

    Good luck!

    [Reply]

  5. Ann

    08/12/2011

    This looks like the same freezer we have. Some words of caution:
    Do not let anything set on the front metal edge of each shelf. The door will close and all will seem okay but frost problems will happen. Make sure everything is further back than that edge!
    We have not had success keeping breads/buns in the door. They easily get freezer burn there. We usually keep butter, margarine, frozen concentrate cans of juice, etc. in the door.
    We keep our door locked just to ensure that it does not get left open. (You know, when you’re in a hurry and have your hands full and just knock it shut with your hip or when one of the kids gets ice cream, etc. If you have to stop and lock it, you know it is closed!)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Ann,
    Our freezer is a “Manual Defrost” freezer — is yours? With a manual defrost, it’s much less likely for anything to get freezer burn — but I’ll agree that bread would probably be one f the first things to get freezer burn.

    And yes, we have a key with ours too so we will most likely keep it locked!

    [Reply]

  6. Kristen @ Joyfullythriving

    08/14/2011

    Congrats on the new freezer! It really is the best frugal tool. I have a very similar one to you, too, that my parents and siblings bought for our wedding present two years ago. It really helps me save money, stay organized and plan ahead…although you already know that! :-) Good job filling it at Meijer, too! Speaking of, I’m off to make my weekly Meijer shopping list….

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kristine,
    Hope you got some great deals at Meijer. Between all the frozen food I purchased and a HUGE amount of baking/cooking I did this weekend, our freezer is nearly full. What a great way to start off a new school year!

    [Reply]

  7. Jolynn

    08/29/2011

    hey andrea……
    your freezer is looking a little bit more like mine! i unfortunately have 2 chest freezers – would love to have an upright one, though! i love how full they are after the fruit seasons are done!!! Hope you have fun with your new girls tonight!!!
    jolynn

    [Reply]

  8. Leigh

    10/30/2011

    Something I do to make freezer bags (& bread bags, cereal bags etc etc) a little more enviro friendly is to make sure I re-use them. After I’ve used them in the freezer, they are washed with the dishes, air-dryed, folded & stored in my saran/baggie drawer. The ziplocks will be used for food storage again but all the assorted bags I use for wrapping up dirty diapers so they don’t stick up the garbage (too much, anyway!) before it full & ready to be taken out.

    [Reply]

  9. Nina

    12/01/2011

    After viewing all of your helpful freezer ideas, you have made me more motivated in getting a deep freezer. I’ve always wanted one but never really made an effort to even look for one. Now, I need to start shopping for one. Thanks! ;)

    [Reply]

  10. Emily

    07/10/2012

    Stumbled across this website and, as I poor 21 year old, I am LOVING your freezer ideas and recipes! Fantastic way to save both time and money! Thanks a lot for sharing. :-)

    [Reply]

  11. Nancy

    09/05/2012

    Hi Andrea ~ I was wondering what you normally keep in your kitchen freezer. The reason I ask is because I am trying to develop a good system to use in my home. I am fortunate to have a side by side in the kitchen, a secondary fridge with top freezer in garage and a deep freezer in the garage, but I lose track of what’s in each one. So, I am trying to decide what to put in each freezer. I know I want meats in the deep freeze because we buy in bulk (1/2 side beef, 1/2 side of pork, etc). It’s really the two smaller freezers that I’m not sure how to best use the space. So ~ what do you think? Thanks so much for your blog ~ love it!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good question Nancy — but I honestly don’t have an exact answer. Our kitchen freezer is small so we usually just keep ice cubes, ice packs, one container of ice-cream (the rest are down stairs), usually some frozen waffles, frozen cookies, frozen juice, one loaf of bread, and probably some lunch meat and ground hamburger.
    I’m always rotating it though — like when I come home from the grocery store or when we run out of something upstairs, I restock from the downstairs freezer.

    [Reply]

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