How to declutter a freezer in 6 simple steps

The experts share their advice for how to declutter a freezer like a pro

An image of neat and ordered freezer with items stacked neatly on shelves and in caddies
(Image credit: Let Your Space Bloom / Amy Bloomer)

It's time to figure out how to declutter a freezer when you struggle to find what you're looking for in there, or can't close the door. 

One minute your freezer is empty, and the next, each drawer and shelf is overflowing with frozen food. No worries though — our expert declutters have stepped in with six steps to tackle the tundra in your kitchen.

To give you a helping hand dealing, our professionals know exactly how to get an overflowing appliance decluttered, a key task when organizing a small kitchen

How to declutter a freezer like a pro

When organizing a freezer, professional declutterer Shantae Duckworth says, “Clearing out your appliance is an essential part of keeping your kitchen in great working order, and it can help you save money by allowing for bulk food shopping and freezing."

Shantae Duckworth
Shantae Duckworth

Shantae Duckworth is a professional organizer and founder of Shantaeize Your Space in Seattle, Washington. She is a Member of National Association of Black Professional Organizers, and Member of Black Girls Who Organize Group. She is a public speaker and writer about organization as well.

1. Prepare for the task

An image of a freezer shelf with food bagged up and stacked inside

(Image credit: Canva)

When dealing with any small kitchens that have too much stuff, preparation before the task will serve you well.

Prepping the area and gathering the items you need will stop ice from your freezer melting over the floor, and prevent your frozen food from unwittingly defrosting and going to waste. 

Shantae says, “Start by gathering necessary supplies such as a cooler (an insulated portable cooler from Amazon would work well) with smart tools to keep things cold (these non-toxic slimline ice packs from Amazon are highly-rated), garbage bags, and cleaning materials.”

You might also consider old towels or rags for any unexpected spills, gloves to keep you hands warm while shifting lots of frozen foods, and boxes to group similar items into.

2. Empty your freezer

Organizing expert, Kelleigh Beckett says, “Switch off your freezer and take everything out. You'll want to be speedy here to keep your food from thawing.” 

Place frozen food into your pre-prepared cooler with ice packs to keep things cold while doing the rest. If your freezer has lots of ice built up, place a tray or bowl under the freezer and use a pallet knife to gently chisel it off. That old towel will come in handy to catch any additional drips. 

Kelleigh Beckett
Kelleigh Beckett

Kelleigh Beckett, is a homemaking strategist and expert. Over her 15-year career, she has blended education from the International Institute of Home Management with real-life wisdom from raising six kids. Certified in 2012, she's also a NAPO member. 

3. Group frozen items

An image of a freezer drawer with see-through bags of colourful vegetables including peas, zucchini, sweetcorn, carrots and cabbage,

(Image credit: Canva)

For easy grouping, Shantae says, “Lay items on a clean surface, categorizing them as you go. This provides a clear view of what you have and makes it easier to decide what to keep.”

On deciding which bits to throw away, she adds, “Go through each item and check for expiration dates. Discard anything past its prime or with signs of freezer burn. This step ensures you only keep items that is safe and enjoyable to consume.” 

For ease when searching for things later, opt for color coding your freezer items categories y with bright stickers (removable freezer label from Amazon work well) or a label maker (like this handheld label maker from Target) for more specific information inclusion. 

4. Clean the freezer

Step four of how to declutter a freezer is giving the appliance a thorough clean.

When cleaning a freezer, Shantae says, “Wipe down shelves, clean spills, and ensure everything is in good condition before placing items back in.” This be checking shelves are secure and drawers moving freely on their runners.

For easy cleaning, Kelleigh says, “Just mix a little warm water with some dish soap (we recommend Dawn dish soap from Amazon ) or a dash of baking soda (we like Arm & Hammer baking soda from Amazon). No need for any commercial cleaners or harsh chemicals.”

Don't forget to clean removable shelves and drawers separately, allowing them to first come to room temperature before washing to avoid cracking.

Kelleigh stresses the importance of drying it off really well. “You don’t want any water hanging around when you turn the freezer back on," she says, "or you'll end up with an unwanted mini ice age in there.”

As a finishing touch, place an open box of baking soda or a natural deodorizer to absorb any lingering odors.

5. Invest in organization tools

An image of a neatly organized freezer with clear plastic boxes filled with fruit including strawberries and peaches

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Now your freezer is clean and clear of clutter, the next step is deciding how you’re going to organize the space going forward. 

To make storing food easier, Shantae says, “Optimize your freezer space with stackable containers (like these plastic containers from Target highly rated by shoppers). Invest in clear bins or baskets to easily group similar items. This not only makes it easy to locate what you need but also prevents items from getting lost in the depths of your freezer. 

“Label each container for quick identification and consider using different colors for various categories. The stackable design maximizes vertical space, creating a neat and accessible storage solution.”

For making it easier to know where each category of item is stored, Shantae advises designating specific areas to categories such as meat, vegetables, and frozen meals. This way, you'll always know where to go for your items, and makes putting groceries away more efficient. “

6. Keep your freezer clutter-free

Once you’ve decluttered your freezer, the last thing that you want is for it to get in a mess again, so knowing how to keep it free of clutter going forward is important. 

To keep an eye on frozen goods, Shantae says, “Create a list of items and their expiration dates, attaching it to the freezer door or a nearby surface. This not only helps you keep track of what you have, but also prevents overbuying or forgetting about items buried the back. 

“Update the list regularly and use it as a quick reference when planning meals. By maintaining an inventory, you'll reduce food waste, save time, and keep a well-organized freezer at all times.”

Amy Bloomer, professional organizer, adds, “Declutter your freezer at the beginning of each season and after major food-centric holidays and celebrations. This keeps space available and ready to receive the tastes of the new season.” 

Amy Bloomer
Amy Bloomer

Amy Bloomer is a professional organizer who has an MA in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University. Amy has been in thousands of homes, helping families, professionals and retirees transform their space.

When it comes to decluttering your freezer and keeping it clutter-free, Kelleigh says, “Remember, the secret to a freezer that serves you well is keeping up with it. A little regular maintenance goes a long way in managing space and making sure your food stays good and tasty.”

Now that you’ve decluttered and cleaned your freezer, keep going and move onto cleaning your fridge next. 

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.