How to organize a small freezer like the experts

Brilliant organizing tips to make your freezer feel twice as big

An image of an open freezer drawer that's got bags of neatly organized foods inside it
(Image credit: Canva)

Whether you’re storing a batch cook and need to know how to organize a small freezer better, or you’re stocking up on supplies and imminently running out of room, our expert guide on sorting it out is jam-packed in all the right ways.

Regardless of how small your freezer is, organizing and maximizing every last inch is doable. We've spoken to a panel of experts who’ve shared their best advice for clearing out your freezer and transforming it into a more ordered space. 

Knowing where to start when organizing a freezer can feel like a mammoth task, but with the right approach, it’ll be a breeze. 

How to organize a small freezer like the pros  

Organizing a freezer and knowing how to freeze food can feel like a challenge, but our cleaning specialists have shared plenty of tips for getting started, from strategically emptying out your freezer, to utilizing storage containers to maximize space. 

1. Empty your freezer

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

(Image credit: Canva)

Before you defrost your freezer, move everything out. Cleaning expert, Hashi Mohamed, says, "Begin by emptying all the contents of your freezer onto a clean surface. This step allows you to assess what you have and ensures nothing gets overlooked during organizing.”

If you're worried about frozen food spoiling, add reusable cold packs (this set of two ice blocks from Target would work well) to a cooler (such as this extra large cooler box from Amazon) and place frozen foods inside to ensure they remain at the right temperature. Or, if you've got a fridge freezer, transfer your frozen foods into the fridge to keep them cool. 

Hashi Mohamed
Hashi Mohamed

Hashi Mohamed is the president of Ivy Cleans, a premier cleaning and lifestyle solutions company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Specializing in cleaning, organizing, and promoting a holistic lifestyle, it is passionate about transforming spaces into clean, organized, and vibrant environments.  

2. Check expiration dates

Hashi says, “As you go through the items, check their expiration dates. Discard any items that are past their prime or unidentifiable. Be particularly vigilant with items in the freezer for an extended period."

Any items that haven't been correctly stored or labeled, make sure to toss out. In terms of storing frozen foods, from freezing milk to freezing potatoes, it's crucial to know how long each item can be safely stored for. 

As a rule of thumb, meat and fish can usually be safely frozen and stored for up to two months, dairy can be frozen for up to three months, and vegetables for up to 12 months. Any longer than this and food quality may be impacted or freezer burn (caused by water evaporating from food) may occur. 

3. Group similar items together

An image of a neatly organized freezer with bags of frozen food

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hashi says, “Categorize the remaining items into groups, such as meats, vegetables, frozen fruits, and prepared meals. This step helps you see the quantity of each category and makes it easier to organize.”

Michael Gottron, cleaning expert, suggests, “Consider investing in clear storage bins (we like these sectioned storage bins from Amazon) or for grouping items, making it easier to identify and access contents.” 

"Utilize stackable containers to optimize vertical space, ensuring items are easily visible and accessible. Consider adding shelf dividers to keep things neatly separated."

Michael Gottron
Michael Gottron

Michael Gottron is a cleaning expert and runs Germicidal Maids. 

4. Be smart about labeling

Micheal says, “For added organization, label containers and arrange items by category or meal type." 

By taking the time to identify items (we'd recommend using this handheld label maker from Target to make the process easier), you'll be clear on how long to keep frozen foods for and when it's time for it to go in the trash. 

5. Maximize the space you have

An image of a neatly organized freezer with plastic boxes filled with colorful foods

(Image credit: Getty Images)

To make the most of the room in your small freezer, avoid wasting precious inches unnecessarily.  

Hashi says, “Arrange items strategically, with smaller items and bags flat to make stacking easier. Use shelves, drawers, or bins to create organization within the freezer.”

You can also decant items from their store-bought packaging and pop into reusable and dishwasher-safe silicone storage bags, reclaiming the space packaging would have wasted (these reusable silicone bags from Amazon would work well). 

Hashi adds, “Make it a habit to review and organize your freezer regularly. Aim to use older items before adding new ones, and periodically defrost your freezer to maintain efficiency.

“Following these steps ensures food items are stored efficiently, and minimize waste. A well-organized freezer saves you time and money by helping you make the most of the food you have on hand.”

Once you know how to organize a small freezer, the task becomes far easier to tackle and keep on top of moving forward, meaning not an inch of space goes to waste. In small spaces in particular, it really does make a difference and add up to better function in your appliance.

Now that you've learnt how to organize a small freezer, you might feel the urge to deep-dive into how to clean a freezer like a pro.

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.