Organizing the Deep Freeze

by Jenn @ Frugal Upstate on March 19, 2013

I’ve been on an organizing mission lately–trying to wade through the chaos that my house has become and very, very slowly tame at least the ground floor of my home.  I’ve been staying pretty much on track, trying to just ignore a lot of the rest of the mess right now–but last week when I went down to get something out of the deep freeze I just couldn’t stand the mixed up jumble inside any longer.

deep freezer 5I didn’t take any pictures of the embarrassing mess that was inside–just the completed project.

Deep Freezer 3

As you can see on the top shelf I used a cardboard box that was open on one end to contain a bunch of my vacuum sealed and frozen garden veggies.  That’s both purslane and radish pods you see in the front–there are green beans, corn, beets and greens (dandelion, beet or lambsquarter) behind them.  I like to use a Sharpie and write what’s inside and the month/year on each package as I pack it.  Makes it easier to figure things out later ;)

Deep Freezer 1

On the door I sort of organized by product.  I’ve got bulk hot sausage on the top (both venison and pork), butter and shredded cheese, broth (and a bit of fish) and then on the bottom random cuts of flavoring meat like ham hocks.

Deep Freezer 2In the main body of the freezer I used cardboard boxes to sort of corral the different types of meat.  Sure-I could probably cram more in if I just filled the shelf top to bottom, but then it’s impossible to find what you are looking for without pulling everything out.  Now I can see that on this shelf I’ve got venison burger, venison spiedies (that’s stew or kabob meat for the rest of the world) and venison steaks.  The other shelves are organized similarly.

The cardboard maintains it’s integrity just fine in the freezer–the cold doesn’t bother it at all.  In the past I’ve tried using plastic bins or baskets, but those cost more AND they seem to get brittle and then crack or break.  As long as I don’t get the cardboard wet it’s fine–and I can always come up with some more boxes from somewhere if I need to :)

For those of you out there with a deep freeze. . . how do you organize it?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Lora March 19, 2013 at 9:42 am

Unfortunately, I only have the small freezer in my refrigerator now. It’s quite easy to keep it organized due to the size.

Your bounty in the freezer makes me wonder about your strategy for coping with power outages.

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Jenn @ Frugal Upstate March 19, 2013 at 11:03 am

Lora-actually that would probably be a good follow-up post, but long story short:

Deep freezes will stay frozen for several days if you don’t open the door-especially in my stone unheated basement. You can amplify this by draping with blankets and such to insulate it even more. Keeping it full also helps with this (and makes the compressor work less) which is why you read advice to fill up empty space in your freezer with jugs of water–it helps keep it cold.)

We have a generator and some fuel for extended power outages and could if necessary plug the deep freeze in and run it for an hour or so once or twice a day to keep the temp in there cold.

We have an 1800 watt power inverter that we can hook onto any of the car batteries and do the same. (with the car running for that kind of drain)

Right now, despite the fact that it is March, we’ve got zero degree weather and 6″ of snow (which is freaky but whatever)–in the winter (which is after deer season and after we usually get our 1/2 pig) there are many times where we could just fill coolers and stick them outside.

For a truly long term power outage event I’d take the meat out, defrost it and then pressure can it using my canning gear over the propane powered turkey fryer–then it would have a several year shelf life. (I do this on the stove for a portion of the meat we receive anyway-usually in the fall to clear out space in the freezer for the new meat)

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Jenn @ Frugal Upstate March 19, 2013 at 11:10 am

Oh, and as a last resort, usually food lost in your freezer due to a power outage can be covered in homeowner’s insurance. We were out of town to christen my son when a hurricane came through–we wound up home 4 days later and had to toss the entire contents of the freezer, fridge etc. The insurance company (renters insurance at the time) didn’t bat an eye at my estimate of $500 worth of meat and food in the fridge, just cut a check.

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Kristi @Let This Mind Be in You March 19, 2013 at 9:42 am

Jenn, I am loving your blog more and more with every post! I can’t wait to get my deep freeze under control–it’s got this insane 8 inches of ice in it and I just know I’ve lost some stuff in there! LOL

BTW, I linked to your blog in my menu planning post. :)
http://www.thismindbeinyou.com/2013/03/monday-meal-planning-31813.html

~Kristi@Let This Mind Be in You

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Jenn @ Frugal Upstate March 19, 2013 at 11:03 am

Well thank you Kristi! That’s so sweet.

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Amyrlin March 19, 2013 at 9:42 am

I need to defrost mine, this post reminded me. Part of our after Christmas projects was to clean out the freezer and we did, so unplugging it would be wise. I have an extra refrigerator out in the garage too, that freezer is full. I have metal bins that slide like drawers on my freezer shelves. It came that way. It is an old Montgomery Wards model that was my husband’s Grandmothers freezer. She bought it about 23 years ago!

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Jenn @ Frugal Upstate March 19, 2013 at 11:06 am

Wow, and still kicking? I bet it’s not energy start compliant though :)

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Amyrlin March 19, 2013 at 11:15 pm

I really don’t think it is too much of a hog on power. I have had it for so long, it freezes so well I would hate to get rid of it! My hubby said he didn’t think it is an energy star but h agreed not too hoggish on power. We have unplugged it when not in use for periods of time and nothing was noticeable on the power bill. although I have read the new models are more efficient, I would hate to give mine up though!

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