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6 Genius Tricks to Keep Your Freezer Organized

Buying in bulk and doing big-batch meal prep won't save you time or money if you can't find anything in your freezer! Follow these tricks to keep it organized for good.

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Leftover containers of food in a refrigerator for use with many food inferences.; Shutterstock ID 66906010Joe Belanger/Shutterstock

Label Everything

Keep a marker and freezer labels handy. Date each container and label its contents...even if you can see what's inside (so you won't have to guess how long something's been frozen). Here's a nifty guide for how long your foods will last in the freezer.

Pro tip: Use different color markers for different types of food—poultry, seafood, sauces, so you can find what you need at a quick glance.

You'll never guess why you should put an envelope in your freezer.

Here's how to fix refrigerator problems:

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Frozen salmon steaks; Shutterstock ID 43963933Evgeny Litvinov/Shutterstock

Wrap it Up

This is especially important for meat. Tightly wrap meats in plastic wrap, then in heavy-duty foil or freezer paper, using freezer tape to seal if necessary. For other foods, use durable, leakproof containers or freezer bags sealed tightly. Press to remove all air. Keep in mind that a pound of bacon or an entire batch of cookie dough can be too much to thaw at once. Tightly seal small amounts separately; store together in a large container.

Pro tip: Store raw meats on the bottom shelf to minimize the potential for contamination.

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Frozen berries and vegetables in bags in freezer close up; Shutterstock ID 666765940Yuliia Mazurkevych/Shutterstock

Pack it Flat

Freeze foods in a single layer, and stack them after they're frozen. Plus: Check out our no-pantry solutions on a budget here.

Pro tip: Transfer hot foods to a shallow pan or several small, shallow containers. Or place the pan in a bowl of ice water. Stir frequently so foods cool faster.

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Frozen food in the refrigerator. Vegetables on the freezer shelves. Stocks of meal for the winter.; Shutterstock ID 522663619BravissimoS/Shutterstock

Keep Like Items Together

Divide the freezer into zones, with areas for veggies, breads, meats, etc., so you always know where to look.

Pro tip: If you have four packages of frozen berries, put them all into one larger plastic bag or an inexpensive plastic basket, then label.

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Frozen food in the refrigerator. Vegetables on the freezer shelves.; Shutterstock ID 1013189377Ahanov Michael/Shutterstock

Follow a Plan

One of my favorite culinary mantras—First In, First Out (aka FIFO)—is a simple practice commonly used in restaurants, grocery stores and food service. It means you use the oldest foods first to ensure timely usage and less waste.

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Frozen berries and vegetables in bags close up; Shutterstock ID 284295449Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Do Monthly Checkups

Take a minute or two each month to get acquainted with what's in there. Reshuffle items, throw out food that's been frozen too long or plan to use forgotten treasures, such as the stew your neighbor offered a month ago. Next, get to know these tips for your garage refrigerator or freezer.

Originally Published on Taste of Home