The next time you complain about how your office cubicle is the size of a closet, be grateful — it could be the size of your freezer! When you stop to think about it, both of these compact spaces need all the organizing help they can get. So it should come as no surprise to learn that office supplies — designed to make the most of your tiny desk — can come in handy in the freezer.
Here are 10 ideas to file under "ingenious."
Note: We don't endorse stealing these items from your office (unless we're talking about your own home office). Hit up an office supply store and pay for them with actual money.
1. Binder Clips
Our favorite Pinterest hack right now: Using binder clips to hang bags of frozen veggies from wire shelves. You clear up shelf space and keep the bags closed. Another idea: Slide a clip onto the edge of a shelf, then stick a label onto the flat part of the clip to designate where meats, veggies, etc., should go, suggests Darla Demorrow of HeartWork Organizing.
2. Masking Tape
Use masking tape — or any kind of removable tape, including washi tape or painter's tape — to add labels to baggies or containers with the food type, date, and any reheating instructions. It removes cleanly and saves you from scratching your head over whether that ham's been in there for three months or 30. "You can also use masking tape to label the sides of shelves by category," says Tanya Whitford of Organizing Wonders.
While you're making your masking tape labels, give the tape a swipe with a highlighter — say, green for veggies, pink for fruits — for an at-a-glance way to grab ingredients when you're pulling things out of the freezer.
4. Rubber Bands
Who needs bag clips? Roll closed the opening of your half-eaten bag of frozen veggies and wrap a rubber band around the whole thing to seal it. This is a good method because it also doesn't add extra bulk to the bags.
I like to freeze things like marinara sauce in serving sizes. To do this, I dump the sauce into a zip-top baggie, flatten it out, then fold the bag in half over a pencil to create two equal, still-flat portions. The pencil squeezes any sauce out of the fold, so it's easy to detach and defrost just what you need.
6. Monitor Risers
As laptops become ubiquitous, those metal shelves designed to hold your computer's monitor have gotten superfluous — but they're a great way to create an extra shelf inside the freezer.
7. CD Bins
Another obsolete office supply! Demorrow has found these small, rectangular bins to be just the right size when it comes to holding blocks of frozen veggies. "Yes, I file my vegetables," she jokes.
8. Pencil Cups
These tall, narrow containers easily hold a couple Popsicles or frozen yogurt tubes upright on the freezer door — perfect for keeping chilly snacks right where big kids can find them.
9. Dry Erase Markers
Whether you're creating a doodle pad to keep the kids busy while you're cooking or keeping a running inventory of a freezer's contents, these markers actually wipe clean off most fridge exteriors! Test them in an inconspicuous area first. Or, just hang up a dry erase board if you're too nervous.
10. Magazine Files
Because they're skinny and tall, these work great to subdivide space in a drawer freezer. Try lining them up in alternating directions to really corral bags and boxes.
More on Organizing Your Freezer
Any other good ideas? Let us know in the comments!