Side-by-side freezers present their own very special and unique challenges. First released in the late 1940s, the side-by-side fridge-and-freezer combo gained popularity thanks to its narrow doors and in-door ice and water dispenser. However, folks have been known to grump about the freezer space lacking in, well, space.
The freezer of the side-by-side is narrow, but that doesn't mean you can't make the most of it. Ours is more than 15 years old — complete with all the bells and whistles available in 2002 — yet it still serves as a very efficient home for all kinds of frozen goods.
Looking to add some order to your side-by-side? Consider these tips.
7 Ways to Organize Your Side-by-Side Freezer
1. Don't put anything important in the door.
The door is the warmest part of your freezer. Don't store anything important (read: food) on the door. Foods stored there may soften and refreeze which effects their texture in a negative way.
Instead, load the door shelves with ice packs or items that won't go bad from temperature fluctuations. I also store my dry masa in the bottom shelf of the door. The colder temps extend its shelf life and keep away bugs — plus, it's always easy to find when I need it.
2. Use containers for smaller items.
Plastic boxes and baskets are an organizer's dream, right? If you've got lots of small items in your freezer, like spice mixes or bread crumbs, store them in a plastic bin so they don't get lost in the shuffle. Likewise, if you don't have an abundance of drawers in your freezer, plastic tubs help corral bags of frozen goods in one spot.
They'll be easy to find and they won't slide off a shelf or fly out of the freezer.
3. Store like with like.
Whether you have a second freezer somewhere else in the house or if this is your only one, you can keep things in good order if you store like with like. This can be tricky if you have only this freezer and are playing a game of Tetris every time you add something, but do your best to store all the meats together, all the veg, all the ice cream.
If each type of food has its own shelf, your time spent searching and digging for something will be minimal.
4. Make a smoothie section.
If smoothies are a regular feature on your week's menu, corral all your smoothie ingredients in one drawer or shelf. A smoothie station makes the ingredients easy to find in the wee hours of the morning and also helps you know when it's time to replenish your stock.
5. Create a staging area for this week's dinners.
If you've got a second freezer, that's a great place for long-term storage and should enable you to keep only the regularly used items in your side-by-side. As you do so, designate one shelf as the staging area for this week's dinners.
In the process, you've saved yourself a walk to the basement, garage, or laundry room, as well as created a safety against the dreaded I-Forgot-to-Thaw syndrome.
Don't have a second freezer? You can still use one shelf for foods that you're planning on using that week. This staging area will help all your meal plans come to fruition.
6. Don't forget to take stock.
Keeping a good inventory of your freezer contents will help you shop and cook more wisely. Occasionally compare your list to what's actually in your freezer.
Get my tips: How I Take a Freezer Inventory That Works
7. Use it or lose it.
If you've been neglecting the contents of your freezer lately, now might be a good time to eat what's in there. Your fridge freezer gets opened frequently, making the freezer temperature a little unstable. Use items in your side-by-side freezer within a month or two for best quality and texture.
Read more: How I Save Money by Eating Down the Freezer
Organizing and using up the odds and ends will help clear space and freezer clutter, leaving you with a great space to cook from. If it's clean and uncluttered, you'll enjoy the cooking process so more.
And that always makes food taste better.