My father came up with a great idea for managing my parents’ chest freezer: He uses cloth shopping bags to sort what’s inside, making it easy to lift a bag of like items out. A green shopping bag contains frozen vegetables, while a red one contains meats. A yellow bag contains seafood, and so on. You could also use differently-colored large mesh laundry bags for the same purpose, as their mesh construction makes it even easier to view what’s inside the bags. The bags are thin enough that they’re not taking up valuable space inside your freezer too.
Another tip: Keep a dry-erase marker near your freezer, and maintain a list of what’s inside. You might opt for a magnetic whiteboard on the lid, but if the freezer is painted white, you can simply write right on the lid with the marker too! When you remove an item, wipe its name off the list, and when you add more groceries, add those to the list too. You’ll always know what’s inside the freezer before you open the lid. You can even organize your lists in columns, noting which color bag that item is located in.
It’s often more cost-effective to purchase “family size” packages of meats, but I’ve found its easier to take the time to re-portion those foods into meal-size resealable bags, so you do not have to defrost a large package when you only want to cook four pork chops or a few pieces of bone-in chicken.
When whole turkeys or hams have low per-pound prices around the holidays, if freezer space permits, I’ll buy two — one to serve for the holiday, and one to cook later.