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Old 17-08-2016, 06:09   #1
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Packing and using top load refrigerator/freezer HELP!

We have a good (adequate for 2 weeks or so provisions) sized refrigerator and freezer with cold plates and keel cooler, I think. TOP LOADING They keep things frozen and cold and are sustained by our solar panels ... But.... Both captain and mate have tried our hands at efficient packing ...I feel so bad we spend so much time with the top open getting what's almost on the bottom out.... Might get 3 of the 4 things easily but that 4th may mean keeping the door open a minute or more. Mate can't quite reach the bottom so votes to keep extra drinks down there to prop the reachable up.

Any guidance? We've been using the 4" Deep plastic mesh bins that came with the boat to "box things together".

Any suggestions will be appreciated.
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Old 17-08-2016, 06:33   #2
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Re: Packing and using top load refrigerator/freezer HELP!

Hoping to hear of some clever ideas on this also. Getting stuff out of the fridge drives me nuts.

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Old 17-08-2016, 06:41   #3
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Re: Packing and using top load refrigerator/freezer HELP!

Im a shorty so Ive thought about this a lot. No real experience yet but the best I have come up with is keeping bottom stuff in draw sting bags with the strings on a hook near the top. The rest should be binned by food classification. Color coded bins and bags if possible.
But no way around it, something żou dont need will have to come out to get what you do need. Oh, one of those long arm grabber tools might help too.
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Old 17-08-2016, 06:52   #4
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Re: Packing and using top load refrigerator/freezer HELP!

We too use plastic bins in our refrigerator and freezer that can be lifted out as necessary to reach things below. In the freezer we place the stores in the order we anticipate using them over the course of a cruise (lots of pre-made meals). We generally pack the refrigerator in the same manner. In re: drinks, we keep a small ice-chest that will hold 5-6 cans of bottles of soda, Gatoraid or what have you. We place, reusable cold packs, that we freeze in the freezer in the ice-chest to keep the drinks cold. One trick we use is to cover everything in the freezer and refrigerator with a "cold blanket" we cobbled up consisting of "Reflectix" insulation adhered to a 1/4" thick neoprene backing, with the Reflectix side up. The insures that the "cold" is isolated to the area below the blanket as the contents are used up. It seems to work pretty well for us.

FWIW...
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Old 17-08-2016, 07:13   #5
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Re: Packing and using top load refrigerator/freezer HELP!

On a previous thread I was directed to the "Boat Galley" website where I found some great information.
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Old 17-08-2016, 07:42   #6
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Re: Packing and using top load refrigerator/freezer HELP!

For my deep, top-loading frig I built two baskets to fit the contours of the frig space. One goes in the bottom of the frig under the freezer compartment and I use that for meat and other hightly perishable food for the next several days. The second basket sits just under the hatch which contains most of other food items. Finally I built a shelf in the upper outboard section that was previously unuseable, for condiments and other items that are sealed and not very perishable. Both of the baskets and the shelf were made of the vinyl covered wire sheets used to make crab pots, held together with wire ties.

When I need to get something out of the bottom of the frig I generally only have to lift one or both of the baskets onto the counter.

Here's a pic of the view through the hatch: http://www.svsarah.com/Sarah/Images/...askets%201.JPG

You can see the shelf in the right side of the pic. The meat basket is out of view at the top of the pic. There are two small baskets for sodas and beer that sit on top of the other basket.

John
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Old 17-08-2016, 07:58   #7
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Re: Packing and using top load refrigerator/freezer HELP!

Well done JStevens. That looks well organized.
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Old 17-08-2016, 09:50   #8
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Re: Packing and using top load refrigerator/freezer HELP!

Great thread.

I have two removable shelves which aid somewhat getting to the lower stuff.

I think the wire baskets make a lot of sense. Keep those ideas and photos coming please.
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Old 17-08-2016, 10:05   #9
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Re: Packing and using top load refrigerator/freezer HELP!

We had a very deep fridge on our Pearson and I can give you one hint. When organizing contents we keep like with like (veg here, meat here, soda over there).

Something has to be on the bottom. Usually heavy or breakable stuff. I got a mesh bag (or another "daily" bin)and put one of everything in it and kept it to one side on top. This way I didn't have to dig every single time I went in. I had some soda in the bottom of the bag, then the meat I was planning on for the next meal or two, then the veg on top.

This saved me time and energy (both my own and the boats) since my time spent in the cooler was minimized. It would take about 10 minutes every 2 or 3 days to restock it but it gets easier each time. No more feet waving in the air as you dive to the bottom of the box. No more slimy lettuce forgotten about over in the corner. It's literally a "day" bag.

Hope it helps -
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Old 17-08-2016, 11:08   #10
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Re: Packing and using top load refrigerator/freezer HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jstevens View Post
For my deep, top-loading frig I built two baskets to fit the contours of the frig space. One goes in the bottom of the frig under the freezer compartment and I use that for meat and other hightly perishable food for the next several days. The second basket sits just under the hatch which contains most of other food items. Finally I built a shelf in the upper outboard section that was previously unuseable, for condiments and other items that are sealed and not very perishable. Both of the baskets and the shelf were made of the vinyl covered wire sheets used to make crab pots, held together with wire ties.

When I need to get something out of the bottom of the frig I generally only have to lift one or both of the baskets onto the counter.

Here's a pic of the view through the hatch: http://www.svsarah.com/Sarah/Images/...askets%201.JPG

You can see the shelf in the right side of the pic. The meat basket is out of view at the top of the pic. There are two small baskets for sodas and beer that sit on top of the other basket.

John
Where the ends of the wire ties have been cut creates a hazard as the cut ends are akin to rubbing your forearm against a razor blade. Can you re-tie them with the cut ends inside the basket ?
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Old 17-08-2016, 11:11   #11
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Re: Packing and using top load refrigerator/freezer HELP!

My Gulfstar 41 has a very deep top load refrigerator freezer.
It has a removable teak slat shelf that slides under the freezer portion to allow access to the entire bottom of the refrigeratior. I am 6' tall and have no issues reaching the bottom of the freezer, even to clean it. My wife is 5'6 and is not so fortunate. The solution ? I bought her a strong wide based vinyl step stool. Now we are both happy !
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Old 17-08-2016, 11:20   #12
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Re: Packing and using top load refrigerator/freezer HELP!

No cuts in over 13 years of full-time living onboard. Not a problem in my view.

John
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Old 17-08-2016, 11:44   #13
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Re: Packing and using top load refrigerator/freezer HELP!

I don't think having the lid open for a few minutes while you dig stuff out really amounts to much cold loss. Certainly a lot less than a front loader dumping all the cold air out on your feet. The inconvenience and difficulty for short people is another matter. I saw a picture in Latts and Atts once of a top loader with a pair of short female legs sticking straight up out the lid. I've had opportunities to take shots like that a couple of times, but thought "She's going to get out of there eventually, and if she hears the camera click, I'm in real trouble".
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Old 17-08-2016, 12:04   #14
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Re: Packing and using top load refrigerator/freezer HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearly View Post
We have a good (adequate for 2 weeks or so provisions) sized refrigerator and freezer with cold plates and keel cooler, I think. TOP LOADING They keep things frozen and cold and are sustained by our solar panels ... But.... Both captain and mate have tried our hands at efficient packing ...I feel so bad we spend so much time with the top open getting what's almost on the bottom out.... Might get 3 of the 4 things easily but that 4th may mean keeping the door open a minute or more. Mate can't quite reach the bottom so votes to keep extra drinks down there to prop the reachable up.

Any guidance? We've been using the 4" Deep plastic mesh bins that came with the boat to "box things together".

Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Hi Pearly,

Top loaders are a lifetime conundrum for us all...

There was a very recent thread asking the same question in case that is also helpful.

Cheers! Bill

PS: At least this is the right kind of problem to have... [Where's the %#*& beer?...]
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Old 17-08-2016, 13:07   #15
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Re: Packing and using top load refrigerator/freezer HELP!

There is a removable teak shelf across our entire cold box half way down. The PO added a front loading door for access under the shelf. Works really well. The top is maybe 16 inches deep and we put food up there and load the bottom with drinks.
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