Quick and Cheap Hack- Extending the Life of My Freezer Shelf

When we moved to our new home about 3.5 years ago, we bought a new fridge instead of the 30 year old friend we had second hand before that. And while I've been pretty happy with this fridge/freezer combo, especially that its been maintenance free since we got it (unlike our old one that needed regular maintenance), there are some things about it that really annoy me. First off, I can't adjust the heights of the shelves in the fridge, which means that I can't put larger pots in it, since they're all the same short height. Second, I only have one shelf in my freezer, instead of two, which makes it harder to store things in it and find things without them falling.

But probably my biggest complaint about it is that the freezer shelf is plastic, and since I fill my freezer a lot with things I buy on sale and preserve, and because there is only one shelf, the plastic shelf ends up with a lot of weight on it. Not surprisingly, it cracked.

The first time it cracked, I dried it very well from condensation, then taped it together with strong tape. It worked ok, but not perfectly, especially since the crack only went part of the way.

However, more recently it cracked again, and more severely, to the extent that I wasn't sure it would be usable anymore. But I'm not even sure if I can get a replacement part, but even if I could, replacing a not strong plastic shelf with a repeat plastic shelf is just a temporary fix. And anyhow, I have no idea if and when such a replacement shelf would arrive what with corona, if I could even find one.

So I needed to do something today. And while tape works somewhat, I felt I needed something to strengthen it. I looked at the freezer shelf and saw there was a little groove in it, and then spotted these wooden dowels that we'd bought for a project years ago and for some reason were down in my living room, and I decided to check it out. Yes! They were the perfect fit width and depth to fit the groove, just a little too long.

So I took a saw and cut it shorter, and taped it very well into the groove on the top of the shelf, after first taping the crack together. I first taped it width-wise the entire length of the shelf, using strips the entire width to hold it together better. Then I taped it length wise on top of that.

Great! I splinted my freezer shelf, and now it'll work even better than just taping it together.

However, as soon as I put it in my freezer, I realized that the dowel, being across the top, would only do so much good to hold it together with weight pushing down on the shelf. Then I realized there was a groove along the bottom as well, so I took the second half of the dowel I cut and taped it into place there, in a similar method to what I did on the top.

A double splinted shelf!

I know, kind of ridiculous, but desperate times call for desperate measures. When I filled the freezer, I made sure to first fill the bottom, and I tried to wedge food underneath it, specifically where the crack is, so that there is something holding it up from the bottom as well, as an extra precaution.

How long this will last, I don't know. But I know I definitely extended the life of my freezer shelf today.

But seriously, why on earth do they make plastic shelves??? That's not strong! I can't be the only person who fills their freezer and weighs it down...

Have you ever had a freezer or fridge shelf break? What did you do about it?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. My plastic freezer shelf has been cracked for years. I try to put lighter things on top and fill the bottom with heavy before storing on the top shelf. If it ever totally cracks into two, I'll bag and basket stuff to keep things organized. It's too old to invest in a replacement, even if I could find one.

  2. I had a fridge freezer that didn't have a shelf at all. It was just one big open space which was terrible for organizing my frozen food. But the freezer had some holes on the sides that looked like they were made to fit something like shelf "posts" except horizontal. So I did some research on the manufacturer's website and found a part that might fit into those holes. Long story short, I bought the part, even though it supposedly wasn't made for my fridge model, wedged it into the holes and had a shelf in my freezer in the end. And it worked great! It was a good lesson for me in determination, perseverance AND frugality!

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