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In the past few weeks several people have asked me for organizational advice. My super-organized mother instilled it in my upbringing, making it almost second nature to me. But one of my friends complained that she hadn’t been trained as I had, and needed to know how I did it, step by step. Over the next few weeks (or possibly longer), I will lay out how I organize various areas in my house to be effective and efficient.
This week I’m tackling the freezer, because this tends to be a neglected area.
Step 1: Know What You Have
You will need an empty space to do this. The floor in your kitchen will work, or counter space, or a table. Pull everything out of the freezer and place it in the empty space. If you are going to be defrosting the freezer at the same time, have an insulated box or a laundry basket and blankets handy.
Step 2: Purge
As you are pulling things out, purge. Get rid of anything that is not labeled or is unrecognizable or has freezer burn (a layer of ice on it). Also get rid of things that you know you won’t use. Also empty any ice cube trays where the cubes have shrunk. They’re not going to taste good.
Step 3: Sort It All Out
Put all your veggies in one pile, meats in another, novelties in a third. Group things together logically.
Step 4: Purge Or Consolidate Again
Look at what you have. Do you have three half-empty bags of frozen peas? Put them together. Notice that you have a gallon ice cream container that has been in there for six months? Get rid of it.
Step 5: Clean
If you need to clean the inside of the freezer, use a cloth dipped in hot water. Make sure you do not let the cloth freeze to the sides. Pull out any shelves that need to be cleaned and wash them in the sink, drying well before putting them back.
Step 6: List
Make a list of everything you have in the freezer. This will help you stay on top of what you have in there and prevent your buying duplicates. I use a form I made myself, which can be downloaded directly, or accessed from my Ebooks page. I put one diagonal mark in a square for an item, then when I use it, I complete the X.
Step 7: Put It Back And Organize
Put things back logically. I keep all my frozen veggies in the built-in basket at the bottom. I use an old ice cube bucket to hold popsicles.
If you are going to defrost, place your food in the insulated box or laundry basket with blankets on top.
Step 8: Clean the Outside and/or Defrost
Clean the outside of your freezer, wiping down with a cloth. Make sure to clean the coils, as this can make a difference in how well your freezer works.
You can also defrost your freezer if you need to, using pans of hot water (see How to Defrost the Freezer–eHow.com). Do not use sharp objects to chip ice off your freezer as this could damage it!
Tackling Multiple Freezers
I have two freezers, one attached to my refrigerator, and a chest freezer outside the kitchen. I tackle these at one time. I keep things more often used in the refrigerator freezer, like veggies, popsicles and breakfast items. The chest freezer is used for longer-term storage.
By following these steps, you should a clean and organized freezer. The best part: once organized, you can keep it that way with very little effort. Keep track of what you use on your inventory sheet and regularly purge. This will keep the appliance in great condition.
Photo by sporkist