Maximize your freezer space by keeping only what’s needed. Follow these tips to declutter the freezer!
The freezer is the cold and grim area in the fridge where icy foods are often left to be forgotten. Before you know it, you no longer remember how long a certain food item has been there and if they are still good for consumption.
If you find your freezer filled to the brim with unlabeled containers and you have trouble identifying the contents or the expiration date in frozen parcels, it is about time to do a declutter and get organized. Remove all the unusable food and salvage what can be saved!
Decluttering is not a task people look forward to but think about it – the freezer is just a small area of your fridge (unless you own a big-ass fridge or have a chest freezer). This will not take as much time as decluttering the kitchen. Besides, there are ways to do it more effectively.
How to Declutter the Freezer
If you have one of the latest fridge models, chances are your freezer does not need defrosting, so you can skip this step.
But for those who choose fridge models that need a manual defrost, read on!
First, turn off the power source before defrosting. Then, take out the contents of your freezer. Place them in a cooler or ice chest while you are defrosting.
Now, all you have to do is melt the ice. Make sure you have an old towel on the floor to catch any leaks.
Don’t have the time to wait for the ice to melt? Make the process faster by using a hairdryer. Just make sure you impose safety measures to avoid electric shock.
Another way to make the defrosting process faster is to place a small pan containing hot water in the freezer. Place the lid on the pan. The steam will help the ice to melt faster. This is definitely a safer way than the hairdryer idea.
Do not use knives or ice picks to remove the ice. You could destroy your freezer. Put on some gloves and get rid of the big parts that can be broken out. Make sure you do not force it.
Take note that you need to defrost your whole fridge if the ice on the freezer has already reached half an inch thick.
2. Clean up
When the ice is gone, it’s time to give the freezer a thorough cleaning! Only use a mild cleanser to clean the freezer. You can also use a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, and water. Wipe the cleaner in the interior of the freezer with a rag. Then rinse with another rag.
If you have freezer shelves and baskets, take them out and wash them with warm water. Never use soapy water since soap is hard to rinse and can leave a taste on your food.
To get rid of odors left behind by food spills or smelly food items, make a paste out of water and baking soda. Use the paste to scrub the freezer.
Make sure everything is totally dry before you replace the shelving and plug the freezer back in. Also ensure that things are locked in place securely.
Allow the freezer to run for 15 minutes before you start putting the frozen goods back inside.
While waiting for your freezer to dry up after your cleaning session, go through your food items and see if anything has expired. Throw out all expired items – there is obviously no point in keeping them!
If you find a food item that has been in there for months and no one has touched it yet, donate them to a food bank near you. Let’s face it – you have not considered opening them before, you probably will not use them any time now.
What about those unidentifiable food items placed in an unlabeled container? Look for signs of discoloration. You can open it up and smell if the food has gone bad. If you find there is a thick layer of ice or frost inside the container, it means it has been in the freezer way longer than it should be.
Once you are done purging, you will be left with the food items that can still be consumed and worthy of a spot in your freezer.
When you are done with purging, think of a way to organize the food. Even if you declutter the freezer, it won’t benefit you much if you don’t implement an organization system. Arrange the foods properly when you start returning back your frozen food items to the freezer.
Here are a few suggestions on how you should organize your freezer:
1. Label properly
Add labels to all your frozen food. Indicate the item, number of servings, the date it was added to the freezer, and the expiration date.
2. Divide the freezer into zones.
Implementing official zones in the freezer will help you find things better.
Do not just dump items into your freezer. For example, assign the lower shelf for your meats, a drawer for leftovers, a shelf for fruits, etc.
3. Organize by category
If you have a huge freezer, you can organize it by category. If you do not have shelves, invest in bins where you can place like items together. One bin can hold hotdogs and sausages, another bin can hold deli meat, and another bin can hold ice cream or ice pops. You get the idea?
Organizing like items together in one bin will make it easier for you to sort items and find what you are looking for.
4. Organize by date
To avoid wasting food, newer food items should be at the back while the old ones are up front. This way, you can easily see what needs to be consumed immediately. This will have to mean rotating the items in the freezer every time you place something new in it.
5. Organize by category then by date
This means you do a combo of the two ideas earlier. First, you arrange your food items by category. Then, go through each category and arrange them by their expiration dates to implement the “first in, first out” rule.
I honestly prefer this method better since I do not have to rotate everything in the freezer. All I have to do is just grab one bin and rotate the contents in it then do the next. It’s an easier process.
5. Keep an inventory
This is an on-going organizing step. Create an inventory form and hang it on your freezer door. Take inventory of everything you have inside the freezer and then tell everyone in the household to cross off the list whenever they take something out of it. This way, you do not have to open the freezer to know what you still have stock of.
This is a great way to save up on energy! And, if this is maintained, it won’t be that hard to declutter the freezer ever again!
Freezer storage tips
To maintain a neat, organized, and efficient freezer, you should know the proper way to store food items in it. This can save you a whole lot of trouble later on. Here are some tips that you should keep in mind:
1. Choose your containers well
When storing leftovers or transferring food items, choose square or rectangular containers with flat bottoms. They are easier to stack and can give you more room to store other food items. Make sure all containers are freezer safe to avoid breakage.
2. Freeze in usable portions
Instead of just storing a whole pack of meat or chicken in the fridge, it is best to divide them into usable proportions and freeze each portion in separate containers. This way, you just thaw the right amount of meat. No need to thaw out 5 pounds of ground beef when you only need one pound for your meal! This makes food prepping faster too.
3. How to store food in zip lock bags
Zip lock bags are better containers for those who have a small freezer. If you decide to use zip lock bags for your food items, make sure that the contents are flat. This does not only save space and allows easy stacking but it also helps defrost faster later on. Before sealing, make sure you remove as much air in the bag as possible to avoid freezer burn.
4. Know what not to store
Some people just dump anything in their freezers thinking that it can prolong the life of any food item. The thing is, there are food items that do not freeze well. These foods can lose their consistency and texture once they are back to room temperature. Examples are deep-fried foods and dairy items.
Make the most of your freezer!
The freezer is often a neglected area in the kitchen. But now that you know how to declutter and organize your freezer, do not forget to turn this into a regular thing! Yup, the job does not end here!
Freezer decluttering and cleaning is a job that we often tend to overlook and we do not do it as often as we should. But the only way to maintain order in your freezer is to declutter it regularly!
With these tips in mind, I know you will end up with a neater and more functional storage space in your freezer. Meal prep in your kitchen will go smoothly from now on!
Looking for more decluttering tips? Check these out!
- How to Declutter the Kitchen
- How to Declutter the Fridge
- 10 Creative Ways to Keep Motivating Yourself to Declutter
- 24 Powerful Questions to Ask Yourself to Make Decluttering Easier and Without Regret