How to Clean and Organize Your Freezer
When it comes to household cleaning, the most forgotten item on our to-do list is usually the freezer. Get your freezer sparkling again with a few quick tips from Domestic CEO. Plus - learn tips on how to maximize your freezer storage.
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Step #4: Deodorize
Once the freezer is clean, you can remove any lingering odors by scrubbing the area down with a mixture of water and baking soda. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with ½ gallon warm water. Wipe down the entire interior of the freezer. Make sure you wipe all sides, the bottom, and any fixed shelves. You can avoid odors in the future by disposing of any spilled or freezer-burned food on a weekly basis. To keep any funky smells from taking over, I keep baking soda in the freezer. You can purchase a small box of baking soda that comes with the deodorizer opening and tuck it into a corner of the freezer.
Step #5: Dry
Use a dish towel or paper towels to completely dry the inside of the freezer. Dry any shelves and drawers that you washed in the sink before replacing them. Put all bins, drawers, and shelves back in their proper spots.
Step #6: Reload
Once your freezer interior is clean, why not take a few extra organizing steps to make sure food is stored in an orderly manner? I like to have specific locations for vegetables, meats, boxed convenience foods like pizzas, frozen dinners, appetizers, etc. Figure out what your categories are and store things in an orderly manner. If you buy in bulk and separate food into Ziploc bags for freezing, be sure to label what food it is and the date you added it to the freezer. Not sure of the freezer life of a particular food item? The website WhatsCookingAmerica.net has an excellent chart you can refer to. Click here to check it out. If you want to go one step further, add the expiration date to your labeling on freezer bags as well. This will ensure you know when to use or when to toss something.
See also: How to Freeze 60 Pounds of Vegetables
If you don’t want to simply stack things in your freezer, consider using plastic storage bins to keep things organized neatly. Using bins enables you to store items vertically rather than horizontally so it’s easier to see what you’ve got stored in there.
How to Maximize Your Freezer Space
I like to buy in bulk so maximizing my freezer space is very important. It’s tough to find the space for 10 pounds of hamburger or 20 cups of homemade spaghetti sauce. My all-time favorite technique for freezer storage is to add my food item to a Ziploc freezer bag. Do your best to remove any excess air from the inside of the bag and then seal tightly. Now, lay the bag flat on the kitchen counter so your food item fills the bag completely - basically you’ll have a flat square of food.
If you’re storing hamburger, squish the meat out to fill the entire bag or at least a good portion of the bag. I like to separate ground meat into single-pound bags so using a gallon sized bag is perfect. Now, you’ll have to temporarily store these bags in the freezer lying horizontally until the food is frozen solid, but once that happens you can store them vertically. I like to label the bag at the top, right by the seal, so I can store my bags like files in a drawer and read easily what is in each bag. This little extra prep step will really let you take full advantage of every square inch of storage space in your freezer.
As a bonus, foods defrost much faster when frozen in this manner.
For even more advice on using your freezer to its full potential, make sure to check out my episode How to Freeze 60 pounds of Vegetables.