Challenge Day 26: Clean Out the Freezer

Clean out the freezer

New Year Cleaning Challenge Day 26

It's dark, it's cold, it's full of food: your freezer. Whether your household features only a refrigerator-top unit, or boasts a free-standing freezer, today's the day to tackle freezer areas.

Today, we'll declutter, clean and organize freezer areas. Keeping tabs on frozen assets speeds meal preparation ad cuts food waste.

Today's Assignment:
Clean Out the Freezer

To begin, assess the state of your freezer. Older models may need to be defrosted; newer, self-defrosting units may need to be wiped down and rearranged.

Either way, you'll want to safeguard frozen food at the outset, so drag an ice chest or portable cooler inside to hold freezer contents as you work.

Don't forget to cut the power! The only shocks necessary are the "use by" dates on some of your foodstuffs!

If you'll defrost, try using an electric hairdryer to melt ice build-up. Other time-honored methods include inserting pans of hot water into the freezer area to speed thawing. Do what you must to remove ice from freezer walls and floor.

Once empty and ice-free, it's time for a wipe-down--but only if surfaces are warmer than freezing. (Trust me: nobody enjoys scraping frozen kitchen cleaner from freezer walls ...) Use your favorite kitchen cleaner to remove ice cream dribbles, spilled meat juices, and popsicle smears from walls and shelves.

Once the unit is clean and bright, turn the power back on to cool the unit. Give the poor freezer a good half-hour to return to a cold state before replacing frozen food, while you clean and polish the exterior free from fingermarks.

Finally, it's time to return the food to the freezer. As you do so, check expiration dates, and dispose of any outdated items.

Organize freezer contents as you replace them. Whether you'll designate certain shelf locations for different types of foods, or add flat baskets to group foodstuffs by type, make it easy to find the food you need.

A final touch: a freezer inventory can help you track what's hidden in the freezer's cold innards. Print one out to keep tabs on your frozen assets:

Printable Freezer Inventory