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If you cringe every time you open your freezer, anticipating an avalanche of frozen pizzas, bags of peas and corn, and precariously placed ice cube trays, it’s time for an overhaul. Take stock with these organizational tips and stop fearing your freezer!
Pack it in
Unlike your refrigerator, which works most efficiently when there’s space for cold air to circulate around the food, the freezer stays coldest when it’s full. So don’t be afraid to pack it to the gills.
Flat is where it’s at
Freeze leftover soups and sauces in zip-top bags to save space. Fill the bags and lay them flat on a rimmed baking sheet until frozen solid. Then, stack and store until needed.
Bins for the win
Simple, inexpensive plastic bins make categorizing your freezer contents a (cool) breeze. Plus, they help corral half-empty bags of frozen veggies and other shape-shifting items, like bags of chicken nuggets and other frozen foods that can be removed from their cardboard boxes to save space. Use handled milk crates for larger chest freezers.
Like in the fridge, the freezer door is the warmest part of the unit, and items stored there are more prone to thawing and re-freezing than within the freezer. So store items in the door that are less likely to spoil, like nuts and herbs.
Seal the deal
To prevent freezer burn, wrap foods tightly in an insulating layer of waxed paper, then aluminum foil. For a time-saving thaw, freeze chicken and steak directly in the marinade in a freezer-safe zip-top bag, making sure to squeeze any extra air out of the bag before sealing. Then, when you’re ready to use, place the meat in the fridge to thaw, and you’ll instantly start the marinating process.
Stick to it
Take a tip from professional chefs and keep a roll of painter’s tape and a Sharpie on hand to make quick stick-on labels. Date items as they go into the freezer (e.g. “Skirt Steak 11/14”) so you’ll be able to keep track of food at a glance.