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Purge your freezer

The first step to tidying up your freezer is a good purge. Take everything out and put the food in coolers with some ice to keep it all cold while you work.

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Check for freezer burn

As you remove stuff, check for freezer burn. Items with freezer burn will be covered in large ice crystals or be grayish. 

While freezer burn isn't harmful, it can significantly impact the taste and texture of your food. You may want to toss these items to make room for fresher items.

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Protect your food

Here are some tips for preventing freezer burn so no food is wasted next time you clean out the freezer.

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Toss anything gross

While you're at it, toss these 15 items as well and make a note not to put them in the freezer anymore.

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'Antifreeze' it

Once everything is cleared out, check whether you need to get rid of any ice buildup. 

To deice your freezer, fill a spray bottle with warm water and three tablespoons of salt. Shake it well. Then, spray the ice buildup with the warm salt-water solution. As the ice melts, wipe away the moisture.

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Wipe it down

Now, fill a bowl with warm water mixed with a drop of dishwashing liquid. Dunk a sponge or rag in the solution and wipe down the interior of the freezer. Don't forget to wipe down the door gaskets, too.

Then, wipe down the freezer with a dry towel to remove any moisture that could freeze when you put all of the food back in.

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Clean your ice maker

You probably don't think about your ice maker very much, but it needs cleaning, too. Here's a quick rundown on how to keep your ice maker clean and pumping out ice.

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Check the temperature

While you have an empty fridge, check to make sure your freezer is set at the right temperature. According to the FDA, your freezer should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius)

Put an appliance thermometer in your freezer for a few minutes, then give it a check. If your freezer isn't in the proper temperature range, adjust the settings before putting your food back in there.

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Don't stuff your freezer

While you're reloading the freezer, remember, stuffing is bad. It's important for air to circulate around the food items to keep them cold enough to stay frozen. If the freezer is too crammed, that can't happen.

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Store flat

To save room, consider storing ground meats flat, like in the photo above. Simply put the meat in a freezer bag, flatten it out with a rolling pin and then seal the bag.

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Store other meats separately

Don't just throw other types of meat in bulky plastic bags. These tips for individually wrapping portions of meat will keep your fridge organized and your meat fresher.

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Use the buddy system

To make it easier to find things, store like items together on shelves. For example, keep meats on the same shelf and frozen vegetables on another.

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Make smaller portions

Freeze items like herbs and nuts in small storage containers so you don't need to defrost large batches all at once. To keep your freezer tidy, store the small containers inside a larger plastic bin.

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Tackle drawer freezers

If you have a big drawer freezer, organizing can be tricky. Use plastic bins inside the drawer to hold smaller boxed and bagged items.

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Store them upright

Also, try to store everything upright, side by side, instead of piled up. This will make it much easier to find things in your drawer freezer.

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