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As we previously mentioned in a blog post, there are at least 5 reasons to have a second freezer. But of course none of those reasons will matter if you don’t make the best of use of your freezer space. Here are some suggestions for making sure you get the most of your second freezer.

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First, let’s start fresh. You should clean and defrost your freezer at least two times per year. Here’s how:

• Remove all food items from the freezer. Place frozen foods in coolers while you clean out the freezer. If you live in a cold climate and are cleaning the freezer over wintertime, you can place your frozen foods in a box or basket and place outdoors.

• While you’re pulling everything out of the freezer, this is a good time to sort through foods. According to FoodSafety.gov, some foods – like steaks and whole chicken – can be frozen for up to a year before they’re consumed. Other foods, like leftovers and soups, should be consumed within a few months of being frozen.

• Use a soft cloth to clean out any loose food and built up ice. For large chunks of ice, use a warm cloth or sponge to help with removal. Never chip away at ice with a knife or other sharp instrument. Doing so may harm the inside of the freezer.

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Now that your freezer is clean, here’s out to keep it organized going forward:

• Use a permanent marker to write the date on everything that you place in the freezer. You can write directly on freezer paper and plastic bags. For jars and plastic containers, use a piece of masking tape as a label.

• Rotate items as you place them in the freezer. Place newer foods in bottom and back of the freezer and older foods toward the top and front.

• Use plastic baskets inside the freezer to keep foods organized. It also helps prevent losing small items in the bottom of a chest freezer.

Image credits: 1. Flickr user Kathleen Franklin via Creative Commons, 2. Kenmore 5.1 cu. ft. Chest Freezer, 3. Flickr user Dan Perry via Creative Commons

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