The Kitchn Cure Day 5: Cleaning the Freezer (a Wholehearted Endeavor)

updated May 9, 2022
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(Image credit: Dana Velden)
(Image credit: Henry Chen)

The Kitchn Cure Day 5: Give your freezer a good scrub.
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We took it easy yesterday, but today might be a bit more of a challenge as we take on giving our freezers a good scrub. How much of a challenge this is depends on how large and clean your freezer already is, and whether or not it needs defrosting. But big or small, the satisfaction of a job well-done is waiting for you if you just jump in with both feet, taking up the task with a wholehearted effort.

On Wholeheartedness in the Kitchen

It’s pretty easy to be wholehearted about things we love, or things that bring an immediate pleasure. And for most of us, the kitchen offers many opportunities for this: the rhythms of chopping and cooking, the colors and tastes of ingredients, the smells and textures and all the glorious deliciousness that cooking and eating can bring us.

But then, there’s the washing up, or the floor that needs scrubbing, or the freezer with its mysterious spills and 1/2-inch coating of ice. Can we be wholehearted about these things, too? It might not be easy, but thoroughly engaging the task at hand and staying with it until it is done rewards us with a specific kind of happiness that is quite unique and satisfying. It’s often hard, but it’s often worth it.

How does it feel to be wholehearted? Do you approach all the things you do with energy and enthusiasm? Let’s start with the freezer and then see if we can’t bring it out into all areas of our lives.

Today’s Assignment

  1. Remove everything from your freezer. If you have an ice chest, you can temporarily park things in there. I don’t have an ice chest, so my trick is to empty my ice cube trays in my sink and pile everything on top. I then throw a couple of towels over to insulate it.
  2. If you have 1/4 inch or more of ice built up, this is the time to defrost your freezer. This is not a step to skip, even if it adds time and effort to your task. Be sure to read our post on why it’s important to defrost your freezer — it includes some helpful tips!
  3. Once your freezer is frost-free, it’s time to give it a thorough cleaning. (Follow our step-by-step tutorial: How To Clean The Freezer)
  4. Now it’s time to return the items to your freezer. Don’t just toss things back in willy-nilly! Consolidate items, like bags of almonds and stock scraps, and use that tape and a Sharpie to label everything. Move things into smaller or better containers. This is also a chance to think through the ways your freezer works and doesn’t work for you. Maybe you need to reorganize and create zones. Or buy a freezer shelf. This is the time to make those changes!

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Congratulations! You have completed your first week of The Kitchen Cure! Having wholeheartedly thrown yourself into the tasks put before you, you can now relax for a few days and recharge for week two, where the challenges and rewards continue.

Bonus Activity: Your Refrigerator Door

There are two types of people in the world: those who hang stuff on their refrigerator door, and those who don’t.

The former can carry on with loafing about and celebrating their post-fridge and freezer cleaning, but the latter may want to take things one step further by first removing every item affixed to their refrigerator door. Every. Last. One.

Spread them out and deeply consider what needs to go back on. Step back and take a look at your clean, empty door. Consider whether or not you find this lack of adornment soothing or sad. If it’s soothing, try to not put anything up or maybe just one or two pieces. If it’s sad, then start choosing items to return. Do this one by one and place them carefully, so they each can be easily be seen and admired. Stop sooner than you think you want to and see if you can live with what’s there. You probably can.

(Image credit: Henry Chen)

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(Image credit: Dana Velden)

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