I have a large freezer; this lets me stock up when perishables are on sale or overflowing in the garden. The freezer is full of fruit, vegetables, butter, nuts, shredded cheese, and meat.
Having a freezer means extra expense to run it; to cut operating costs I have a manual-defrost freezer, which takes about 2/3 as much electricity to run.
The reason a freezer needs defrosted? Each of the shelves in the freezer has cooling coils running through it. Whenever you open the door, new air gets inside, and this air always has some moisture in it. This moisture condenses on whatever is coldest- the coils- and freezes. It gets thicker with time, and that layer of ice traps the cold. This makes the freezer work harder and harder to cool. Ice blanket= bad.
Defrosting every 6 months is usually about right. It's a little hassle, but pulling everything out reminds me of what all is in there. Seeing it all again= good.
At any rate, you're trying to melt all the ice out of the freezer while NOT letting all that food thaw. There are some tricks I've learned along the way to help with that. Watch the slide show above to learn them.
Or, how to make storage space out of 'no space'.
A while back, I was looking through dehydrate2store.com and ran across this video on building a shelf for your dried food. It got me thinking about my utility room: a narrow room, no space to set a shelf, but with unfinished walls, with studs exposed. That could be turned into in-wall shelving. So I sorted through my pile of wood, pulled out the electric saw, and learned how to use a nail gun. (It’s loud, but quite fun; an amazingly fast tool.) Of course, you don’t need power tools; use whatever you have available. Just cut boards slightly narrower than the width between studs. Don't assume the studs are the same width apart the whole way down; most of mine weren't. Where you can, nail through the stud into the board. Where you can't do that, nail at an angle through the bottom of the shelf, so that it goes into the stud. Put shelves far enough apart that whatever you want to store will fit, plus an extra inch or two to allow you to tip out the jar, can, or bottle. To keep things on the shelf, I ran nylon rope across the fronts of the jars. It's anchored on both sides by looping it around nails sticking out of the studs.
If you want to build these someplace out in the open, you can use dowels instead of rope- drill holes through the sides of the studs for them to run through. Or tack across some thin finish molding. The whole thing will also look much nicer with some molding put on like a picture frame around the entire shelf.
This was a dividing wall, so there was sheetrock on the back of it. I got some washable wallpaper for cheap at Big Lots (love the clearance there!), and covered the sheetrock with it before putting in the shelves. I figured that it would (1)lighten up the area (2)protect and strengthen the wall behind, and (3) make cleaning it a whole lot easier, should something ever spill.
I also hung a thermometer with a humidity sensor; to see what kind of storage conditions the room really provided.
So, out of six feet of otherwise useless space, I can now store several dozen jars or cans.