Come on, let’s fess up, do you know what lurks in your freezer?
I don’t, but I am bound and determined to change that over the next month as I slowly but surely, eat through my freezer during my January Pantry and Freezer Challenge. Last week we shared a bit about our pantry stockpile and the “When is enough, enough?” stockpiling food question. Your answers, as always, were so interesting. (And yes, I read the requests for a follow up post on my long term food storage. I will address it in more detail.)
Today, I’m sharing a freezer inventory checklist that will help us all get organized with our freezer stockpile. With a chest freezer and a side by side freezer, it’s so easy for me to throw items in the freezer, and completely forget what falls into the deep, dark abyss. Especially in a large stand alone freezer, knowing where food items are located is crucial as well.
Remembering that I have frozen chicken breast in my chest freezer, but having no clue where it’s located, does me no good when I am in a hurry to get dinner going.
After having pulled out ten frozen veggies, two half gallons of milk, a packet of hot dog buns that I searched for three months ago, and my after Easter ham deal purchase, I’m in no mood to joyously make that Crockpot BBQ chicken recipe, no matter how easy it is. 😉
One of my main goals from this freezer challenge is to eat through enough frozen foods to be able to defrost my outside chest freezer. There is so much ice around the rim that it really needs to be defrosted in order for it to perform better, but I have a long way to go before that can happen.
But, I feel great satisfaction from my inside freezer because for the first time in months, I saw…
Oh yes, there’s a light at the end of this tunnel.
For years, I had freezer checklist taped outside of my chest freezer (and inside my pantry door for my inside freezer). It really helped me stay organized with what I had available, especially when I flash freezed items and made freezer meals.
Remember, just make it work for you. No system is perfect, and if your children help put away groceries there’s always a margin for error, but it will be better than no system at all. When I add things to the freezer, I will put a number for what shelf it’s on. That way, I will have an area to look to right away. When I use up that item, I will just cross it off.
I’ll be excited to hear how you implement this check list. I can easily make additions to improve on it as you share.
Go ahead and download your Free Freezer Checklist, and let’s get what lurks in our freezer(s) under control.
What is your biggest freezer organizational challenge? Are you like my family? We’re stuffers!
I know many of you have amazing freezer organizational systems already in place. I’d love to hear about your system. Could you share what you do in the comments? (I know my readers would love to know as well.)
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I really, really want a freezer chest so we can start buying various things in bulk, and prepping freezer meals on a larger scale than we already do. At the moment I have frozen blueberries, old shrimp, leftover cookie dough, some WW ice cream bars, frozen pancakes and 4 dinners worth of meatballs and sauce. The fact that I can name these things off the top of my head doesn’t make me happy!
Thanks, as always, for hosting.
Oh my. I laughed at that…the fact you can name those things off the top of your head, and then I think of my freezer. I think if we came to a happy medium of yours and mine, we might be good. 🙂
Thanks so much for the freezer list – I totally need to do this!! I always lose track of what we have and sometimes we find very old things. And thanks for hosting as always! 🙂
Love the checklist idea! Thanks for hosting this week!
I actually don’t keep that much in my freezer, believe it or not! We do have a big freezer in the basement with our side of beef from last fall, but upstairs in the kitchen, our freezer is usually half empty. And yet there are always things that get buried and forgotten. I am loving the checklist idea!
I have an upright freezer in the basement, and since I’m too lazy to run up and down the stairs trying to figure out what we have and what I want to make. So I started keeping a marker board (it’s one I had on my door in college, so I didn’t even have to shell out any money for it!) with a list of what we have in the basement freezer. I try also to keep each shelf with types of things (top shelf is desserts, 2nd is prepared meals, 3rd & 4th are meats, somewhat organized by type).
We just did an inventory, and I wrote on all the items using a dry erase marker — it was a great way to label without having to deal with tape and/or permanent markers.
I posted a few weeks ago about using a dry erase marker right on the freezer door, like SnoWhite mentioned. It is so helpful and easy to keep track of!
In the past I have used a Freezer Inventory Sheet (from 30 Day Gourmet). It worked great and I need to start using one again! More than once I have mistaken what is inside of a container, (spaghetti sauce which was really BBQ sauce!), and others! Oops!
When we moved I found a dry erase board that I thought would be great for tracking what’s in my chest freezer. I don’t need it right now since it is stuffed full of venison and pork waiting to be made into sausage. In fact, I’m kind of scared to open it 🙂
What a great idea to have a check list! That way the whole family knows whats in there.
Thanks for hosting. I’m sharing a recipe for Squash Gnocchi with a Curried Fig Butter. Hope you have a great week.
I was just thinking today that my freezer was getting a little over-stuffed and I needed to clear it out! Perfect timing!
Thank you for hosting. I’ve shared my favorite cake recipes from 2011 from my blog.
Thanks for the free freezer inventory chart – will use this, as it is more functional than the one I was using before. Thanks for sharing!
I spent some time working on my freezer organization this morning. I need to pick up another couple of containers to group stuff together with but it looks a lot better than it did.
My greatest freezer challenge is at this time of year. Hunting seasons have come to a close and our freezer is stuffed with the bounty. Right now I am just trying to keep each type of food on seperate shelves…Ie. Pork on one, Venison on another, etc. I can hardly wait to hear your suggestions as my stand up freezer is now officially ‘stuffed’. I have to make room before the summer’s garden needs a place of it own!
I would really love to download the checklist, but I can’t make the links work! Any chance you could e-mail it to me? It’s a wonderful idea.
Can you try it straight from here? That is so odd that it won’t work. Sorry about that. Let me know.
I just did a freezer cleanout and inventory because we may be moving soon and I wanted to eat through some of what’s been in there for a while. I have an inside freezer and a smaller upright freezer for over flow. I decided to keep everything in the back freezer except what I would be using up in the next couple of weeks: A couple of loaves of bread, some freezer meals, frozen fruits and veggies for our morning smoothies, and frozen pancakes and waffles, and the chicken/meat we would need in the next weeks.
The back freezer has some turkeys, frozen veggies, frozen homemade chicken and veggie stock, and extra baked goods. The freezer isn’t stuffed, so it was easier to put like things together.
My husband says that I use the “stand back and throw” method when I put things in the fridge or freezer.
Hi, Jen. I tried this with my pantry storage in the basement, but I never stuck with it. I just cleaned out the freezer after my last grocery trip this past Friday, and at least it’s organized. I should really do a list again…
I wouldnt own another chest freezer if someone gave it to me.. and I REALLY want another freezer.. Saying that, I owned one that was given to me for about 10 years.. It finally died since it was about 50 years old.. seriously.
These days I have a huge upright freezer in my basement that is actually in pretty good shape right now.
I always put meat on the top shelf or top two as it is right now. I bought a couple grass fed beef packages from my CSA at the end of the year and then pork went on sale everywhere, so I stocked up on that too. I have a little bit of chicken in there & some sausages as well that I got inexpensively thanks to coupons. Looking for more bird deals though..
Someone on another blog recommended I put the meats on the bottom of the freezer so if it ever goes out unbeknownst to me, it wont drip on everything else.. and also said that the bottom of freezers are also colder.. might be worth looking into.
I also put freezer meals on my second shelf. I dont have lots of these but there are a few.
I have a magnetic dry erase board on my freezer (& one on my kitchen frig) and I write what I have in there, meal-wise & meat wise. I also usually make large pots of soups and put them in individual size containers for easy lunches or snacks and write them on the magnet too so I know what I have in there at any given time without having to dig. The soups are in a small hanging shelf that is about 3 inches tall, just enough to slide the containers in..
The next shelf is where I put my frozen veggies. A huge part of them are boxed Green Giant veggies that were gotten either free or almost free.. At one time, the entire shelf from front to back, top to bottom was Green Giant veggies courtesy of double coupons and free. Those days are over but they can still be had inexpensively. I also store an occasional container of ice cream on this shelf. 😉
The next shelf is a pull out basket & this is where all manner of junk food live.. Kind of out of sight but still there.. Schwans Ice cram cups, frozen cinnamon rolls, frozen pretzels, and ice cream sticks & pop sickles. My little sorta-grands can go help themselves after they’ve asked permission. There are other odds & ends in this basket too.. so odd that I cant remember whatelse, but we could probably live without it. 😉
The bottom pull out basket mainly has many pounds of cheese that I got free last year.. Probably 20 pounds still in there.. Need to use it up, but it keeps quite well.
There are also some frozen cranberries down there.. they keep really well too.
In the door is where I keep all manner of flours, meals, seeds, nuts, garlic & chocolate. 🙂 I also have frozen coffee creamers like International Delight & Coffee Mate. It freezes really well & thaws just fine.
My upstairs frig freezer on the other hand is a disaster area.. haha.. I did try to organize it not too long ago..
We have a side by side & cant open the freezer door wide since its up against a wall. Its quite horrible but we still manage to stuff all sorts of things in it.. frozen pie crusts, single pieces of meats here & there, packaged veggies & fruit, more nuts, lots & lots of herbs, cooking odds & ends such as roasted garlic in foil, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, hot pepper salsa that we break into pieces to put in our hashbrowns or anything else that needs a bite to it, and all sorts of bazarre odds & ends including fudge I made over the holiday..
Its not a pretty sight. 😉 I dont know if there will ever be hope for it.. maybe.. someday. 😉
I wanted to buy another upright freezer to house a half cow, a hog, & pastured chickens & turkeys, but I think Im going to start canning more meat & soups instead of freezing them. That way, its usable for fast meals and I dont have to worry about the electricity going out, and loosing stuff as I do on occasion..
So there ya have it.. my good, the bad, & the ugly. 😉
oh the freezer. i have 3. how pathetic is that? I don’t want 3. but we have an extra fridge in our garage because our side by side holds nothing fridge wise. our deep freezer and extra fridge were free, but oh the organizing of it all. i had a beautiful checklist, but do I keep up with it?? no. This is reinspiring me to try it again. I do love eating from the freezer!
What a great idea! I was just going through my deep freezer earlier and thinking, I need to come up with some kind of check list for this thing. Thanks for sharing one with us! 🙂
Great timing! We currently mourning in my house because we lost everything in our large freezer. It’s a great time to start fresh . . . as soon as I get up the courage to unplug it and clean it out. ☺
Oh Lori – I SO feel your pain. It’s horrible, isn’t it? I lost a freezer full this summer and yes, it’s such a mess to clean. UGH….
sooo! whats the most efficient way 2 use the chest freezer inventory list?
Nice method of organizing the freezer. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much for this! I have tried so many inventory lists, but I love the check/X and that you added a blank page at the end! Thank you 🙂
Thank you this is just what I needed it! I was just jotting it down on a piece of paper then would forget to cross something off but this makes it even easier!!
I have tried numerous to click on the link where you mention the site where 100 new recipes are listed each week. However, it just keeps taking me back to that very same page. How can I get to the site you’re talking about. Thanks!
I will check, but I think the link must be broken since it’s an old one. Sorry about that.
I am starting to shop monthly, and this week we will be getting an 1/8th beef so I need to go through my freezer and get it organized. Planning on meal planning according to what’s in there now (pretty sure mostly pork from our pig we got last year). There are a few things I know I have off hand, like we have two giants hams and a few packages of bacon, I think I have at least two packages of boneless skinless chicken thighs, beef stew meat. Lots of baby food purées that I’ve made for my daughter, lots of ground beef and pork breakfast sausage. I have two packages of popcícles that I may just take out and let thaw until I have more space. Lots of frozen veggies. I have a pie crust and a big brick of bread yeast too. Not sure what else I have off hand but we have 2 fridge freezers and a small chest freezer and they all have quite a bit in them. I think if I plan well, I probably won’t need to do much shopping for the next month or so.
I love that you came and responded to these old posts. Kindreds in the saving money department for sure. All these years later and I still shop and cook the same way. It makes all the difference over decades on saving money.