Freezer Inventory – How to Keep Track of What You Have
As the weather gets cooler, you may actually feel like doing some batch cooking but there’s no room in the freezer to put all your goodies.
It’s time to clear out your freezer and start new. It doesn’t help much if you don’t know what you have in there. Doing a couple of hours of batch cooking is great but you need to eat what you’ve made in a timely manner. There’s no time, money or effort saved if you end up throwing out unmarked or old, unused food. It’s estimated that a 4-person family loses $1,500 a year on wasted food. What could you do with an extra $1,500 per year?
So here is my simple method for keeping a running freezer inventory
List everything you have in the freezer
If it’s been a while I pull everything out. Check the dates to make sure it’s still fresh. I have kept a freezer inventory for a while so nothing in mine is over 3 months old. If you haven’t been labeling your food with a date in and you think it’s been a while, toss it. It sucks throwing food away so learn from this experience and always label and date food before you put it in the freezer. You can use this time to organize, stacking like with like, if you can.
Count out how many you have of each item.
I have a freezer inventory list that I use. I have the worst handwriting so, I like to have it preprinted with items that I always seem to have in my freezer. Then all I have do is write the date that I froze it. Then I use a tick mark for the quantity. I turn the tick mark into an x when I take the item out. At a glance, I know how many of each item I have left. You can use a different symbol like a circle. Do what works best for you.
I mark my freezer packages with the date and name with a Sharpie pen. All freezer bags have an area for marking. I use a lot of wide mouth mason jars. I just put a piece of freezer tape on the lid and write out the date and name. I have also gotten in the habit of freezing raw or cooked meat in half pound or one cup quantities. That way I don’t have to mess with logging different quantities.
My freezer inventory is always on the side of my fridge. I used for my meal planning for the week and before I go shopping. Make sure you add or subtract what you add or remove. Takes just a couple of minutes but will save you a ton of time and money in the long run.
Bonus – Spending Freeze
If your freezer is getting full, do a one- or two-week spending freeze. It will force you to use what you have and save money. Shop mostly from your freezer and pantry and only buy perishables like fresh produce.
Freezer Inventory List
To get you started, here is a word document of my list. Make changes to make it work for you.
Hello! I'm Jori Zimmerman, a nutritionist and owner of Nutrition Savvy. I work with individuals that are looking to make dietary and lifestyle changes that will lead them to living a healthier and higher quality of life.