Constantly wondering “what's in my fridge?” It's time to kick the habit! We have all the tips you need to clean out and keep track of the food you have in your kitchen. Cut out waste while using a handy printable to know what you've got!
If you've followed me for long, you know I LOVE my freezers. Yes, plural. I have several of them, and they are packed to the BRIM with food. The same goes for my fridge and pantry! My freezers are one of the main tools that allow me to keep my grocery budget so low, and still make healthy, homemade meals for my family!
Aside from learning how to buy extra food items that are on sale (to build that freezer and pantry stockpile), the real trick is to inventory your kitchen so you know what's in there, so you can rotate the food regularly.
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Lucky for us all, we have a gorgeous kitchen inventory printable on ShelfCooking.com that will knock your socks off! So keep on reading to see how to inventory your food and use that beautiful inventory printable. No more wondering “what's in my fridge?” on a daily basis for you!
HOW CAN I EASILY KNOW WHAT'S IN MY FRIDGE, FREEZER, AND PANTRY?
Obviously, the best way to know exactly what you have is to use the kitchen inventory printable. However, you can't just start adding items to it with your next grocery pickup order. You need to completely go through all of the food in your kitchen! It may be a big task if you have a lot of food, but the first time is the hardest. Once you've gone through all of your food, then you just have to worry about keeping it up to date any time you add or use items.
This is a great time to CLEAN AND ORGANIZE your pantry, fridge, and freezer! Don't worry, I've got some great tips for you on doing this… I'm going to focus on cleaning out the freezer, but apply these tips to anywhere you keep food in your house!
TAKE EVERYTHING OUT OF YOUR FREEZER
I choose one side or area of my freezer, and completely empty the contents to the floor. I keep a garbage can close by and toss anything that is super old, funky looking (or smelling), or something that we will never use and I wasn't in my right mind when I decided to keep it (like a ½ empty packet of ham glaze powder from LAST Thanksgiving. What the…??).
Keep your stuff in a pile, it won't thaw out fast enough to do any harm to anything. But if you're worried, keep a cooler nearby and put the food in there.
CLEAN OUT THE CREEPY GUNK
Warning: No children or animals were harmed in the cleaning of this TOXIC, DISGUSTING, TOTALLY GROSS freezer.
Seriously, EW… Don't judge me by the toxic crud in the bottom of my freezer. Why is that Viva container still in there, you wonder? Because it was basically glued down by some unknown sticky substance that took me forever to clean out of the freezer.
I took a vacuum and sucked out what I could, then took some heavy elbow grease and cleaning spray to wipe out the rest.
Needless to say, don't skip the cleaning part! Especially if you want your fridge to look the same way. Just trust me on this, because if you persevere, you can have a fridge that looks like this…(cue heavenly music)
PUT IT ALL BACK & WRITE IT DOWN
Put it all back, and try your best to make it make sense! Write down every item as you go. Here's how I do it:
- Start with the least-used, bulkiest stuff at the bottom.
- Try to make each side or area of your freezer make sense. For example, here's how I organized my kitchen pull-out freezer:
- Left-side: Frozen meals/soup, meat, purees, salsa, etc.
- Right-side: Veggies, fruit, dairy, baking goods, lunchmeat, etc.
- Top mini drawer: Small, random items, and items we use regularly; butter, cream cheese, string cheese and bagged cheese, yogurt, breads, frozen sandwiches, ice cream, etc.
- Write down everything that gets put back in your freezer, and make note of what side/area it's on. Try to write it down somewhat in the same order as how you put it back in your freezer. Be sure to note how many you have. I have 3 yogurts in the picture above (we use them in smoothies), so I would check 3 boxes. As I use one up, cross off the box.
USE YOUR KITCHEN INVENTORY
Don't forget to use your kitchen inventory checklist from ShelfCooking.com so you're no longer asking yourself “what's in my fridge?”!
Remember, at the end of the day the purpose of having all this glorious food is to make your life easier and save you money… So USE IT! Plan your meals around what you have, especially on those weeks where money is tight.
Want to get reeeeeeal crazy?
Now that you have all this newly discovered food in your life… Do a one or two-week spending freeze! It will not only force you to use what you have, but it's a great way to save a LOT of money in a short amount of time. It's liberating, motivating, and empowering; like a juice cleanse for your body or something. In one week you could save enough money to completely pay for Christmas. Buy a few kitchen staples before the freeze, but otherwise don't spend a dime and focus only on what you have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer!
That's it! Super easy, super useful, super quick project that will make you feel oh so good. Now, get out there and enjoy having a romantic date with the food in your kitchen!
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Want some more great ideas?
- Get our best grocery shopping tips and tricks to help you save money and feed your family on a budget!
- Once you finish organizing the food in your kitchen, move on to your closet and easily organize it with these great tips!
- Start doing your laundry the unconventional way and you'll never go back to doing it the other way again!