How to Inventory your Freezer, Pantry, and Fridge

All the tips you need to keep track of the food you have in your kitchen with a pantry, fridge and freezer inventory printable.

how to organize your freezer and keep better track of what you have from funcheaporfree.com!

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. My freezers are one of the main tools that allow me to spend so little on groceries, and still make healthy, homemade meals for my family! Aside from learning how to buy extra of food items that are on sale (to build that freezer stockpile), the real trick is to inventory your freezer so you know what's in there, so you can rotate the food regularly.

Lucky for us all, I recently cleaned out and inventoried my fridge, freezer, and pantry, and decided to show you not only HOW I did it, but to give you a FREE INVENTORY PRINTABLE to help you manage your food as well!

Scroll down to grab my old printable!! Or click HERE for our updated ShelfCooking.com printable!

Here's what you do first…

TAKE EVERYTHING OUT OF YOUR FREEZER

How to inventory your freezer from FunCheapOrFree.com


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 1/2 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

How to inventory your freezer from FunCheapOrFree.com

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.

Aaaah…much better!

How to inventory your freezer from FunCheapOrFree.com

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)

how to organize your freezer and keep better track of what you have from funcheaporfree.com!

PUT IT ALL BACK & WRITE IT DOWN

How to inventory your freezer from FunCheapOrFree.com

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.
How to inventory your freezer from FunCheapOrFree.com
  • 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 do 3 tally marks. As I use one up, cross off a mark.

USE YOUR FREEZER INVENTORY

As promised, I made you a FREE Freezer/Fridge/Pantry inventory printable so you can keep track of your food too! Click HERE to print our updated printables.

The MOST IMPORTANT STEP (and where I fail the most) is

  • 1) keeping up with your new organized freezer (crossing off things you use, putting things back where they go, and updating your inventory list as you buy and use things), and
  • 2) using what you have in meals instead of buying new food at the store all the time.

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. See my “5 simple grocery tips to save you thousands” post for lots of helpful links and ideas on how to do this well.

How to inventory your freezer from FunCheapOrFree.com

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 staples before the freeze, but otherwise don't spend a dime and focus only on what you have in your pantry/freezer! See about my spending freeze HERE.

Get free (super cute) meal planning printables and a free freezer, fridge, and pantry inventory printable HERE, to help keep you organized in all areas of your kitchen.

how to organize your freezer and keep better track of what you have -  - FREE printable included! from funcheaporfree.com!

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 your freezer!

Check out ShelfCooking.com

Have you checked out ShelfCooking.com yet? Our brand new site is dedicated to helping you cook delicious, nutritious and budget-friendly meals for your family without slaving away in the kitchen! Basically every parent's dream, right? Join our Shelf Cooking Community today!

Comments

  1. AvatarValerie A Kinkead says

    What kind of fridge do you have? I’ve been searching on your site for more info about your kitchen remodel, because it looks awesome, but I can’t find a post about it. We’re planning a kitchen remodel soon and I would love some tips on how to not spend a fortune. I mean, I know it’s gonna be expensive, but every cent counts, right?

  2. AvatarTiffany says

    This printable would be super awesome if there is a way to put it in an app and also have a widget option for your home screens!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. AvatarGramma Debbie says

    I peal my bananas before freezing – they are ready to go & look nicer, too.

    Also, instead of writing down your freezer inventory, use the voice recorder on your phone or snap some pictures – it doesn’t interrupt the flow of cleaning and sorting as much, and you can get your stuff put back faster. Then be sure to transcribe the information from your phone immediately.

  4. AvatarTish says

    Thanks so much for these! I am constantly buying things and then discovering that we already have it! Just went through my freezer with this list!

  5. AvatarKaycee says

    My husband and I have a chest freezer so things get lost in the bottom. We thought we were almost out of hamburger last week so we did this to make new meal plans and found almost half of our hamburger at the bottom. I forgot I had layered it when I packed it all in! Saved me a ton of money! Thanks for the inventory reminder!

  6. AvatarVirginia says

    I just did this a few weeks ago (made DH help, lol) and I discovered so much food I had forgotten about. I now have a list on the fridge and have been cooking more from what we have. It’s been saving me loads of money already.

  7. AvatarStephanie says

    I just HAVE to ask this… are those baked potatoes in foil in gallon sized bags?!? I didn’t know you can freeze baked potatoes (if that’s what those are). If that’s what they are please tell me your ways because I LOVE baked potatoes but I hate making them with how long they take to bake (or how hot my house gets in the process).

    • AvatarMomofCandJ says

      I just made them and wrap in foil and toss in a ziploc type bag and stick in the freezer, then you can bake or microwave from frozen or thaw first. I also do the same with twice baked… you can either bake once, stuff and freeze or do the 2nd bake and freeze. Both white potatoes and sweet potatoes work this way.

  8. AvatarAndrea Mace says

    So do you just print one out each time or reuse it somehow? I was going to say maybe laminate but, then the writing may come off. Would hate to have to re-print every time I organize food.

    • AvatarFunCheapOrFree says

      The fridge, freezer and pantry inventory printables are linked under the last section of the post. Good luck!

  9. AvatarSharon says

    I have a chest freezer where things tend to get lost on the bottom! What has helped is stanading up things vertically like files so you can just pull up what you need instead of pulling the top things out to see the bottom things.

    Also Alejandra.tv has a really good freezer organization video, where she uses recycling bins from Ikea to stack in her chest freezer. I have it on my “to-do” list do measure out my freezer and get those recycling bins!

    • AvatarFunCheapOrFree says

      Inventorying my freezer every few weeks or so definitely helps me to know what all I have in my freezer. Your idea of standing things up vertically is a great idea!

  10. Avatar[email protected] says

    This is a great system! We have a chest freezer, so food can easily get lost. Keeping an inventory list totally helps, but I’m also working on a solution to organize all of the meat, vegetables, fruit, and freezer meals better. I want to figure out a way to make the food more accessible. 🙂

  11. AvatarBarb says

    I just did this! I feel so much better knowing exactly what’s in there. I was shocked at some of the stuff I found that I had forgotten about. Thank you for this fabulous tip!

    • AvatarJordan Page says

      I know, isn’t it crazy! Even if you don’t have a ton of space in your fridge/freezer/pantry, it still can add up and get lost! I’m glad that you found some things that you can use! 🙂

  12. AvatarCandalynne Krause says

    I only have the fridge/freezer combo… but I have wanted to maybe get a chest freezer at some point in my life (cuz my grandma always had one so I understood when you have a lot of kids/grand kids you need more space for ice cream and popcicles) but love hearing pros and cons…. also if i get in the habit now of the inventory list I should be good when/if I get a bigger freezer right?

    Right now i’m more excited to try to list for the pantry…We just bought a new home and I have a tiny skinny thing that they claimed worked fine… yeah no… so i’m going to try to get a hutch from Ikea for pans and the like and use the cubbards I have for food… (my mom says shes surprised we got the house with such a poor kitchen layout…) Any who! So excited to use this list… thinking maybe I’ll stick a list for each cubbard what’s in there instead of just one master? And hope that my husband will help me in using it!

    • AvatarJordan Page says

      It’s so much easier to inventory everything once you do it the first go around and have a master to work off of! That’s a good idea to inventory each section, whatever makes it easiest on you and your family! 🙂

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