“What’s in My Fridge?” How to Inventory Your Kitchen!

Apr 10, 2021 | Cleaning Tips and Tricks, Food

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 our handy, free printable to track what you've got!

Fridge inventory printable checklist from Fun Cheap or Free

If you've followed along for long, you know we LOVE our freezers. Yes, plural. We have several of them, and they are packed to the BRIM with food. The same goes for our fridge and pantry! Our freezers are one of the main tools that allow us to keep our grocery budget so low, and still make healthy, homemade meals for our 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 and rotate the food regularly.

*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

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, we've got some great tips for you on doing this… We're 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

Freezer foods and freezer inventory checklist printable, from Fun Cheap or Free

Choose one side or area of your freezer and completely empty the contents to the floor. Keep a garbage can close by and toss anything that is super old, funky looking (or smelling), or something that you will never use.

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

Don't skip the cleaning part! You never know when your freezer will be empty again, so take advantage of it. Use a vacuum to suck out what you can, then move on to the elbow grease! Ecloths are our favorite way to scrub all of the gross stuff out of the fridge and freezer!


PUT IT ALL BACK & WRITE IT DOWN

Freezer inventory checklist in a freezer drawer, from Fun Cheap or Free

Put everything back, and try your best to make it make sense! Write down every item as you go. Here's how we 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 we organized our 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, such as butter, cream cheese, string cheese and bagged cheese, yogurt, breads, frozen sandwiches, ice cream, etc.
  • Write down everything as you put it 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, along with how many you have.

USE YOUR KITCHEN INVENTORY PRINTABLE

Kitchen inventory checklist printable on a clipboard, from Fun Cheap or Free

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.


DO A SPENDING FREEZE

Wanna get reeeeaaaaalllll 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!

Image with text that reads "how to inventory your food and know what you have" from Fun Cheap or Free

Have you checked outΒ ShelfCooking.comΒ yet? Our brand new site is dedicated to helping you cook delicious, homemade, down-home-cooked meals for your family without spending too much time in the kitchen!

Basically every parent's dream, right? Join our Shelf Cooking Community today!


Want some more great ideas?

Happy inventorying!

Jordan F Page signature from Fun Cheap or Free

39 Comments

  1. Valerie A Kinkead

    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?

    Reply
  2. Edrina

    How are you supposed to use the quantity boxes on the right of the printable guide?

    Reply
    • 0121diamonds

      use tally marks. as you use an item, check. off a tally mark x

      Reply
  3. Tiffany

    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!

    Reply
  4. Debbie Elmore

    You can also freeze sugar, flour, biscuit mix, corn meal, oats, corn starch, baking soda and powder.

    Reply
  5. Gramma Debbie

    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.

    Reply
  6. Tish

    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!

    Reply
    • FunCheapOrFree

      That is so great to hear! Yay!

      Reply
  7. Kaycee

    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!

    Reply
  8. Dresden

    Great ideas! Time to use this to organize my fridge! Thank you!

    Reply
  9. Virginia

    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.

    Reply
  10. Stephanie

    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).

    Reply
    • MomofCandJ

      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.

      Reply
      • FunCheapOrFree

        Those are great ideas!

        Reply
    • Tasha

      I’m a tater lover too & found a quick easy way of cooking that tastes just as good. Start by scrubbing, removing eyes, spots, etc. Use knife or fork to poke holes. Sprinkle with salt. Cook in microwave till done. Have oven preheated to 425*. Bake potatoes in oven about 10 mins or until skins are crispy. This saves time, energy, money & produces a baked potato that tastes & feels like it spent the whole time in the oven!

      Reply
      • Fun Cheap or Free

        That’s such a great idea! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

        Reply
  11. Andrea Mace

    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.

    Reply
    • FunCheapOrFree

      Laminating it would be best. You can just use wet erase markers, that way it only comes off with water!

      Reply
    • MomofCandJ

      Ive done in with a page protector and a dry erase marker… just have to keep it high enough the kids and pets dont accidently erase it.

      Reply
      • FunCheapOrFree

        Yes, that’s a great idea!

        Reply
  12. Tina

    I don’t see a meal planning printable?

    Reply
    • FunCheapOrFree

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

      Reply
  13. Sharon

    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!

    Reply
    • FunCheapOrFree

      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!

      Reply
  14. faraboverubies31@gmail.com

    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. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • FunCheapOrFree

      You’ll have to let me know what you figure out when you do!

      Reply
  15. Barb

    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!

    Reply
    • Jordan Page

      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! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  16. Candalynne Krause

    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!

    Reply
    • Jordan Page

      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! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  17. Fanny

    Thanks for showing your process! I have stuff piled on top of each other and it is tough to track everything or even know how long stuff has been there!

    Reply
    • Fun Cheap or Free

      The printable will definitely help out with that!

      Reply
  18. Laura P.

    I flippin’ love your blog! Thank you for showing us the imperfections of your fridge and elsewhere, something too few bloggers do. πŸ˜€ We’re all in this together, messy living spaces and all!

    Reply
    • Fun Cheap or Free

      Oh girl, we are allll about being real over here! Thanks for the love! XOXO

      Reply
  19. Janette

    How do you fill out the Date? Do you put when item expire, when you purchased them, or of when you last took the inventory?

    Reply
    • Fun Cheap or Free

      That’s really up to you! We fill out the date as when we took the inventory. But then when we go to grab the food from the freezer, we look at the date and make sure to pull out the oldest one.

      Reply
  20. Melissa

    What is the difference between the pantry inventory and the kitchen inventory? What do you put on the kitchen inventory?

    Reply
    • Fun Cheap or Free

      Some people don’t actually have pantries and have to use their kitchen cabinets to store their food, so the kitchen inventory could be used for that. Or some people have small pantries, but then also have to store their food in their kitchen cabinets or in other closets in the house. This is just a way to help them differentiate what food is where!

      Reply
  21. Sandra W.

    People: Don’t forget to also inventory your spices too.

    Thank You for these great charts! As for having a place to keep them , go to an office supply store and purchase some peel off magnets (they are in different sizes, and you can trim them to fit or add more and mount them right on the refrigerator or freezer door.

    Reply

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