Friday, July 12, 2013

Keeping Track of What's Where with a Freezer Inventory

We have two freezers at our house, one on the bottom of our French door refrigerator in the kitchen and a small chest freezer in our basement.  It's easy to forget what I've already got and I don't want to buy a lot of duplicates, so a while back I created a freezer inventory to keep track of what is in each freezer and how many we have of each item. 

View my freezer inventory printout (Word doc on Google Drive)

You should be able to print copies of mine or you can use it to create a version with categories that work well for your household.  I typically print 3-4 copies at a time so I can fill out a new one when I feel it's necessary.

Why Inventory?

Having a freezer inventory saves me time when planning my grocery list since I already know what I've got and if I need to buy more.  It also makes planning meals easier since I can sit down with my inventory sheet and see what we've got for ingredients.  I keep my filled-out freezer inventory sheet on the side of my refrigerator with a magnet so it's always handy.

In general, I try to keep my my freezer organized.  Fruits for smoothies go in a plastic bin in the top drawer, veggies go in the green crate, meats in the pink crate, etc.   Occasionally when I'm inventorying I'll run across an item that wasn't put into the right place in the freezer, like if I happened to buy something and didn't have enough time when I got home to put it in its assigned place, this is the time I'll move it to the right place.

I color-code my inventory I use a black or blue pen for upstairs, a red pen for downstairs.  That way I can see at a glance where an item is located.

How I Inventory My Freezer

I use one hand to pull things out of the freezer and the other hand is for writing.  I'm right-handed when I write, so I put a thin glove on my left hand so I can use that hand to pull cold items out of the freezer.
  1. Take it all out -- I grab an empty laundry basket and start by removing everything from a section of the freezer and putting it in the laundry basket.
  2.  Put it all back in -- As I put each thing back into that section of the freezer, I make note of the item on the inventory sheet. The boxes are used to indicate the number of items, like if there are two loaves of bread, there is a slash  to indicate each loaf \ \ . When I remove one loaf of bread from the freezer, I add a slash in the other direction /, which completes the X. 
  3. Repeat -- go through each section of the freezer and make note of everything you've got.  
Sometimes it's difficult knowing how to count things, do you count single bagels individually, or a package of 4 bagels as one?  For me that depends on the type of object it is.  A lot of the time I just try to remember how I counted that item.

I inventory my freezer about 4-6 times per year, usually when the inventory sheet is all scribbles and crossed out items.  

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!