If you’re tired of opening your freezer and wondering what’s inside or overbuying groceries because you forgot what you have, now is the time to end the cycle with a simple but effective solution. A freezer inventory!
Keeping track of what’s in your freezer is essential for avoiding food waste, saving money, and making meal prep easier. This post will explain why having a freezer inventory is important and how it can help you save time and energy in the kitchen.
It really is a game-changer!
How long do things really last in the freezer?
The freezer is an amazing invention. It can keep food good for much longer than in the fridge, and it’s super easy to keep lots of extra food in the freezer.
But, while it seems like things stay good in the freezer forever, frozen food does go bad eventually! It’s important to know when items need to be thrown out and replaced so you’re not eating spoiled food.
You can always look up certain frozen foods to figure out how long they last, but here’s a quick rundown, just so you can keep track of how long you can keep food in the freezer before it spoils.
Meat and Fish
- Lunch meat, bacon, sausage, and hot dogs are good for 1-2 months.
- Ground beef and ground chicken are good for 3-4 months.
- Fresh beef and pork are good for 4-12 months (depending on how you store them).
- Ham lasts anywhere from 1 month to 6 months, depending on if it’s cured or not.
- Fresh chicken and turkey (like chicken breasts or wings) last 9 months to a year.
- Fish lasts 2-8 months, depending on what kind of fish.
- Shellfish is good for 2-18 months, depending on the type.
Some veggies don’t freeze very well, like celery, lettuce, cabbage, radishes, and cucumbers – basically the vegetables with high water content.
Other than that, you can freeze fresh vegetables for 8-12 months, but keep in mind that some will lose their crunchiness and some of their flavor when defrosted.
Frozen fruit, like vegetables, can be stored for 8-12 months. Some fruit is still good after that time, but you may notice a decrease in taste and texture.
Sometimes we put food in the freezer to keep it past its expiration date. That’s usually fine since a lot of food (when frozen) can last longer, but be careful not to keep food too long. Even if it’s still good, the taste and texture may change after a certain amount of time.
And that’s where a freezer inventory comes in!
Why should I keep a freezer inventory?
Keeping a freezer inventory is a great idea for several reasons. By tracking what you have in your freezer, it will be easier to plan meals, save money on groceries, and not waste food. Let me explain how.
Keeping a freezer inventory makes it really easy to meal plan! When you have an inventory sheet of all the food in your chest freezer, it saves time when you decide what your family will eat that week. No more digging through shelves or down to the bottom of the freezer to see what meat you have.
Having a freezer inventory sheet keeps all of your ingredients easily accessible. You can also make an inventory sheet for your pantry and refrigerator so you know every item in your entire house. An inventory sheet really comes in handy!
Eliminate Food Waste
When you take the time to write down what’s in your freezer, it’s much easier to make use of ingredients that are about to expire or go bad. You can keep track of when those chicken breasts at the bottom of the chest freezer need to be used or remember that you still have pork you can use.
Keeping an inventory list of the food in your freezer ensures that, on a daily basis, you can easily find whatever you have in your freezer and make sure those freezer meals and frozen food won’t go bad or get freezer burn before you can eat them.
Having a freezer inventory list can also help when you go grocery shopping! You know exactly what you have in the freezer, so you won’t buy more of something you already have. This can prevent overbuying, save your money, and save space in your freezer and fridge since you won’t have tons of extra food to store.
Consult your freezer inventory before you go grocery shopping at the store so you know exactly what you’re running out of and what you have lots of.
What kind of freezer inventory should I use?
There are lots of different ways to keep a freezer inventory! Here are a few of the most popular ones.
Freezer Inventory App
One great way to keep a freezer inventory is with an app. There are lots of apps you can use that let you log all the food in your freezer and even set expiration dates for each item. That way, you can easily keep track of everything without having to manually write it down every time something new goes into the freezer.
Dry Erase Board
Some people also like to stick a whiteboard on the freezer door and just use a dry-erase marker to update the food and quantity whenever they get back from the store with new items.
This is a great way for your husband and the whole family to be able to keep track of what food is in the freezer, but be careful if you have young kids. They could erase or change the board if they have access to the dry-erase marker and can reach the freezer door!
Freezer Inventory Spreadsheet
Another way to keep track of the food in your freezers is with an Excel spreadsheet you make yourself. You can list items and track expiration dates, quantity, or any other info you need.
This option is great if you want to have a fully customizable solution that works for your family’s specific needs. Plus it can be shared with all the members of your house so everyone knows what food is in the freezer.
Printable Freezer Inventory
My favorite option is using a free printable freezer inventory. You can find a freezer inventory printable that will fit your specific needs. Just print it out and get started!
It’s a great way to keep track of what you have in the freezer without having to worry about apps, spreadsheets, or whiteboards. It’s nice because you can download a freezer inventory printable for free and then customize it a bit for your needs without having to start from scratch!
The printable will have the categories you need, so you’ll just have to print it out and write down what you have in your freezer! You can also put it in a page protector and use a dry-erase marker so you can just erase and update it each time you go shopping.
What type of information should I add to my freezer inventory?
So what categories do you need on your free printable? Well, the important information you need on your freezer inventory are:
- Food name
- Expiration date
- Freezing date (if you remember it)
- Location of food in freezer (top, middle, bottom shelf)
- Category (meat, veggies, dairy, etc.)
These categories will help you easily keep track of what you have and where it is so you can easily pull it out when it’s time to cook! This is especially awesome if you have a deep chest freezer or your shelves are stocked full.
Get your free printable freezer inventory today!
Get or make your awesome free freezer inventory and get started on the process today. Go through your freezer and take stock of what you have. Make a system you can maintain and stick to it!
Having a freezer inventory will ensure you don’t purchase more than you need, eat food after they spoil, and it will help when cooking! It will be a total game-changer when it comes to having an organized freezer.