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Keep a freezer inventory

full upright freezer

Your freezer is no doubt one of the most important appliances in your home. It allows you to stock up on certain food items during sales at the grocery store, and it serves as a long-term storage space for those big, money-saving pots of soup you cook up on Sunday afternoons. But to make the most of this wallet-friendly space, it's crucial to take some basic organizational steps to make sure you and your family are maximizing your freezer's potential. Here are a few tips to help you get the most bang for your frozen foods buck.

 

Freezer inventory: whiteboard or chalkboard

Since your freezer inventory is a constantly changing document, you want to make sure that you have a system that lets you adjust food quantities without looking messy. If your freezer is in an area that does not get a lot of traffic, you may want to write your inventory on a dry erase board or chalkboard. One easy way to do this is to print food items on a label maker or magnet and stick the labels onto your inventory board. Then, write the quantity next to the label, erasing and changing the number as you add or subtract food items in that category. This inventory option is great as long as nothing rubs up against the list, potentially erasing your food counts.

 

Freezer inventory: spreadsheet

If your freezer is in a more high-traffic area, then you will want to use a method that won’t lend itself to disappearing numbers. One option is to create a spreadsheet that allows you to write in the food item, date of storage and quantity in separate columns. A final column can hold a tally count; simply make a hash mark each time you take a food item out of the freezer, and when the hash marks equal the total, you know you have used all of the food items in that category.

 

Freezer inventory: checklist

If you don’t want to mess with math in your busy schedule, try a checkbox inventory. Make a list of food items followed by checkboxes equaling the number of food items in the freezer. If you add an item, you can simply add a checkbox, and when you use an item you write a check in the box. Once all the boxes are full, you know it is time to add to that food category.

 

Freezer inventory: for more than timing

Depending on the variety of items in your freezer, you may also wish to record other things like:

 

  • quantities per batch
  • size of food items
  • meat weight
  • brand
  • store from which an item was purchased
  • bounty of your garden

 

Inventory lists can also leave plenty of room for these details. Finally, you may wish to also create a map of your freezer in addition to the inventory list, so that you know exactly where each food item is stored.

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