Having an extra freezer can be a great way to save money. However, if you are unorganized it can cause a lot of food waste which is money you are simply throwing away.
When my husband and I first married we purchased a small upright freezer. We chose upright because it seemed like it would be easier to organize and I didn’t want to have to bend down into the freezer every time I wanted to get something out or put something in. We decided on the smallest upright we could find because there are just two of us and it would take a lot of food to fill up a large freezer.
We have found that our small freezer has more than enough space for us and even as our family grows I believe it will be completely sufficient.
Many people have a sort of pack rat tendency when it comes to freezing food. They think they need a couple freezers or the largest one that is on the market. Then they fill them up to the brim and often that food goes to waste because items are not properly labeled, they are completely unorganized and often forgotten. I am positive that many people who have an unorganized freezer system have foods in their freezers that are 5 years or older! Why pay extra electricity to store food that is not fit to eat?
We try to have minimal waste and the key to this is being organized and knowing what is in the freezer through a freezer inventory. My system is really basic and simple. I have a notepad that I keep in a magnetic storage bin on my refrigerator. When I take an item out of the freezer to use I mark it off of the list and when I come home from the grocery store, I have my inventory list with me as I am putting items into the freezer. Simple and easy!
Here is an example of one of the pages of my freezer inventory:
Listed on the top of the page is which shelf the food is on. From there, I list each food item that is on that shelf. I either list items according to poundage or quantity in each package. Then I write the month and year that the food was put in the freezer and then have talley marks out beside it if I have more than one of a particular item.
Here are the (simple) categories of my pages:
Here is another one of the pages:
I have found that keeping an inventory is so simple and is really minimizing my food waste (saving me money)! I can simply look at a list and see which items have been in the freezer several months and need to be eaten first.
I’m also saving time while meal planning. My freezer is in my basement so every week when I sit down to meal plan I don’t have to run down to the freezer first and take a peep inside. Instead I just grab my freezer inventory (which I keep upstairs) and sit down with it and I have a complete list of all the meats, vegetables, fruits and other items in my freezer that I can use to plan meals with for the week.
There is one inconvenience with the fact this is handwritten on paper, about every 3 months I have to re-write the freezer inventory because I have filled up the pages with items and marked a lot of things out. This isn’t too much hassle for me, it usually takes 15-20 minutes to re-write the items that are still in the freezer into a new inventory.
(I may move the inventory to a spiral bound notebook, being able to write on the front and back of the paper and it being a larger notebook would probably mean I would only have to transfer about every 6 months. I’ve thought about a dry erase system but I don’t know how well that would work, plus dry erase is messy. I’ve also thought about having the inventory on my computer but I don’t want to have to drag my lap top down to the freezer when I am adding new groceries and would miss the convenience of simply pulling the list off the fridge and marking items off as they are brought upstairs to cook.)
This freezer inventory is saving me time and money and keeping me organized!