Do You Know What is in Your Freezer?

If your freezer is jam-packed with all the bargains you've collected, you may not even know what's in the back corner. Maybe it's time to clean out the freezer, use up what you have, and then get ready for another day of "freezer cooking". Start with these steps to an organized freezer.

Remove everything from the freezer. It's important that you examine each item to determine it's usefulness. Do you know how old it is? Do you even know what it is? If in doubt, throw it out. Clear the space for food you will use.

Repackage items. To create more space in the freezer, it helps to repackage existing items and new items. For example, if you have a half empty box of popsicles, you could transfer the popsicles to a freezer bag. For new items such as poultry or fish, repackage in the sizes typically used in your recipes. This will take up less space and help to simplify meal planning. As you add new items to the freezer, be sure to label each item so that you know what it is and when you placed it in the freezer.

Store like items together. Once your items are ready to go back into the freezer, it will help to keep like items together on the same shelf or in the same drawer. For example, place meat and poultry together, breads on a separate shelf, and frozen vegetables on another shelf. You could also purchase wire baskets or plastic bins to fit on freezer shelves to help organize these categories.

Develop a freezer inventory log. A freezer inventory log lets you know what's in the freezer without opening the door. A log will help with meal planning as well as planning shopping trips because you know what you already have. However, a log is only useful if you keep it up-to-date. Here are some of my favorite printable freezer inventory logs from around the web:

I really like this simple template from Organized Home. Use a slash mark to denote that you have the item. Complete the X when you have used the item. Simple and useful.

This cute list from Little Bird House separates freezer contents into four categories: Entrees, Meats & Dairy, Sides, and Miscellaneous. It uses the same slash mark and X system.

This cute template from Faithful Provisions lets you fill in the list by typing it on the computer before printing. You can't save the list but a typed list always looks neater than one that has been written by hand.

How do you keep your freezer organized? Let us know!