am going to makeover made over my freezer to stop wasting food, save money, and get prepared.
**Updated 6/29/17 with my completed goals!
As you know from my 8 Simple Ways to Save Serious Cash post, I love buying in bulk. It’s a big money saver, and living out in the country, it’s a big relief to know that I always have food on hand.
I’m also a big fan of freezer meals. There is nothing like the feeling of having ready-made (or partially prepped) meals in the freezer, just waiting for their 5 minutes of fame on a busy night. They are also perfect for when I’m too tired or sick to cook, when supper doesn’t go as planned, or when unexpected guests show up!
Related Post: How I Made 11 Freezer Meals in Only 2 Hours
However, that only works if I actually know what’s in my freezer!
I have a friend who refers to her freezer as “the place where food goes to die,” and I can see her point. Food can easily get lost and buried in our freezer, especially our chest freezer. And freezer meals and bulk items don’t do much good when they’re buried. Out of sight, out of mind!
So this month, my mini-goals are centered around my freezers, because they’re a life-saver for me … but also kind of a mess!
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Goal #1: Clean out the freezers
We have two deep freezers, an upright and a chest freezer, and both of them need a good cleaning! I’m sure there is a lot of food in there that is well past its prime and needs to be thrown out. One of my top goals this month is to go through the freezers and get rid of anything old, questionable, or unidentifiable. 😉
Supplies I will need:
** Update: Completed! It took an hour and a few giant trash bags, but we threw out everything that was past its prime or would not get used.
Goal #2: Organize the freezers & make a freezer inventory
I usually manage to keep somewhat of a system in the upright freezer:
- Shelf #1: Meal parts, i.e. cooked beans, shredded cheese, chopped onions, etc.
- Shelf #2: Assembled Freezer meals
- Shelf #3: More Assembled Freezer meals/ baked goods/ meat
- Drawer #1: Frozen Vegetables
- Drawer #2: Meat
- Door: Spices, Homemade stock, smaller items
The upright freezer, with its bins and shelves, is much easier to keep organized (as long as other people in the house stick to my system!)
The chest freezer, on the other hand, is a black hole and an absolute disaster right now. I don’t even know what all is in there. I have bags of bulk items near the top obscuring whatever is hiding in the abyss below, and it is difficult to sift through everything to reach the bottom. When the day comes that we need a new freezer, we will definitely go with another upright!
My second goal during my Ultimate Freezer Makeover is to find a better organizational system for the chest freezer (if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!!), and then inventory both freezers. Keeping a freezer inventory is something I have had on my to-do list for ages, and I’m finally going to do it this month! … I hope …
Keeping a freezer inventory will allow me to easily see what I have on hand and what I am low on, reducing the amount of food that goes to waste and unnecessary duplicates. This will save me time and money in the long run.
** Update: Completed! Whew, it was a job, but I did it!
Here are my completed “after” shots:
I used dollar store bins to organize the chest freezer. I still had to stack and pile things a bit, but at least my foods are grouped together and I can pull out entire bins at a time rather than sift through random loose items.
It may not look like the freezers you see on Pinterest or home organization blogs, but there is a system in this picture!
- Row 1: A few miscellaneous items – our ice cream maker, sliced peaches, zucchini bread, masa harina
- Row 2: Breastmilk
- Row 3: Meat and (uncooked) freezer meals
- Row 4: Precooked meals and prepped meal parts (browned ground beef, shredded chicken, beans, etc.)
- Drawer 1: Vegetables
- Drawer 2: Meat
I also completed my goal to inventory the freezers. It was a bit of a process, but I think it will be worth it! The key now will be to inventory new additions as soon as they are put into the freezer! (Wish me luck!)
You can see a sample page of my freezer inventory below. I have one for each of the freezer categories listed in my 5 Reasons You Need a Freezer post. I plan to clip all the pages together with one of these clips, tie a string to it with a pen on it, and stick it on the door of the upright freezer.
You might be wondering what the circles and check marks mean. The circles denote the quantity of each item. As I use an item, I can cross off the circle, rather than repeatedly changing the number.
For a few items, I simply placed check marks to signify that I have plenty of it on hand. When I start to run low, I will write “low” beside the check mark. If I run out, I will write “out” beside that.
If you would like your own copy of my 8 sheet editable freezer inventory, click on the link below!
Goal #3: Make at least one freezer meal every week (and do one freezer meal session).
I love freezer meals. They are LIFESAVERS for busy moms. If you aren’t freezer cooking, you should be! A well-stocked freezer brings me so much peace of mind, and reduces stress and anxiety when life gets a bit chaotic.
During the month of April, we did a pantry/freezer challenge to reduce grocery costs during a spending freeze, so my freezer is very low on meals right now. I didn’t want to make any more until I got the freezers cleaned out, so as soon as that is done, I’m going to resume my freezer cooking!
June is also going to be a very busy month for us, so I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew. I’m going to keep it simple and make one freezer meal each week by doubling what I’m already making one night for dinner. I’m also aiming to do one freezer meal session (multiple freezer meals in one big block of time). The freezer meal session may be too ambitious for our schedule, so it may not happen, but I’m going to try!
Supplies I will need:
** Update: Partially completed! I was not able to do the freezer meal session, but I did put at least one freezer meal away each week.
What about you? What is your freezer like? Is it organized and inventoried? Or is it a bit of a disaster, too? If yours needs a little TLC like mine, feel free to join along in the challenge. Write me in the comments below, and let me know I’m not alone!
If any of you have any suggestions or tips for organizing your freezer, PLEASE let me hear them! I am open to all suggestions. 🙂
More in This Series:
- Why I Stopped Making New Year’s Resolutions
- 3 Goals for a Stronger Marriage
- My Anti-Resolutions Year: March Reading Madness
- How I’m Going to Rock Our Finances in April
- 3 Steps to a Deeper Prayer Life