Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Organizing the Stock Pile-Freezer Foods

I love to coupon.  Hubby calls couponing my favorite hobby.  I love to stockpile when things are cheap so I don't have to buy something when it's expensive.  I follow the sales trends and know which months I should stock up on baking supplies (December/April), canned soup (December/January), cereal and crackers (September), etc.  I keep track of prices so I know when something is a good buy vs. a great buy.  (Good meaning buy a few, great meaning buy a lot)

All of this stockpiling leads to a problem, though.  Organization and rotation.  My stockpile needs to be organized in such a way that I know at any given time what I actually have.  My stockpile needs to be rotated with the oldest foods being eaten first so things don't spoil before we get to it.  It's very annoying to think that you have ground beef in the freezer, get dinner half made, only to realize  you are completely out of ground beef.

What I need is a master list of all the foods I have stockpiled with the amount I have stored.  While I know what needs to be done, I have never been very excited at the prospect of listing every item I have in my refrigerator/freezer, deep freeze, kitchen pantry and basement pantry.  So I am taking it in stages.  A month ago  my deep freezer was getting low on food (an intentional occurrence as I was trying to use up the older stuff).  I pulled everything out and wrote down what I was putting back.  I stuck the list to the refrigerator and have been marking up the list as I add/use things from the freezer.  Today I sat down and typed up the list since it was getting really marked up.

Yesterday I tackled my kitchen freezer.  I emptied it out, organized it, and wrote down what I was putting back.  Just a few weeks of having my deep freezer contents listed has been a huge help.  When Hubby was looking for frozen peas last week and we were out of them in the kitchen freezer, I already knew that I had 2 bags in the deep freeze.  I now know when it's time to plan a Sams Club trip into the schedule because we're getting low on coffee and cheese.  When I have a big dinner planned, I can look at my list and know right away I have a turkey or a spiral ham that I can serve without having to dig to the very bottom of my freezer.

Yes, this is an improvement over what it looked like before

I've been hearing for years that it's important to keep a list of what you have stored, but never wanted to take the time.  I thought it would be annoying to have to update a list.  After a month of having a list of just my deep freezer, I know that all those people who said I should were right.  It streamlines my stockpile so I always know what's on hand, what I need to stock up, and even what I need to stop buying until we eat what we have in the house!

If you haven't already, I strongly encourage you to make up your own list.  It can just be a piece of paper that you hand write your list on.  Mine is nothing fancy.  I typed it into a spreadsheet with the intent to update it monthly.  It may initially take a bit of work, but in the end you will be glad you took the time.


  1. Ack! I need to defrost my freezer and THEN organize it. I kept telling Jon that I'd do it in the winter when I didn't need coolers...and now it's not winter.

  2. Just be sure to do it before hunting season fills it back up:)

  3. I envisioned an aisle by aisle shopping list for Meijers for several years before I finally sat down and created it. It took a couple of hours to create it but it has saved me countless hours at the store and in extra trips to the store because I forgot something. As for your list, what if you put your list in a clear plastic sleeve and write on it with erasable markers. You just erase and rewrite to update.

  4. I was half envisioning a whiteboard for myself. The clear plastic sleeves may be worthwhile. When I defrosted our freezer this winter, I wrote down everything that I put back in it. With a 20 cubic foot chest freezer, it's easy to loose things. It definitely helped. Unfortunately, we haven't kept it up to date. :-( It was too hard to mark things as they were used up.