You probably got the hint that I’m a bit of a geek and a planner from my Vacation Planning with Google Maps entry, so maybe you won’t be surprised when I tell you that I keep a freezer / pantry inventory in a Google Spreadsheet.
Does this makes me sound like a hyper-organized superwoman? I’m really not that organized. Really. But if you too have a chest freezer, you’ll know that it has the potential to be a deep dark pit into which all these wonderful edible things disappear indefinitely. And then you end up thinking “I could really go for some chili right now” as you flip open the freezer, but as soon as you see the 3-foot high pile of unidentified food items, your back starts to hurt, you sigh, and you order takeout.
Taking a freezer /pantry inventory not only prevents you from buying something you already have, but it’s also a good way to stay inspired by new recipes and combinations. My spreadsheet has a Freezer sheet, a Pantry sheet, and a Meal Ideas sheet. When I can see it all at one glance, I get inspired – like maybe I should make a lamb roast with some of that butternut squash gnocchi and creamed spinach. It’s all in my freezer!
Before I got high-tech with this endeavor, I used to keep a piece of paper on the freezer and I’d cross off items as I removed them. But I like using a Google Doc because I can reference it on my phone in the grocery store or on a hungry bus ride home.
My favorite time to inventory my freezer is on a hot day when it’s a treat to stick my head in a very cold place. I quickly take everything out and put it in a bin, then jot down each item as I return it to the freezer (I type out the list later – I’d rather not risk getting my laptop wet). The other freezer commandment? Remember to label everything!
Do you have a chest freezer? Do you keep track of its contents?