Keeping Track of the Depths of Your Freezer

This is the second part of my 3-part series on freezers.  You can read the first part here.  Check back later this week for the third part.

Now that you have your freezer and are happily storing all sorts of meats, veggies, and made-ahead meals, you will face a brand new challenge.  Your freezer will turn into a great abyss.

It’s so easy to forget what meats you have bought and stored, what meals you have prepared and frozen in advance, and how much broth you have stocked away.  You may occasionally try to do a little digging to see what’s towards the bottom, but inevitably you just rely on those foods nestled at the top.

When I first got my freezer, I made a nice list of all of the foods I put inside.  My plan was to keep track of what I took out and what I put in.  I’m sure you can guess how long that lasted.

Last fall I got a large order of chickens and half of a pig.  I wrote out all of the items on a sheet of paper, just sure I would keep track of what I was using.  Yeah, that worked just as well the as the first time.

Lots of food from my freezer!

Then I needed to know exactly how much pork I still had because I was going to do a swap with a friend for some beef.  She sent me her list of what she had available for trade and I needed to let her know what cuts of pork I had.  There was one problem, though.  I had absolutely no idea what was in my freezer!

I realized that if I write it on paper, it feels like a big hassle for me to either erase and put in the new correct amount or it starts to look really messy and is difficult to read if I keep scratching out what was there before.  I decided it was time to employ some 21st century technology to keep me aware of what might be lurking in the great abyss, otherwise known as my freezer.

So I put on some gloves, and pulled EVERYTHING out of my freezer.  What do you know?  I had a lot of food in there!  I then proceeded to write down everything I had including quantity, weight, measurement, etc.  (Yes, I wrote it on paper.  Just wait, I’ll show you what I did next that made the difference from before.)

Once I got everything fitting back in the freezer, I took my paper and turned it into a spreadsheet on my iPad.  Now even if you don’t have an iPad, you could do this on your computer, too.  I chose to use my iPad because it’s almost always near my freezer and kitchen.

I created my spreadsheet with the types of meat on the left-hand column and the quantities and other measurements on the top row.  I also added a description section so I could add any particular notes I wanted to remember for a certain item.

After filling in all of the information, you can stop there and just keep this part updated.  The nice thing about a spreadsheet is that it’s always easy to read and you can quickly change the quantity when you take something out or add some more items in.  No more messiness!

For those of you with an iPad and Numbers, you can make it into a form which makes it even easier to read, and so pretty!  Once you have your spreadsheet laid out, hold down the + sign on the tab to the right.  Select “New Form” from the drop down menu.  Select the table you want to use, and you will have a beautifully created form to now use.  It’s easy to flip through with the arrows at the bottom.  I alphabetized my table so that it’s easier to find what I’m looking for on my form.  The + sign at the bottom of the form even allows you to add a new items right from the form.

So there you have it.  Once you get your spreadsheet set up, it’s really easy to maintain it. Just be sure to always keep up with it so you don’t lose any meat in the depths of your freezer!

Just so you know, I didn’t receive anything from Apple to write this tutorial.  I converted to an Apple user a few years ago and have never looked back.  And it makes me feel better to find kitchen-related uses for at least one of my Apple devices!

This post is part of Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Traditional TuesdaysWhole Food WednesdaysReal Food WednesdaySimple Lives ThursdayPennywise Platter ThursdayFight Back FridayFreaky Friday.


  1. Yay, thanks Mindy! We’re going to be buying a chest freezer soon, and I’ve already been thinking about how I’m going to track what’s in it! I think I’ll probably use a spreadsheet system too…only problem is I don’t have an ipad and my computer is at the opposite end of the house! But its not like I’m not checking my email a 1000 times a day anyway :)

    • Mindy says:

      A chest freezer is so handy to have! Hope the spreadsheet works well for you – doesn’t sound like it will be too bad at the other end of the house. I’m too lazy to just run up the stairs and enter it on my computer. Plus, it helps me justify having an iPad!!

  2. Hi Mindy,
    I have a regular standup freezer, but I still lose things in it when it is really full. I love your idea for your ipad. I’m a MAC convert too and now I have a reason to get an ipad!

    • Mindy says:

      I’m glad I can provide you with a reason to get an iPad! Not that you need many extras when it comes to all things Apple. : ) I also got the fold-up magnetic cover which I just love. I’ve been using it a lot more for making recipes that are online. It’s so convenient to have it sitting nearby. Now you definitely need to get one!

  3. Carolyn says:

    I have two chest freezers. I have tried the same thing, writing it all down and not bothering to deduct what comes out. And you know where that leaves you. I love the idea of a spreadsheet, but am a little ( make that very) daunted as to how to make one. No iPad either. I guess this will be my summer project, to learn how to make spreadsheets, because this is a GREAT idea!!

    • Mindy says:

      You should definitely give the spreadsheet a try! This one should be fairly easy to set up, even if you’re new with using spreadsheets. I just used the left side for the type of meat and then the quantities, descriptions, etc., all across the top. Good luck with creating it!

  4. Jen says:

    So funny, because I had a list once upon a time. Mine didn’t last long either. But I can’t see myself using a spread sheet on the puter either. I would likely forget to enter it if it wasn’t right when I pulled it out of the freezer. BUT . . . you have encouraged me to scavenge the depths of the freezer! I know there are things in there from before my real food days that are just taking up space. I am going to need that space when I start preserving my summer harvest!

    • Mindy says:

      Glad I encouraged you to take a look in there! I’m going to do Keeper of the Home’s freezer challenge because we have a lot of food to eat up. It’s amazing how much you can accumulate in it!

  5. Connie says:

    I looooove my computer and it would be so tempting to create yet another computer document, but I’m having great success with my notebook. (As much as one can have success when the kids ignore it…) I keep separate pages for each kind of food (meats, fruits, veggies, baked things) making sure I don’t start a new kind of food on a page backside. Then when the page has been totally used up I tear it out of the notebook and start another. When I purchase something and have divided it up I enter the date, item name/description, and a tally mark for each package (8 tally marks would look like this: ||||||||) . When I use a package I scratch off a mark. When I’m trying to decide what to have for a meal, I scan the freezer notebook. When I’m about to go shopping I just have to scan the freezer notebook to see what I need to buy, if it’s not on the list already. And when I’m thinking it must be time to clean out the freezer I just look for the oldest items and plan some meals around those.

    One thing I like to do with my freezer is organize different kinds of food into separate baskets or boxes, preferably two for each kind so they can be stacked 2-up. Then I always place new things in the bottom basket. When the top basket is empty it becomes the bottom basket.

    And I like to keep a layer of water jugs in the bottom of the freezer. That helps to keep the freezer full, which makes it run more efficiently. It also helps to keep the food closer to the top which makes it easier to find.

    • Mindy says:

      Connie, it sounds like you’ve already got a great system in place! What a great idea to keep separate pages for the different types of food. I bet that would have helped me keep up with a paper list. : )

      I love your idea of the baskets of food in the freezer. That sounds like a much easier way to actually find the food you’re looking for. I have actually changed what we’re going to eat in the past because I couldn’t find the package I was looking for and gave up trying to dig my way to the bottom. Thanks for the great idea!


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