This post is probably going to make me sound more than a little obsessed with freezer organisation but I’m not that bad, honestly. I just think that if you have an organised freezer then life is easier. 😉
I’m lucky enough to have three freezers – one as part of my fridge freezer, one under the counter freezer that we bought last year and one that we’ve just been given that lives in our garage. The one in the garage is pretty big and has a LOT of space over 5 biggish drawers and I was probably more excited than I should have been when it arrived a couple of weeks ago.
I try to be quite organised with what I have in the freezers because an organised freezer is the key to meal planning successfully as it helps you to see what you have in and to use that up as much as possible when you’re writing your meal plan each week. Honestly, I’m not the most organised person so if I didn’t keep track then I’d either have to do a full check every week when I write my meal plan or, and this is the more likely scenario, I’d just go by memory and risk forgetting about things for months and spending more money buying things I already have in!
I keep track of what I have in by writing it down on a cool little freezer inventory sheet that I found on Pinterest (there are hundreds here depending on what you fancy). It doesn’t take huge organisational skills to simply write down what I put in the freezers and cross it off when I take it out and use it!
The freezer inventory sheet is kept on top of the freezer in the kitchen and the pencil is always tucked into the handle part of the freezer so I never have to not write anything down because I can’t find my sheet or anything to write with.
So that’s how I know what’s in my freezers which is honestly half the battle with meal planning and using your freezer to help you save time and money.
The other half of the battle us being clever with what you put in your freezer!
What suits your family is probably different to what suits my family and the way I like to cook but I’ll tell you how I organise my freezer to give you some ideas. As you’re reading what I do, please bear in mind that I now have three freezers thanks to my Dad no longer needing his large one so altogether I have 11 freezer drawers which definitely gives me scope to split things up more than some people would have.
This is what works for me….
I’m a huge fan of saving time as much as I am of saving money and I find that buying frozen veg saves me both. Things like frozen chopped onion and frozen mixed veg have saved me so many times because I just grab a handful out of the freezer and it’s ready to just throw into whatever I’m cooking. It’s cost effective because it’s pretty well priced (especially if you buy the value range) and there is never any wastage and it also means that I always have veg on hand with no preparation needed and that means that I tend to cook it more because it’s so easy. I’m a huge fan of the Tesco value mixed veg because the carrots, brocolli and cauliflower are all chopped very small and I can add it to just about anything with the kids barely noticing it.
Aside from a drawer filled with veg, I also have another drawer for with things like frozen rice (3 minutes to cook for perfect fluffy rice) and frozen ready rolled pastry that I always buy when I see it reduced as it can be used for so much.
There’s a drawer filled with reduced bread buns and hot dog rolls that I pick up on offer – it’s not unusual for our Tescos to reduce their bread buns to 9p a pack on a night so there are definite bargains to be had if you have somewhere to store them.
We have a drawer for frozen fruit as the kids love their smoothies and I want everything in one place for them so it’s just as easy to make a smoothie as it is to grab a biscuit or other snack. We make our own smoothie packs but that’s a whole other post. 😉
At the moment I have a drawer filled with what’s left of my Muscle Foods order which I like to keep in one place as it makes up the majority of the meat in our freezer. If you haven’t tried them yet then they’re honestly well worth ordering from – the food is delicious and even Miss Frugal asked if I’d bought different chicken when I cooked their chicken breasts for the first time as they are so tasty.
I also keep a drawer empty so if I see some reduced bargains then I don’t need to worry about where they’ll go – your freezer operates at it’s most efficient when it’s full so this isn’t necessarily a great thing to do but having that space has saved me plenty of money so it works for me.
That’s about it for my organised drawers, the other ones are filled with all sorts that I buy and make.
The things that I buy include things like chicken dippers, curly fries and fish fingers because as much as I like to meal plan and cook from scratch, convenience is a big thing for me as a working Mum. They’re not the best thing for kids to eat but in moderation they’re perfectly fine and you can buy healthier versions of them with 100% chicken and 100% fish so that’s a good thing, right?
The things that I’ve made that are in there at the moment include my homemade tomato sauce, leftovers from meals I cook, some chicken dump bags and a couple of lamb hotpots. I’m going to be sharing more batch cooking ideas over the next few months though so do keep an eye out.
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