How Meal Planning Should Start:
Taking a Household Inventory
Part 2: The Master Guide to Freezer Meals
This is Part 2 of a series of posts that explain in detail how I stock my deep freeze every 3 months. Here are links to other posts in this series:
Part 6: Tried, True, and Easy Freezer Meals
I’ll start by saying I’m a little embarrassed to show you how much food is actually in my house before I go shopping. In all honesty, we have enough food to last us another week or two, but I am currently on break between teaching semesters, which means I have a lot of free time. I also wanted to do this now because I was excited to share it with all of you! Besides, we will continue to use up all this food, by no means will it go to waste. Alright, let’s get right into the process I go through every time I stock my deep freeze.
Where do I start? By taking an inventory!
Out of habit (I’m only a little bit Type A!), I always start with the deep freeze which is located in our garage. I write down everything that’s in it. When it’s fairly empty (like this), it’s time to go shopping.
As you can see there are some labeled ziplock bags, there’s a bag of marinated steaks, a bag of chicken that’s supposed to be used for Jamaican Jerk Chicken (Why is that still there? Because I didn’t prepare it before I put it in the freezer and hence not something I can quickly and easily make!) There’s some French toast sticks, hoagie, hotdog, and hamburger buns, a loaf of bread, a split chicken breast, and a bunch of frozen veggies. These are the items I need to make sure I plan to use for my next set of meals!
Next I inventory the freezer attached to the refrigerator. These are typically things that I would describe as “on deck.” They are things that get used up on an almost daily basis, like breakfast burritos, frozen sandwiches, waffles, veggies, etc. This is not the most exciting photo, but I promised to be honest, so here is my freezer… There are a couple beef burritos, a bag of decaf coffee, two hashbrown patties, a bag of turkey Sloppy Joe meat, and one of Micah’s favorite foods, ice cream!
The bottom drawer of the indoor freezer typically holds a variety of frozen fruits and vegetables, along with other random items. There’s a big bag of frozen chicken breasts, a whole lot of bananas (did you know that you can freeze bananas?) and a whole lot of frozen veggies. (French fries do count as a vegetable, right?)
I usually skip inventorying the fridge at this point, because everything in there is either going to be eaten soon, or is a condiment. I do inventory the condiments, but I’ll do that when I inventory the rest of my house.
The last thing I inventory is the pantry. There is a lot of stuff in our pantry, but I basically take a tally of things that can be used for meals (skipping the snack foods).
So after all of that, I inventory pretty much anything that is disposable in my house. I know that’s not part of stocking your freezer with enough food to last for 3 months, but it is part of limiting your trips to the store. Because I try to go to the store as infrequently as possible, I need to make sure I don’t forget something, like handsoap or dishwasher detergent. I started a household inventory checklist for myself a few shopping trips ago, so my inventory checklist shown here isn’t as pretty as the one I will post in the super secret folder I have for subscribers. That being said, subscribe to my blog to get a FREE printable (and editable) Household Inventory Checklist!
To show what some of my inventory looks like, here is my stockpile of diapers, wipes, paper towels and toilet paper, all hidden in a closet under my stairs. I stocked up on diapers at Target during the Black Friday sale; it was 15% off everything in the store, an additional 5% off with my Redcard, and on top of that, diapers were on sale! (If you think this looks like a lot of diapers, I should tell you I’ve used at least 5-6 boxes since November!)
So after that scavenger hunt around my house, I am ready to put together my grocery list. Here are my completed inventory pages.
With these pieces of paper in hand, the next step is planning my meals and making my list. At this point, I want to encourage you by saying that taking an inventory of your house is not only easy, it’s actually kind of fun. This inventory step should take no more than an hour, and remember, you will only have to do this 4 times a year! Besides, by giving you my FREE printable (and editable) Household Inventory Checklist this process should be fairly straightforward. Feel free to email me or send me a message on Facebook if you have any questions!
Go out there and rock your busy mom life!
Did you enjoy this article? Here are links to the other posts in this series!