Stockpiling Series: The Basics

I have been wanting to write about stockpiling for quite some time.  See, I have stockpiled a lot of things and sometimes I lack the imagination to come up with alternate uses for some of the items I have in my stockpile.  So I want to provide you with some of these ideas to make the most use of any stockpiled items you may have.  However, before I jump into that I thought it would be necessary to talk about stockpiling first.

What is stockpiling? Stockpiling is having one or more extra items of products you consume or use everyday.

How do you build a stockpile? There are a few things you need to consider before you start building a stockpile:

  1. First determine space available.  Keeping a stockpile will require storage area.  If you are a bit short on storage area then you will need to prioritize the items you stockpile.  I have stockpiled items in different places in my home.  I usually keep health and beauty items in a bathroom closet.  I have toilet paper in a linen closet.  I am lucky and have been able to devote a closet in an empty room to diapers and wipes.  The basement has some paper towels and laundry detergent.  I have a storage area in the garage that has cereal, popcorn, more diapers, electrasol and other things.   However, I have not let my stockpile take over my home.  It is all put away in areas that we don’t use on a regular basis.
  2. You also need to consider your family’s consumption of each item you are thinking of stockpiling.  These two concepts (family usage and storage space) will help you prioritize the items you stockpile.  For example it won’t make any sense to keep a stockpile 20 boxes of cereal when your family maybe goes through one box a week.  Meanwhile, you have wasted space on these stockpiled boxes of cereal that you could have used to stockpile pancake mix, something you family uses three times a week.
  3. Determine budget availability.  While in theory you should only be stockpiling at rock bottom prices, if your budget is tight, you need to create some extra room for these additional purchases.  Once you determine what amount of money you can set aside to spend on building a stockpile, stick to it.  Remember that sales are cyclical and chances are pretty good that you will be able to find a good deal on that item again.  Once you hit your limit, then stockpile only those items you can find for free after coupon.
  4. Keep an eye out for sales and coupons for the items you need to stockpile.  Needless to say, you will save the most if you are not brand loyal.  Remember that sales are cyclical and so are coupons.  By now you probably have a good idea that Kimberly Clark coupons and P&G Coupons come out every month or so.  You may also want to read this guide I wrote on how to stockpile items throughout the year.  I show how coupons usually follow the same cycle as some seasonal items.

With all of this in mind now you can determine how much you need of each item to hold your family over until the next sale while making great use of the storage area you have.  You can make decisions based on information like this: you know Kroger has Cottonelle toilet paper regularly priced at $0.99 per 4ct pack and you also know that the $0.50/1 Cottonelle coupon comes out about every three months or so.  Maybe all you need to do is stockpile three months worth and no more.  You can use the rest of your storage space to stockpile the Quaker Oatmeal that’s on sale during the winter months but your family eats eveyday.

As you are working on building your stockpile don’t forget to only get what you will use.  Trust me, I know this one is hard.  I probably have more shampoo that I can use in the next three years.  If this is the case, remember that you can bless others with your bounty. Also, it is very important to keep rotating your stockpile, even things like shampoo and conditioner.  Try to use what you have bought first.  If you find that some items may be close to expiration date and you still have plenty donate it, call family members or friends who may be able to use it before they expire.  Find alternate uses for some of the items you have on your stockpile.  This is what I intend to cover in my next series of posts.  So if you have any questions about stockpiling in general or are wondering of alternate uses for particular items please let me know I would love to help you with them.

Stay Tuned!

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  • I’m glad you suggested to bless others with your stockpile. I have more toothpaste and shampoo that I could use in my lifetime. I collect for 4-6 weeks and then I take a big box over to the women’s shelter. They are always so appreciative. Plus I can help them without spending any money myself!

  • great post about stockpiling

  • charlene

    I would love to find ways of getting together with other couponers in my area to do trades too. For example, we just grabbed our last toothbrush and I desperately need wipes and I know Mercedes needs a new purse. I wish we lived in your area so I can send you the lovely brown Nine West purse in excellent condition that I no longer need in exchange for the extras in your stockpile.

    • Charlene, what a great idea. Initially I was going to suggest a Freecycle board but then I remember heir rules. So, try Craigslist. They have a bartering board. That could be a good starting point.


  • Megan

    Every few weeks a write out a list of “extras” in my stockpile and give my girlfriends from church first crack at it before I post it on Craigslist. I’m able to help out my friends (many who are students or just starting out) and I can bring in some money for my “CVS/Walgreens spending envelope” with the extras that I sell online. It’s a great set up! I also have plenty left over to donate when food drives come around as well.

  • ashleyD!

    thanks for these words. i think i needed reminding. i have about 4 years worth of razors. i’m going to gift 2 years worth away. thanks!

  • Jenn M

    I also give to our local women’s shelter but I wonder if anyone has success with ebay or yard sales?

  • becky

    Thank you for this information. I have begun to stockpile just this week, and I don’t really know what I am doing, so the timing of this post is great! Since I am new to using coupons, also, I do not know how much/long to stockpile for until the next great deals come out. I have bookmarked your blog, and will definitely be checking back here frequently!
    Thank you, again!!!

  • Megan

    Jenn M: I have sold some health and beauty items at a yardsale last year and it went well. In fact, the lotions/body sprays went faster than anything else! I don’t know if toothpaste/razors/shampoo would sell as well, but I wouldn’t be surprised (providing you price them low, like at $0.75/each). I have sold 2 boxes of products on Craigslist. I find that selling a collection of items at once works better than one or two here or there. I put together 10-20 items and price them individually, but also provide a slightly reduced price for everything (i.e. $15 for the lot). Sometimes it takes a while to get a response, but I’ve had good success. Unless you’re selling a lot (in which case shipping would be expensive), I don’t think ebay is the best way to go. It’s just too expensive for the little profit you’d get. I say, give Craigslist or cheapcycle a try! Good luck. ~Megan

  • Great article! Thank you for all that you do on your blog.

  • My parents are starting to think I’m a bit whacked for wanting to stockpile. It wasn’t until I sat my mom down, showed her what we spend on certain things each month, and even though some are things we could easily get rid of if need be (extended digital cable, for example), some are just definites (mortgage, food, gas, electric) regardless of financial situation. Knowing that I have enough in my home for at least 6 months of food (only shopping for the basics) is how I like to roll. 😉

    I stockpile for us, but I also stockpile to give, whether it is to church/Love Inc here in town, to a friend that ran out of something and can’t get to the store because of the snow (yay, Wisconsin!), or for a friend/neighbor who might need help, it just makes me feel good. I can provide for my family, as well as for others if necessary. I always say, we don’t have a lot of money to give, but I can give my time, goods, and thoughts. Someday, the financials will be in place, and I can give money too…

    And anyway, why would ANYONE want to pay full price when they know they can get something they use for cheap or free?

  • Stephanie

    Something I do with my stockpiled items is give them as gifts for wedding showers, new home owners, college students, and baby gifts. I purchase a nice sturdy laundry basket and put things in it. For newlyweds and house warming gifts I fill the baskets with bathroom, kitchen, and cleaning essentials. My baby baskets have diapers, wipes, qtips, baby shampoo, lotion, etc. It is a very inexpensive way to give something to someone that is a practical gift. I also knit & crochet so I usually throw a blanket or a throw in the basket as well.

  • fran

    Bartering is great. You both get what you want and no money is exchanged. You can even barter your extra stock with someone that can maybe do some work around the house for you. You just have to use your imagination and be willing to ask. The woman across the street from me adds rows of lace and little material flowers to hand towels and washcloths. I got 3 sets free and she got free groceries she wanted. If someone you know does crafts, there’s a start. I love to barter.

  • Alison

    Thanks to my coupons and cvs I have a lovely stock pile for the Ronald McDonald House. I get very excited when I can add items to this pile. I am away at school but my mom also does CVS in another state and she collects items to donate too. I have way more than enough items for me and to bring to my dad. Everything else is donation!

  • nikki

    Just wanted to let you know that I have been stockpiling for years. Some items I donate and others I sell at garage sales. They always sell great! Toothpaste always brings $1 each and 6/$5. Don’t take your first offer or bargain too much, as you will get your price. Deodorant sells well also. People don’t usually want to pay enough for the razors. I hope this helps.

  • Laura in Tx

    And remember toothpaste, toothbrushes, bar soap are always requested for Operation Christmas Child boxes. And school supplies. We stockpile for these.

  • Gina in So Cal

    Been doing this since the middle of Feb. Have stockpiled enough for my family in the way of shampoo and toothpaste to last us a year. Donated a bunch of the diabetes checkers, the ensure, sambucol, razors, more toothpaste and shampoo. Then we had a yard sale. Toothpaste went for $1. Razors $2. Shampoo $2. Didn’t get any takers for the Glade stuff, but maybe next time. I will keep some of those organizations in mind for my next ruck load of donations. Thank you for the ideas.

  • Jamie

    It all sounds great!! I didn’t know you you could sell the stuff you get cheap or free. I had thought of doing that but I thought that it was against the law. Does anyone know what the law is on that? I would love to make extra money on the things I get free! I’m also going to start donating stuff to a women prison ministry that our church has started.

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