A Beginner’s Guide to Stockpiling

You have to admit; seeing those gigantic stockpiles that some people have accumulated (also check out the video at the end of this awesome article) over the years of supplies can be impressive and intimidating at the same time. If you’re like me, you’ve most likely always wanted to try and make one (you know, to try and save money and all), but don’t know where to start.

Whether you’re a huge coupon-er looking to start up a pile, or a casual shopper looking to save in the long run, it’s relatively easy to start your own stockpile. It’s time consuming and takes long to build up to a point where you start seeing the benefits, but with a dose of patience and a healthy slice of trial and error, it’s worth it in the long run. There are many reasons why you may want to start, for me I’d want to start a stockpile in case of a zombie attack (I’ve been watching too much of the walking dead recently, can you tell?), but let’s not hope that happens.

funny zombie kid

~ That’s some scary Zombie stuff right there

There are two basic concepts, when it comes to stockpiling. The first being when you do start stockpiling, your goal is to save money. This is why patience is involved because a lot of time is going to be spent on checking flyers for the best deals and/or waiting for ‘that epic sale’. Make sure to buy the items you plan on stockpiling in bulk and only when they are sale. If you’re able to ‘coupon-match’ it (meaning that you have a coupon to match the product), even better! The more money you save the better.

The second basic concept is to make sure to keep things organized. A jumbled mess of a space just means more headaches trying to find what you are looking for and the chance to accidentally re-buy items that got lost in the mess. Also, consider putting things that are similar together; like keeping all the cans together, putting the oatmeal boxes close to the cereal boxes, fabric softener next to laundry soap, etc.

Friendly tip: Make sure to rotate your items when you buy new stock; meaning putting the older stuff in front and the newer in back. Even if certain items do have long expiry dates, they end up being a waste of money if they sit in the back collecting dust till they expire.

To start, you need to figure out the following things:
1. Where are you going to store it? (Basement, garage, underneath your bed, or in your zombie apocalypse bunker etc.)
2. What would you like to stockpile? (Cans, soap, paper towels, etc.)
3. What does you and your family consumes the most of? (On a daily basis, monthly basis, and so on)
4. How big do you want it to be? (A pile that will last you just a few months or a pile that will last you for years)

Where are you going to store it?

This is a crucial first step because this is where you’re going to be able to see how big your stockpile can grow to. Basements, garages and spare rooms make excellent places where you can begin and grow from there. Don’t have enough storage space or any at all? Click here to look at Ikea and to see what they have to offer when it comes to storage and, even though they don’t have the greatest selection from what I can see online, click here to look at Wal-Mart and to browse there, these are probably the cheapest options right off the bat.

If you plan on stockpiling hygiene products, consider buying storage bins that can fit underneath your bed or that you can put in your closet. Debating on if you want to start stockpiling frozen items? Look at investing into a chest freezer for extra space (if you have the space). Frozen items can last longer than other perishable items. Still need more space? Use those extra dresser drawers that aren’t in use! They make the ideal place for smaller things like aspirin, razors, travel sizes of products, and so on.

I don’t recommend storing food items directly on the floor if you’re storing in your basement or garage, because there are too many variables at play that could ruin the product. If the space gets flooded, it could ruin your stockpile easily and you also increase the risk of vermin or insects finding their way into it. Pay attention and make sure whichever space you choose is also not humid or too hot; humidity levels affect certain items and how well they keep.

What would you like to stockpile?

After you’ve discovered how much space you’re willing to use for your new money saving hobby, now you have to figure out what exactly you would like to start stockpiling! If you have babies or toddlers in your household, baby food and diapers might be where you would start, especially because these are the kind of items you really don’t want to run out of prematurely. If you have teenagers in your household and you have enough freezer space, maybe consider stocking up on frozen pizza and microwaveable dishes (although be aware of that processed food should probably be taken in moderation in you want to wear those skinny jeans forever). Pasta and canned products are also super to stock because they have long expiry dates, they can be used in more than one recipe, and they often go on sale at relatively cheap prices from time to time.

If you’ve decided to stockpile hygiene products, think about what your household would use and try not to be wasteful just because there is a good deal on something. Men of the household would most likely prefer razors designed for guys as opposed to the woman equivalent (I think mens razors are built to a better standard than womens ones). Kids enjoy bubble bath soap and everyone would gladly welcome toothpaste and toothbrushes to be stockpiled.

What does you and your family consume the most?

squirrel army nutsNow comes the tricky part: trying to determine what is consumed the most in your household so you can determine how much you are going to stockpile certain items. Toothpaste, toilet paper and various kinds of pasta are good places to start when trying to figure these variables out. Try and look at some of the recipes you make the most in your household and try to find common items between them. For example, I have multiple recipes that use salsa in it, so I would try and create a bigger supply for those then other products. We also adore peanut butter in my house, so I would concentrate on that as well.

Another tricky part is trying to figure out how long an item lasts in your household. A box of cookies, for example: Does it last only a few days, or does it last a bit longer? Items that you use on a more regular basis mean that you should have a bigger supply of it and to stock it more frequently.

How big do you want it to be?

the zombie survival guideDepending on how much space you have available and how much you consume on a weekly basis comes into factor here. Smaller households might be comfortable with a stockpile that lasts 3 months, while larger families might consider extending it to 6 months or sometimes a year (or longer in case you are preparing for that zombie attack). Once you’ve determined how long you would like it to last, then it’s easier to figure out how many of each item you would possibly need. Going back to the salsa example from before, we use about a jar of it every 2 weeks in my household. So if I would like my stockpile to last 3 months, that would mean I would consider stocking 6 jars of salsa. If I wanted it to last 6 months, then I would consider stocking 12 jars of it. Do you see where I’m going here?

The number one biggest mistake you can do when starting your stockpile and the number one thing you must avoid doing is: Buying too much, too fast. The goal of this is to save money in the long run and to not waste money on items you’ll most likely not use. It will take patience and trial and error before you get to a point where you are comfortable with your stockpile. Avoid buying too much all at once, and instead do smaller trips to start with until you’re comfortable.

I would love to hear if you have an amazing story about your stockpile or a friend’s stockpile! I have yet to meet anyone who actually has one and I’m intrigued by all of this. If you start one, let me know how it’s going as well! Leave me a note below or head over to our face book page to share your stories, or you can email me and we can chat.

~ Do you see how the shelves are buckling? Holy cow…

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