In the months after I started couponing, I began to build up a stockpile of products. One of the goals of couponing is to build up some inventory of toiletries, household goods, and non-perishable food items. The idea is to purchase items when they are at their lowest price, and purchase enough to last until they get to their rock-bottom price again (sales run in cycles, and almost everything goes on sale every few weeks) so that it will never be necessary to buy them at full price.
Someone requested recently that I write a post about how I organize and store my stockpile, so I’m happy to oblige. At this point, five years into my couponing journey, I have amassed a nice stockpile of goods and find it fairly easy to keep it stocked by purchasing things when they go on sale, while staying within my $250/month budget for groceries and household items. Thankfully, I have a furnished basement apartment that is unoccupied right now, so that’s where I store my couponing products.
In my basement kitchen cabinets, I store food and kitchen items like coffee, tea, canned veggies, soups, pickles, mac & cheese, pasta and sauce, snacks, sugar, medicines and vitamins, paper plates, napkins, chocolate chips, cereals, pancake/waffle mixes, ziploc bags, cleaning supplies, diswashing detergent, and so on. We aren’t using the basement oven or dishwasher, so I even store things in those.
We have a refrigerator/freezer in the basement kitchen, in addition to two stand alone freezers in which we store frozen foods such as meats, butter, fruits/veggies, frozen pizzas, cookie dough, cheese, breakfast items, and so on. We recently purchased 1/4 of a grass-fed steer, so we bought a small chest freezer to hold that and other meats.
The basement bathroom and linen closets contain soaps, shampoos/conditioners, razors, body wash, contact solution, light bulbs, facial tissues, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, feminine products, toothpaste, toothbrushes, face products, and those kinds of things. We stocked up on 60- and 75-watt incandescent light bulbs at the end of December because they would no longer be sold beginning in 2014.
We have two short filing cabinets in the basement bathroom that hold school and office supplies that we’ve stocked up on.
The small laundry room in the basement contains laundry detergent, toilet paper/paper towels, fabric softener, flushable wipes, and stain treatment.
There’s a small curio cabinet in the basement living room that contains hand soaps, candles, and air fresheners.
So you may be thinking, “What if I don’t have a basement available for storage? Where could I store my stockpile?”
I’m glad you asked that! Here are some ideas that I hope will be helpful to you as you consider couponing and storage issues.
1. Containers are your friend. Long, shallow plastic containers (marketed for wrapping paper) are perfect for filling with toiletries or canned goods and sliding under beds. Tall containers with drawers (made for scrapbooking materials and such) are perfect for storing your stock of toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, face cleansers, school supplies, feminine products, lotions, soaps, and such.
Here are a few examples from Walmart’s website:
2. If you have a little extra room in your garage, consider building cheap shelves with 2×8 or 2×10 boards. It’s amazing how much could be stored on just a few shelves. This site that I found walks you through the steps of building your own garage shelves.
3. Make use of all cabinets and vanity space. Many of us have things in our kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities that we don’t use and that are just taking up space. Consider organizing those cabinets and throw away or give away anything that you haven’t used in a year or two. It’s amazing how much space can be made with a little organizing effort.
4. Use bookshelves. If you have a bookshelf that is not filled up with books, consider using it for your stockpile. Or perhaps invest in an economical bookshelf just for your couponing needs. Bookshelves aren’t very deep, so it’s easy to find a spot against a wall for them, and they can hold a lot of products.
5. Consider all closets as fair game. If you have an unoccupied nook or cranny in a closet, consider purchasing a container or rack to put there to hold part of your stockpile.
If you store things in different areas of your home, I encourage you to keep a running inventory of your stock and a list of where everything is stored. Also, when you buy new products, be sure to put those in the back so you’re always using the oldest items first. If you see that you have overbought and your family won’t be able to use some things before they expire, consider gathering a box of those items to donate to a food bank or homeless shelter or battered women’s shelter or thrift store ministry in your town. They are always thankful to receive useful donations.
It takes some time, effort, and creativity to coupon and to organize a stockpile, but the savings you will realize are well worth it. As I said in the Couponing chapter of my book, I learned much of what I know from SouthernSavers.com and MoneySavingMom.com. Feel free to visit their sites for detailed tutorials on couponing and for coupon matchups at the stores in your area.
I’d love to hear your tips on organizing your stockpile. Comment below and share your thoughts!