Last Monday, we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of stocking up. Assuming you decided the advantages outweighed the disadvantages (which I obviously did), here are some tips for effective stocking.
- Stock Only What You’ll Use. If your family doesn’t like to eat certain things or doesn’t use certain brands, why waste cabinet space on those items? I don’t enjoy having a stockpile just to look at it. I want to use it! For example, my hubby only likes a certain brand of deodorant so we don’t even bother stocking up on any other deodorant since it would be a waste of the produce and my storage space. My one exception to this rule is free or very inexpensive items that I can donate. I’ll “buy” free food any time I can – even if we won’t eat it – because I donate it to the food pantry. Of course, if I donate immediately, it doesn’t take up much storage space.
- How Much to Stock. How much is too much? Well, I think that depends on your family size and preferences. I recommend stocking up as much as you can use before it expires. Some folks advise stocking 3-6 months worth of an item, but I sometimes stock more since deals in small towns are a bit fewer and farther between. However, everyone’s usage level is different. We use a ton of Ritz crackers, so I’ll take as many of those as I can find on a good sale — we always run out long before another sale comes along! On the other hand, I make our jelly from scratch so I don’t buy jelly at all.
- Organize Your Stock. The idea behind organizing is pretty simple — if you can’t find it, you can’t use it. If you have limited space, you may want to stock only your frequently used items so you can find what you need. My hubby installed wire pantry shelves that make it easier for me to organize my stock, and I store the overflow of certain bulky items in my basement storage room. At our old house, my hubby built shelves into the framed-in area under our stairs, which worked perfectly for canned goods. You can also buy specialized storage shelves for canned goods, but they tend to be a little pricey.
- Pay Attention to Your Dates. You worked hard to get that food so why let it expire? Make sure you store your oldest items at the front of your shelves so you grab them first. I find it helpful to make my menus while I’m looking at my pantry shelves so I can let my stock inspire my meal choices.
- If You Don’t Use It, Give It Away. Every few months, take a little visual inventory of your storage area. If you see things you haven’t used at all or likely won’t use, give them away. You can find something more useful to store there, and someone else can use what you don’t need.
Do you have any tips for stockpile storage?