Organized Stockpiling: How to Make the Most of Those Great Sales

how to organize stockpilesOne of our favorite ways to save money on groceries is to stock up when you find a great sale.  For instance, when our favorite spaghetti sauce went on sale for $1 a jar, we bought 30 of them.  This ensures that we won’t be buying much sauce at full price, saving a good .38 to .50 a jar on something our family of six uses lots of.  But then we’ve got another problem: where do we put 30 jars of spaghetti sauce? 

When we lived in our 3600 square foot house in the ‘burbs, the house with the huge storage area, stockpiling was no problem.  We just cleared out a wall of built-in shelving space and designated it for our great food finds.  Now that our house is half that size, and the storage space is minimal, we’ve had to learn to get creative.

Some people avoid stocking up big when they find a great sale, simply because they don’t know where to put everything, but there are ways to store those stockpiled items and still keep your house looking neat.

Find “hidden” storage space

My favorite?  Under the beds.  Under three of the five beds in our house, you’ll find an ample supply of toilet paper, paper towels and napkins that we’ve found on “super sale”.  Not only does this prevent piles of random “stuff” from accumulating under the beds, but it makes for nice storage space that others can’t see unless they’re really looking.  Other options?  Closet floors, unused cupboard space, and in the garage. Search your house for hidden storage space and see what else you can find.

Get organized

One of the keys to stockpiling in a small space (and even a large space) is organization.  Keep your designated storage spaces in neat order so that you know how much you have of each thing at each time.  Your stockpiles should be arranged in such a way that you can look fairly quickly and know how many cans of soup, boxes of mac & cheese, or bars of soap you’ve got on hand.  Line things up in rows and keep them neat and orderly, rotating perishable goods with the oldest stock in the front, like they do in grocery stores.

Buy wisely

Don’t purchase 50 boxes of Rice-a-Roni you’ll never eat, simply because you got a deal you couldn’t pass up.  Make a list of the things you always buy, figure out how much of it you use in a year, and stock up big when it hits its lowest price, like we did with the spaghetti sauce.  This will ensure that you don’t have to do extra clean-up and organizing later when you have to go through your stockpile and throw away or give away stuff that you never used and is now nearing or past its expiration date.

Start slow

If you’ve never taken advantage of great sales by stockpiling before, start slow.  Stockpile one item at a time, and then add a second as you figure out where in your house or garage is the best place to store each item.  For instance, we store only canned and jarred goods in the garage, knowing that rodents won’t have a chance to get at them.  We have designated shelving in the garage for this very purpose.  In the house we work to find areas where we can put boxed or bagged goods, knowing that mice and other rodents won’t have a chance to get at them with two hungry cats roaming around.

An organizing stockpiling plan can easily save you several hundred dollars a year on your grocery bill, especially if you have a larger family.  Use the tips above and see how much you can save.

Do you stock up big when you find a great sale?

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  1. I stockpile everything when it is on offer and I try to never buy anything at full price. When I need anything I get it from my stores . My shopping just basically is replenishing my stores.
    That is apart from fresh produce and even then I freeze excess, if it is on at a good price.
    For example pasta sauce is on offer about every 3 months at my supermarket for about 4 weeks. During that 4 weeks I buy enough to last me until it will be on offer again.
    Must save me loads over the course of the year.
    And to answer the question don’t you get sick of the same pasta sauce – no ‘cos it is in different varieties and anyway it is just rotated in amongs my normal meal plans . Not “ok kids its pasta sauce with everything for 3 weeks.” lol

    • Lee, I would totally agree, and that’s how we’re starting to learn to do things too: by having our own “store” at home. And yes, you are definitely saving lots of money. We’ve chopped our grocery bill by roughly 60% using these techniques!

  2. Its good to buy in bulk for sure…but won’t you get sick of that kind of pasta sauce?

    • LOL, with four kids, it goes rather quickly. A couple of lasagnas and a couple of spaghetti nights and we’re ready to stock up again. :-)

  3. How to people go about fitting stockpiling into their budgets?

    • Great question, Kelly! We do it by stockpiling just a bit at a time. For instance, if spaghetti sauce is on sale, as I mentioned in the post, we’ll buy 20 or 30 jars. If nothing we regularly use is on super sale (by this I mean at the year’s lowest price), then we’ll just pick up an extra bag of beans, pasta or whatever (by bag, I mean BIG bag, as in at Sam’s Club) each time we go grocery shopping. The extra $10, $20 or $30 a month doesn’t hamper our budget too much, yet it allows us to have a nice stockpile in the house. Hope that helps!

  4. I use 5 gallon buckets with the airtight gamma lids for items such as sugar, pasta, crackers, dry milk, beans, etc. Sometimes you can even get free buckets from your local bakery, just ask and most of the time they are wanting to get rid of those 5 gal frosting buckets, and they are food grade! If you don’t have food grade buckets you can still store food in a new, clean unused non-foodgrade bucket, just leave the items in their original packaging.

    • We just started using those, Anita, and we love them! The gamma lids with the food grade buckets are awesome! We can get items like flour and sugar for a fraction of the cost of the “un-bulk” products, store them in the buckets and be good to go!

  5. Great tips, Gail!! Yes, the money savings really is hard to pass up. It definitely pays off in the long run if you’re buying items you’ll use.

  6. I am a long time stock piler. It drives some people in my family a little crazy, but when I remind them of how much money I save, they quiet down. Storage is a problem in a small house. Under the bed works, and so do added shelves in the basement, laundry room and linen closet. When we redo our kitchen, I’m adding lots more storage, including a pantry, and pull out shelves so things don’t get lost in the Twilight Zone in the back. By taking advantage of sales and coupons, I’m still able to get some items for the same price I paid 25 years ago. You can bet I stock pile then.

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