Couponing Basics: Organize Your Stockpile

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My Little Pantry

A key element to saving money on groceries is matching a sale with a coupon to get “rock bottom” prices.  The problem comes in when you get a bunch of pasta for free or cereal for $0.25,  what do you do with it?  You stockpile

Purchase as many of the item as you need to get through to the next sale.  Most products run on a 3 month cycle.  Which means that I can get free or super cheap cereal about every 2-3 months.  However, some products tend to run on a seasonal cycle.  I know I can usually get better sales on condiments in the summer and canned veggies around the holiday’s.

How to keep your stockpile organized:

1.  Designate areas for storage- Unless you live in a teeny, tiny apartment with little space, keep your stockpile confined to specific areas.  I keep most of my stockpile in my little closet pantry, canned items in a kitchen cabinet, cleaning and laundry supplies in the laundry room, extra tp and paper towels in the garage and toiletries in 1 bathroom closet.  If it doesn’t fit;  it’s time for a donation pile.

2.  Group like items – You need to know how many of an item you have.  If you have the BBQ sauce in 3 areas, how will you know when you’re really out?  All my condiments are grouped together on one shelf.  Further, all the ketchup, salad dressing, mustard, etc. are lined up one behind the other.

3.  Rotate your stockpile – I always put the new product in the back.  It may take some shifting and rearranging, but I always know which product needs to be used first.  If someone grabs a bottle of salad dressing, I don’t have to worry that they took the bottle that expires next year and not the one that expires in 2 months.

4.  Check for “need to use” products – I go through my stockpile about every 3 months or so.  I don’t want any of the food to expire, so it’s important to know which food you need to use.  I might realize that I have 6 bottles of BBQ sauce expiring in 2 months.  Well, we will be eating a lot of BBQ in the coming months.

5. Use clear containers – I use clear storage containers to keep like items together.  I keep all my travel samples in one storage container.  I request a lot of free samples.  My toiletry cabinet would be a mess if I kept all the travel size shampoo and deodorants on the shelf.   I use clear containers for open food products such as flour and cereal as well.  I also cut and tape the cereal logo on the container, so we know which cereal is in what container.

6.  Donate- I start making a donation pile when my pantry gets too full.  I will only keep what I know my family can use and what fits into my designated storage areas.  Remember to check the dates of food you will be donating as well.  You don’t want to donate something with an expiration date of next month.  The picture below is from when I cleaned out my toiletry closet for Couponing for Community.

7.  Stockpile emergency items – Consider stockpiling emergency items such as paper plates, cups and food that you can eat without electricity.  I don’t usually use paper plates, but I live in an area prone to hurricanes.  I store such paper products in a container in the eves.  I can easily access the plates, but it’s not taking up valuable space elsewhere.

What are your tips for organizing the stockpile?

Before                                 After

 


Comments

  1. Georgia says

    great post!! growing up, my mom was a genious at doing this!! unfortunetly, i live in a very small house, with little to no extra storage space. I have really struggled to stockpile and stay organized!! i love your system!

  2. Karen S says

    Another tip: Where all your boxes are turned sideways, I take a "thick" sharpie and write the expiration dates on the sides. Then when I send my daughter (11yrs old) to get something (she loves to help me cook!) She knows which box to pull…..

    Another one: I took all 10 to 12 boxes of fruit snacks out of the boxes (saved my "box tops!") and put them in a clear plastic container with a lid! I Think they call them shoe boxes? Sterlite and I paid $1 for them.

    I think I am going to post a photo on our blog soon!

  3. Kimberly says

    Cute blog… I like your heading.
    I am now following all networks and gave you 5 stars! I look forward to reading more of your stuff.
    All the best,
    Kim

  4. Dana @ The Coupon Challenge says

    Georgia-I'm so glad you find the post helpful! I read somewhere about a women that lives in a tiny NY apartment. She uses the long, narrow clothes containers for storage under her bed.

    Karen-love the sharpie idea! I forgot to mention that I empty some of the fruit snack and granola bar boxes into baskets for easy access, but I love the idea of 1 big container for them all. Maybe they make one with a lock and key to keep the kids out :)

  5. Lisa M says

    What a great article! We moved into an old house that has NO cabinet space! So I bought a couple of plastic (stackable) crates at Wal-Mart and they're in a corner in the closet!

  6. Dana @ The Coupon Challenge says

    Ugh, no cabinet space?! I had some of those stackable crates for moving, now we use some for toys and books. Glad you found a way to overcome your space issue!

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