How to Build a Stockpile

!How to Build a stockpile without going broke or hoarding

How to Build a Stockpile.

Why do I need a stockpile?
Having a stockpile can save money, time, resources and even your life. Having a few extra of something can also set your mind at ease during a job lay-off, an injury, taking in a family member or during an emergency. I highly suggest everyone have some sort of stockpile. You don’t have to have 100 toothbrushes if there’s only two of you but having 10 on hand isn’t a bad idea. If your family is larger than you will need to stockpile enough items to feed a large family. That can get expensive, fast! I don’t want you to think I’m not sensitive to not always having enough money to do extra things with. I also don’t want you to think I am telling you to go out and buy everything you can get your hands on and not pay bills or go broke. NO, I would never suggest that. I want you to know how to make the effort without being out of balance. Anything out of balance isn’t healthy.
Building Your Stockpile
Some tv shows or videos and give the average viewer an idea that having a stockpile means your home is bursting at the seams with only a pathway to get from the front door to the bathroom. This is NOT a stockpile. This is hoarding and I do not encourage it. Having a stockpile means you have extra of something on hand for an emergency or so you don’t have to keep running to the store when you run out. When you can get that item for a terrific price, it’s cheaper in the long run to purchase a few of that item.

Building a stockpile should not ruin your budget!

You want to save money, not spend your entire grocery budget stockpiling toilet paper when you haven’t purchased any food yet. If you run across a good deal and you know your family doesn’t use a lot of it, then walk away from the deal. Look for deals on things your family uses every week. A stockpile doesn’t happen over night. It takes months and by then you are probably having to restock because you have used those items. That’s what a stockpile is for, to use, not hold onto forever and never use.

Take spaghetti for instance. I purchase 10 or 20 at a time when they’re really cheap. I know that within 4-6 months I will have to restock  them on the basic understanding that we eat pasta at least once a week. It’s also a good idea to set aside say $20 if you can,  to do nothing with but spend on stockpiling items. Once you’ve spent your $20 you’re done for the week or month. If you have to put $5 in an envelope from each paycheck to pay for your stockpile goods, then by all means do so. What ever works for your schedule and is easiest for you.

I’m ready, where do I begin?

Week one. Let’s say Target had an awesome deal where you can score your favorite shampoo for $0.99 each. It’s usually $3.50 but Target has them on clearance for $1.99 and you have 4 manufacturer coupons for $1 off. You just scored 4 shampoos for $4.99 and saved $10.04!

Week two. Your local grocery store has boxes of pasta on sale for $0.50. They’re usually $1 or more. Getting 2 for a $1 isn’t too shabby so you grab 10 saving $5.00!

Week three. Your local store bought too much bread. It’s usually $2.50 a loaf. You notice they’ve marked them down to $0.49 because they will expire soon. Grab 5 and freezing them just save you $10.05! Plus you won’t run out of bread for a while.

Week four. Your local grocery store has broken boxes of cereal in their discount isle. The plastic bags inside are unbroken and fine. They usually sell for $3.50 each. The clearance price is $0.99 each. unfortunately for the store, an entire pallet of cereal was broken. Fortunately for you, you can get 10 boxes of cereal for $10! SCORE!

See how it works? Not too bad if you keep your eyes open!

FREEBIES! Freebies are fantastic things to have in a stockpile. Sample size items can really come in handy should you ever run out. Samples of shampoo, hand cream, toothpaste, deodorant, baby wipes etc are fantastic! What about the freebies your dentist gives you? Don’t forget the sample size goodies at hotels. Watch your live feed on Facebook  when companies are giving out free samples. Blogs similar to this one can give the heads up when they do too. Those little salt or ketchup packs left over from your McDonald’s run should also be saved. Pretty soon, you’ll be looking for freebies everywhere! You’d be surprised what you can get!

You are on your way to a stockpile! It’s a never-ending process. Don’t think you have to run out and buy everything you can get your hands on all at once. Sales run in cycles so if you missed it this time, you can catch it next time. When you have enough of what you’ll need of one item…that’s usually when you start to run low on another.

Should I stockpile from Cosco or Sams?

I personally do not stockpile from Sams (that’s the store in my area) for the reasons that certain items are just too big or would spoil at my house and I have to shell out more cash. It’s great for really large families and sometimes you can find a good deal there.  I like their paper towels, toilet paper and the large cans of tomato sauce so I can make a big batch of spaghetti sauce and freeze it!  If they have a good price on pork chops and there’s 12 in a pack, I’ll separate them when I get home and wrap them in aluminum foil for individual meals. For me, Sams is about convenience and usability. The price also has to be right and sometimes it is.  For instance, don’t buy a ginormous jar of peanut butter if you know it won’t get eaten before it goes bad. Use plain old common sense.You know what works best for your household.

Why you should control your stockpile:

1. Space and too much of a good thing. Don’t let your stockpile take over. Sacrificing the comfort of your family and making daily life difficult is not the goal of a stockpile. If things get uncomfortable, you probably have too much. I recently watched a video on You tube of a fellow that had his entire garage bursting at the seams. Now you might say, “Gee, that sounds awesome, I’d LOVE to have a garage bursting at the seams!” He had bins, bins and MORE bins just filled with…. deodorant. Will he actually USE all of those deodorants? Of course not. In my honest opinion, it’s actually gone to the extreme of hording. If you happen to get deals and later realize you won’t use them all; give them to a food pantry, homeless shelter or your local church. Hoarding can become a problem and we don’t want good deals to become a crippling disease. Take my advise and be sensible about stockpiling.  😉

Find a dry and cool area in your home to store your stockpile. You may have to use designated areas for certain items like: bathroom items go in the cabinet under the sink or in a linen closet… kitchen items in your pantry etc. If you have a basement, laundry room or a garage, a few inexpensive book shelves or shelving units would serve you well. (*Be sure if you have young children to fasten the shelves to the wall with screws into the studs so they won’t be a safety hazard. Many shelving units come with kits to do just this and you can find these at your local home center.) Don’t put items in a garage that are temperature sensitive or could be ruined by bugs or little critters. If you have a basement, use it.  The top portion of your children’s closet is a great space too. Items you want away from little hands or items you won’t use everyday are perfect to store there granted your child won’t pull anything down on them and get hurt. Safety first! Toilet paper, cereal, and paper towels would work great there.
!Stockpile storage using plastic bins 2 Sometimes, just throwing things on a shelf won’t work. They actually need to be put in something so they don’t fall on the floor or to simply keep them organized. I use shoe boxes, small plastic bins with lids and small boxes from the grocery store that canned goods come in. I can stack those on top of each other to save even more space! !Stockpile storage using shoe boxes 2
These all work great for the purpose. It doesn’t have to look fancy as long as it gets the job done. If you don’t have any, ask your store for theirs!
For those living in apartments or smaller homes, there is a monopoly on storage space.
!Stockpile storage using grocery boxes 2 Think outside the box. If you have a trunk as a coffee table, store dry items in there. If you have small closets, investing in a closet organizer can help take full advantage of the entire closet. Using a great furniture piece like a china cabinet is a decorative, yet utilitarian option. At the end of the day, how you organize your stockpile is all up to you. It’s all relative to your needs. A stockpile is supposed to make your life easier, not make you crazy.

2. Safety and Expiration Dates: Ask yourself how much of an item your family can use within reason (say for 1,3 or 6 months, and don’t buy anymore of that item after you have what you need. If you still have any of a certain item and you get more, be sure to put the older items in the front and the newer items in the back. This is called rotating..much like what stores do when they replenish their shelves. Read the expiration dates. They’re there for a reason.

3. Nomadic Lifestyle: This applies mostly to military families and other jobs when frequent moving is necessary.

There are weight limits for HOW MUCH you can move and the moving companies also have restrictions on WHAT you can move. No perishables (since containers can be in storage for 6 months to a year). Nothing flammable. No cleaning supplies. No batteries, etc. You can imagine how challenging it would be to get rid of a large stockpile of these items.

The best way to stockpile in the military is to have  roughly a 3-6 month supply.

Emergency situation. I have told my friends and relatives, be sure to have a stockpile for an emergency if not for anything else! Having essentials in an emergency situation can make a bad situation better and possibly save your life. Essentials are what you BETTER have, not what you hope to  have. Things like; water, a first aid kit, non-perishable food, batteries, flashlights, etc. Make a list of what your family will need in case of an emergency and knock them off your list a little at a time. Ideally, you should have at least three months of emergency essentials on hand. If your budget doesn’t have much wiggle room, perhaps purchase one or two cases of bottled water each month. After you have enough, go on to the next item on your list. Yes, it seems like doing it this way is slow but in 6 months, there’s no telling what you could have already knocked off your list if you stick to it.

Look at hurricane Sandy or Katrina for example. Those folks in New Jersey and other east cost areas, were without water and food for weeks.  Trucks couldn’t get through. Fema even had a hard time getting to them. The temperatures were freezing cold during Sandy and extremely hot during Katrina. Plan ahead for several scenarios based on your area of the country. Being without electricity is the most common scenario. Make sure your family knows your plans and are up to speed on what their role is.

Do NOT rely on the government. Going a few days without essentials while waiting for someone to save you could mean the difference between life and death for you or someone you love. Children and the elderly are THE MOST vulnerable during an emergency and it will up to you to provide for them and have a contingency plan. BE SMART! If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

You don’t have to break the bank but do it – do something! Start putting away for an emergency. I pray you will never need it but if you ever do, you’ll be very grateful you were prepared.


I hope you learned a little more about having a stockpile.

Tell us about yours and any space-saving secrets that have worked for you!


  1. 1

    Lee Mundy says

    Really good tips, very sensible! BOTL (be on the lookout) for BOGO’s (buy one get one free), then stash the freebie. Remember, essentials first- water, food, light, first-aid. Remember to have a manual can opener (or 3) to open those goodies. Have a way to heat your food. Consider pouches of hot cocoa, tea, etc…water gets boring pretty fast. Stash some ‘treats’, things to comfort yourself and family…it can be any little thing that you enjoy. Great stuff, and always better to have it and not need it than to NEED it and NOT have it.

  2. 2

    jennifer says

    I’ve been stock piling for a while, i buy produce when its clearanced and can in right when i get home, I’ve also learned howto pressurecan cooked and raw meats, so if you lose power for long periodsof time, youre not left with a freezer full of food that is going to gobadbefore you eat it

    • 3


      That’s terrific Jennifer.
      I’ve always wanted to learn how to can meats.
      Loosing power with a freezer full of food and expensive meat is a fear of mine so I’m glad you brought that up.

  3. 4

    Donna says

    For storing bagged items such as powdered sugar, some pastas etc., I check in with local bakery and deli departments and ask for any buckets with lids they may have extra. These are food grade buckets with good seals that icing etc. comes in. Most will give them away although some will charge a nominal fee. These will help protect your items from puncture and spoilage. Also stackable and great for organizing. Depending on need, these generally come in 2.5 to 5 gallon sizes.

    • 5


      I wouldn’t have thought of that.
      Would work great for rice and large bagged items.
      What a stellar idea Donna…thanks for sharing!!

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