I felt so exhilarated the first time I stared at my own freshly completed stockpile shelves. They were so lushly full of everything from breakfast cereals to paper towels.
But then, a few weeks later, humidity struck. Then came pests. Then expiration dates. The moral of my story is, we all have to learn essential mistakes in order to avoid them and maintain a healthy stockpile.
By avoiding these seven common stockpiling errors you can save your family hundreds of dollars in grocery and home supplies bills every year!
1. Not rotating your stockpile
"Rotating your stockpile" means more than one thing. If you live in a climate of extremes, rotating your stockpile may mean storing it in one location for summer and another location for winter. As well, rotating your stockpile can also mean ensuring the item that is closest to expiration is at the front.
Consequence: The consequence of not rotating your stockpile is spoiled, expired, unusable items…and wasted cash.
- Resource: How to Properly Rotate Your Stockpile (includes category use-by guidelines).
- Resource: Rotating Your Stockpile (includes item organizing guidelines).
2. Failing to pay attention to an item’s long-term storage needs
If you plan to store any item for longer than a week or two, you need to know its long-term storage requirements. Some items will only last months or longer if stored in a cool, dry place. Some items must be stored in a refrigerated or frozen environment in order to last longer.
Consequence: When you store items improperly, you’ll be left with a stockpile full of unusable items to dispose of…and wasted cash.
3. Forgetting to check your stockpile and use patterns
It’s easy to assume you’ll always need to have more of certain items on hand. However, use patterns may prove otherwise—if you’re paying attention.
At the same time, if you don't shop from what you have on hand before you buy more of it, you may never discover what items you really do need a lot of, and which items you rarely (or never) use.
Consequence: You will end up with a stockpile full of pricey items you don't like, need, want, or use…and wasted cash.
4. Not keeping a stockpile inventory list
Keeping a stockpile inventory list is a habit that ensures you only buy more of an item—regardless of how low prices are—when you really do need more of it. Otherwise, the temptation to take advantage of a great sale or killer clearance may be too great.
Consequence: Not keeping a stockpile inventory list is like not keeping a stockpile budget. You spend the money you have on the wrong things and end up with problems ranging from lack of storage space to a race against the expiration dates.
- Resource: Keep a Stockpile Inventory
5. Assuming a stockpile item will stay tasty (even if it’s supposed to "last forever")
While some food science researchers insist certain items last "forever," this does not mean they are still tasty (nutritional integrity does not equal good flavor here!). So don't be afraid to use what’s sitting on your stockpile shelves—after all, you worked hard, got a great deal, and now you can enjoy it!
Consequence: Unless you have a very poor sense of taste (or a farm with animals that will eat literally anything), there’s no sense to stockpiling items that will degrade in flavor before you can consume them.
- Resource: Save When You Put Your Peanut Butter Stockpile to Work
- Resource: 10 Different Ways to Utilize Your Stockpile for Others
6. Forgetting to ask yourself if you really need THAT MUCH of an item before you buy it
There are stories galore of "extreme couponers" who use coupons to get 200 of item A and 100 of item B for a dollar. But mostly those stories never show you what happens next. Where do those extreme couponers store all those "deals" they scored? Do they ever use even a fraction of what they buy? If you don't ask yourself, "Do we really need more of this item?" before you buy more, you’ll end up in the same boat.
Consequence: You’ll be contributing to food waste and overflowing landfills rather than savings for your family's bottom line.
- Resource: Is Your Stockpile Out of Control?
7. Failure to protect your stockpile from pests, pets, and other visitors
I’ve lived in the South. This has taught me to never, ever underestimate a pest. If they’re hungry, I can have barbed wire, an electric fence and a cryogenic moat surrounding my stockpile and they will still find their way in to snack. I’ve lost many a valuable stockpile category to household marauders, so now if I can't store it in a pest-proof environment, I don't buy it.
Consequence: You’ll end up with a ruined stockpile and a continual influx of germs and disease from unwanted stockpile visitors.