Saturday, January 5, 2008

Stockpiling 101

Stockpiling has many negative connotations, however with the right attitude and a plan, you can stockpile many needed items and feel quite content with your preparations.

The Basics: Stockpiling means simply purchasing and storing a year's worth of of an item (toothpaste for example) as opposed to buying the item as you run out of it. There are many items that you use on a daily or weekly basis--toothpaste, toilet paper, food stuffs--so it makes sense to stockpile these items on an annual basis as they come on sale. Stockpiling allows you to always have a supply of needed items on hand, allows you a hedge against price increases, and precludes the necessity of running out to the store either when you run out of an item or when a major storm is headed your way. Many people have also found their stockpile of supplies can carry them through times of job loss, injury, or illness.

What to Stockpile: Make a list of the items that your family uses on a regular basis. My list includes soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, toilet paper, cleaning products, laundry soap, paper towels, dryer sheets, hair products, feminine hygiene products, canned foods, rice, beans, etc. Now figure out how much of each item your family would use over the period of a year and buy that much of each item. If you look on the storage shelf in my garage you will find 25 tubes of toothpaste; an adequate amount for our family for one year.

When to Stockpile: Immediately. If finances are a limiting factor, consider picking one item and stocking a year's worth of that product now. Next week or next payday, choose another product and do the same. Some people stockpile all of the items on their list at the beginning of each year while others stockpile as each item on their list comes on sale. Whichever method you choose, it is important to being this project immediately.

Considerations: Space will be your primary consideration when stockpiling. Think of ways to store the items (in the garage, under beds, in a closet, etc.) that will make them both easy to access and easy to inventory. You will also want to be able to rotate the products so that "first in" is "first out". You will also need to ensure that your stockpile is protected from extreme temperature, humidity and rodents. Obviously, if you move often, have extremely limited space, or extremely limited finances, you will have to adjust your stockpiling strategy accordingly.
Stockpiling isn't only for extremists. It is a valuable, common-sense way to ensure an affordable, steady supply of the items you use most often and is one of the cornerstones of preparedness.


  1. Are you part of FIND 815 (the second LOST ARG) or is it just a coincidence that you have a pic of DHARMA food, and mentioned braille and steganography in the last 15 days???

  2. do you stockpile dharma products by chance?? :)

  3. ahh, very true. Good stuff :)

  4. Nope...have never heard of find 815. Also no relation to Dharma products.

  5. I agree that there are a lot of things worth stockpiling for emergencies........ but there are some creative and cost saving possibilities other than buying and storing already made things. For example, you can make "toothpaste" by combining equal parts salt and baking soda, then add a drop or two of myrrh. I know this kind of DIY is kind of weird, but if you think about it, there are a couple of considerations..... to consider. Your emergency may last longer than your toothpaste. Making your own toothpaste is cheaper and can be made mostly from things you should have as part of your overall stockpiling. It's more flexible to have the building blocks of compounds than the compounds themselves..... commercially prepared. And the components may save you money. Baking soda and salt are pretty cheap.

    I have books of recipes for lip balm, lotions, aftershave, laundry soap, etc. I've also collected them from the interwebs in a notebook.

    Another possibility to consider is learning how to make soap itself. You can make shaving soap, shampoo, bar soap, combination body and hair soap, etc.

    I guess my point is that it's useful to know the components of whatever product you use, whether it's cookie mix or toothpaste, so you can make it from scratch in an emergency. If possible. Also, it's interesting.