What Do I Do With This Stockpile?

Guest post by Alison

As much as I love getting free to cheap products, there comes a point when I’ve just simply got too much stuff. When I open my cabinets and closets, and toothpaste falls on my head or a shampoo bottle hits my foot, it’s probably a good sign that I might be going overboard.

Sure, I can give my mom the tenth bottle of laundry detergent I’ve given her in a month or give a friend the seventh bar of soap I’ve passed onto her in a week, but at some point, they start to question my sanity. So the question is, what do I do with some of this stuff?

Donate to a local organization.

More than ever, local charities are hurting and in desperate need of a myriad of items, many of which we’ve been able to stockpile. Check out their websites or give them a call to see what items they’re most in need of. Homeless shelters, rescue missions, women and children’s shelters and pet rescues are all great places to check.

While it takes a little more time, I like to thoroughly sort out which organizations need which items. I could throw everything in a box and bring it to the nearest charity or shelter, but I prefer to sort through the items. The homeless shelter probably doesn’t have a high demand for Pediasure, but the local Shade Tree definitely does. The rescue mission isn’t in dire need of cat food, but the cat rescue can definitely benefit.

Set aside items to pack shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Last year was the first year I participated in Operation Christmas Child, and I bought items right before Christmas. This meant not only did I pay full price for most items, I wasn’t able to pack as many boxes as I would have liked.

This year, I’ve learned to plan ahead and stock up during Target clearance and other coupon deals. It’s not even the middle of the year and I’ve got an entire box full of toys, school supplies and hygiene items set aside just for this purpose.

Reach out to those in your church, neighborhood or community.

You might be surprised of the needs that go unmet even in our own communities. You can either donate these items to individuals and families or even arrange a swap.

I may not need any more baby wipes, but there might be someone who does that has some extra Excedrin that I need. I would always rather items go to someone who can use them than have them sitting in my closet collecting dust.

Keep a supply of hygiene kits in your car to pass out.

This may not be the right route for everyone, but it’s one that I personally love. Get together hygiene kits with the basics and keep a case of bottled water in your car. Pass them out when you see individuals in need.

It’s amazing how much of a blessing such a small gesture can be. The things we often take for granted are some of the basic necessities in life that not everyone has access to.

Those are just a few ideas of what I do to clear some space in my house, as well as help fulfill the needs of others. I’d love to hear your ideas, too!

Alison Rutledge is a work-at-home wife, student and mother to two crazy cats. She loves the Lord, serving others, volunteering, reading, staying active and, of course, shopping for the best deals she can find.

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  1. says

    One more idea: could you consider leaving ONE or TWO of the item on the shelf for someone like me (a full time working single mother whose ex doesn’t pay what he’s supposed to pay), so that I could just nab a couple of them?

    How about that?

    I don’t qualify for charity. I try to make my own way. I clip coupons, and study the sales, and am seriously dismayed when I get there and the entire shelf has been swiped by someone else.

    • TNK says

      1. Just because the shelf is empty when you get there doesn’t mean that ONE person cleared the shelf. It could be several different things such as the store never got any in the first place, they had only a few on hand, or several different people came in with coupons.
      2. There are a lot of people who are in economically difficult situations. Being a single parent myself I understand your situation all to well. However, I have just learned that sometimes you get the deals and sometimes you don’t. That is life. Make the best of the situation!! Maybe you could team up with another single mom and between the two of you make a schedule that can help you get those deals.

    • Alison says

      Hi Kimberly,

      I realize this is a frustration, but please know that while there are those that clear shelves, this is NOT how I coupon or have ever couponed in the three years I’ve been doing it. (I should have put that in the article upfront. It is not something I advocate.)

      I went into more detail in a previous comment, but I wanted to reply to this.

      • says

        I do know that most people don’t clear the shelves. The TV show doesn’t model that, though. It models extreme excess, in my opinion. I’m all for building a stockpile, and being charitable. I’m glad to know that you’re not an advocate of shelf-clearing either.

        I appreciate the clarification. :)

  2. TNK says

    I believe in having at LEAST a 6 month supply of food and personal care items on hand at all times. I do accumulate what looks similar to that picture, but have NEVER cleared a shelf. I take a little here and a little there. Sure, when they had cream of mushroom soup back in Nov, I stocked up. I did it over several trips. When they had pasta on sale and it was free, I stocked up. I did it over several trips.

    There is nothing wrong with having a supply of food on hand. You know, it USED to be common for people to have cellars full of food, often times a year supply. Now having that same years supply of items on hand is considered a mental health issue called hoarding.

    I am a single parent. I lost my job, and when I found another it was for almost HALF of what I was making. Thank the lord I had that food supply on hand. It made all the difference in the world.

    P.S. you would be surprised at HOW BIG a 6 month supply of food really is. It may look like a lot, but when you really need to use it without restocking it.. it goes FASTER than you think!!!

    • Tammy says

      USED to be common for people to have cellars full of food,-my mother in law has kept food in basement for years.

      Guess how times have changed it can be hoarding or stock piling.Extreme couponing show did a job of labeling people,but they show people who have years worth of deodorant,laundry soap etcc.That is way more then 6 months worth of stock piling.

  3. Mel says

    I’m so impressed!!… Your stockpile is so organized. I’m a little jealous, but this has motivated me.

    • Alison says

      Hi Mel,

      Unfortunately that’s not a picture of my stockpile. If only mine was nearly as organized! It’s a motivation to me as well :-)

  4. Marcy says

    I donate my extra items to my local food bank. They will take almost everything that I offer. Including pet food. The unemployment in our county is high and demand is great. In our state, you can’t use food stamps on non food items… that means no laundry products, soap, shampoo, or toilet paper. They are always grateful for the things I can donate and tell me that it’s all useful. Unfortunately, I think I’m the only individual doing this. The other donations seem to come from groups.

    Another idea is to give your toiletry samples to your local woman’s shelter. Since the women and children aren’t there long, the small sizes are useful. I accumulate a bag of stuff from motels then take it all in at once.

    I don’t empty the shelves when shopping either. If it’s important to me to get an item, I will try to get there early on Sunday. And if I don’t need it personally, I will try to wait until later in the week. If it’s gone, no worries.

  5. Laurie Villotta says

    I am a single mom with 2 daughters. Before children I would stockpile so many personal supplies I had enough for 5yrs. Even though it was a good deal I now realize how much time and money I wasted. Not tons of money,but money that could have gone to other things. Since I super simplified my life 2 yrs ago I buy only what we need not 2 of everything. I find that with the economy and people having less it has made me reassess the things I really need. If I do pick up extra supplies that are free and I do not need them I save them to make up personal supply bags for needy families at xmas. I have also gotten formula samples from different companies and donate them to our local church for moms day out program.

  6. patti says

    Wonderful ideas…I’ve always donated to those in need, couponing simply allows me to be able to donate much more.

  7. says

    I know my response might not be the most popular one but I would say have a yard sale. I put just a few stockpile items in a yard sale a couple of years ago at very cheap prices. I was thanked by several shoppers who needed help getting some good deals but didn’t qualify for help from a local charity.

    • says

      I did this over this past weekend, and I also had some people who were thrilled to be getting items at a good deal. I donate lots of stuff to charity and supply my extended family with items, so I don’t just sell stuff, but on a whim I put some items out to sell, and I had one woman almost in tears because she was so happy to be able to afford the items that otherwise would strain her budget.

  8. says

    I am planning to donate to JOPLIN, MISSOURI because many people lost EVERYTHING!! Read this article http://erstories.net/archives/4424 for an up-close account of what it was like to be there during the recent EF5 tornado. It must have been terrifying for those that lived through it. I have a friend that has been there to help and she said it looked like a war zone. Devistating. Shocking. She said you can’t imagine the destruction, even after seeing it on the news, until you are there to see it in person.

  9. Carmen says

    When we had five little children and one vehicle and one income, couponing was not even a possibility for me. A friend from church would often share her surplus with me and wow did I appreciate it! I always felt the extra groceries were such a gift. Now that I have a teen daughter to keep track of the coupon opportunities and ten in our family to feed on that single income, I am happy for the coupon deals and share any surplus I can with other moms in our church whose little ones don’t enjoy sitting through a long grocery shopping trip.

  10. Lisa says

    don’t get me wrong, i love getting great deals and freebies as much as the next person. but what about the idea of actually using some of the stuff in the stockpile. isn’t that why we stockpile? to save for a day when the deals are scarce? my philosophy is that you can’t take it with you when you go.

    • says

      Yes, however, sometimes it’s good to clean out and get rid of things that might be expiring — or to bless someone else who is going through a hard time. I try to do this every six months to make sure that I don’t have things hidden at the back of the stockpile that I completely forgot about it!

  11. Alison says

    Hi all,

    I’m loving these responses and getting new ideas! I do want to make it clear (and in hindsight, should have definitely put this in the article) – I do not advocate “extreme couponing” or clearing the shelves. I’ve been couponing for a few years now and can say I’ve never gone in and cleared a shelf. In fact, since writing this article, I join the masses that have been a little discouraged by people “extreme couponing” and have encountered the same troubles with empty shelves.

    After couponing for some time, it is almost inevitable to develop some sort of “stockpile.” For those that do Walgreen’s or CVS, you’ll know that you need to “roll” your ECBs or Register Rewards almost every week. There are weeks where I may partake in a deal for something I can’t personally use but know I can donate so that my ECBs or Register Rewards don’t expire and go unused/wasted. Even if I only pick up one box of toothpaste every few weeks because of a CVS or Walgreen’s deal to roll a reward, that still adds up!

    I have to also add that unfortunately that’s not a picture of my stockpile. :-)

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