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7 Tips for Stockpiling for a Move

Guest post by Lacey from Live Loved

My family and I recently moved to a new city and remodeled a house. My in-laws graciously allowed us to stay with them for a time, paying a minimal amount for rent and groceries. Although I was ecstatic to move into our home, I felt a growing amount of worry as the time came to do so — most of it had to do with our grocery budget.

I knew there were a lot of things we would need to buy to get our pantry re-established, especially since we do the majority of our cooking and eating at home. Groceries can add up fast and our tight budget didn’t allow for much wiggle room at all.

My worry was beginning to build.

And then, I began unpacking. And do you know what I found? All kinds of canned tomatoes, oils, spices, pastas, beans, rice, and more. I had completely forgotten that I had packed whatever things I could from our stockpile and kept it in storage at our in-laws. All of which helped to fill my empty pantry that I had been so worried about.

What’s the point of all of this? I think there a few things that can be learned from my experience, and I hope they might prove helpful for you:

1. Don’t worry!

I realized that my worry was very unnecessary. Besides the fact that worry doesn’t accomplish anything, I also claim to rest completely in the Lord and the fact that He knows our needs better than I do. He is the one who provides for our family.

2. Make the effort to stockpile.

If you are moving, list all the items you can stockpile, and then do it! Include cleaning products and dried pantry goods you know will hold up to traveling and storage.

3. Don’t go overboard.

The point is to help get your family’s pantry set-up, not feed the entire neighborhood. Packing and unpacking boxes is a chore even with just a few things, so don’t add too much to your load.

4. Protect your stockpile.

If things need to be in storage, make sure they are well-covered from dust and bugs. Some things I even wrapped in plastic bags and then put into a well-sealed box.

5. Store items in a climate controlled space.

Spices, nuts, oils, and baking goods won’t last forever, but especially not in extreme heat.

6. Write dates on everything.

That way you know how long you have before it goes bad. I might even include the date it went into storage so that you have a good idea of its condition.

7. Create menus that use up your stockpile.

Not having to spend as much on groceries is an added blessing! Some ideas include: spaghetti or pasta dishes, beans and rice, and soups and stews.

What are your best tips to stock-pile for a move?

Lacey is the wife to Kade, mommy to Selah, unashamed coffee addict, and daily recipient of the love of Jesus. She blogs over at Live Loved.

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  • Jeannine says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. I just moved and found the following tips helpful;

    1. Empty your stockpile in the months prior. This helped me in two ways one was to save lots of money and time. I did not need to shop as much and pared down the food as I went for a few weeks prior to my move. This saved me precious time as I needed it for other moving details.

    2. When you get to your new place subscribe to a newspaper fast or find a free local paper. You want the grocery store ads to come in as soon as possible. Once I was settled I began to shop sales again very quickly in the food department.

    3. Walk the perimeter of your store if you are short on time. Look for marked down meat, bread and fruit. Bulk rice and potatoes can get your pantry started again cheaply and quickly. Gourmet meals can be saved for another time.

    4. For me personally I did not want to move with a big stockpile since my friends were doing my move for free. So having less to move was actually better.

    • Totally agree! We move twice a year, and I usually spend the month before we move buying less and less until we’re down to nothing. Instead of stocking up on things and moving them, I just save the money and move with that!

    • Andrea says:

      I totally agree! I’ve moved 11 times in 18 years (including cross-country and back) and used up as much food as possible before each move.

      Another thought: moving liquids is risky. If something breaks or leaks, the entire box could be ruined.

  • Tifani says:

    While going through a divorce I stayed with my parents to save money, pay off some debt, and work my way back into “life.” one of the things I did was stockpile items in boxes under my bed at my parents. Bath items, laundry items, shelf stable items, you name it. When it came time to move I was so fortunate that I caught great deals and had over a years worth of certain items. It was enough to allow me to ease back into the lifestyle of bills while continuing to hunt those great deals. It can be an enormous weight off your shoulders to stockpile like that.

  • Kelly says:

    We are a military family so we move a lot. We normally try to slow down on grocery shopping prior to when the movers come. We then get creative with meals to use up stuff that is in our cupboards…especially trying to use up anything frozen or refrigerated. We are picky about we pack for food if it is already open. We always pack spices that we have, and any unopened crackers, cereal, canned goods, etc. It is a pain to restock when you get to your destination, but usually you can do one big trip to get must have items, and condiments, and then slowly rebuild your pantry from there.

  • Heather says:

    I’d prefer to eat up my food first before the move, saving money on that end, and cut down on the packing. Of course, if I had packers/movers doing it for me, I’d feel differently!

    Once in the new place, to save money and time, meals can be simple for a while. Like roasted chicken and potatoes, with a veggie. Those items are easy to find on sale, and all you really need is salt, pepper, and some olive oil for the potatoes. Choose whichever chicken is on sale – whole or pieces, but you do need some bone and skin for best results when roasting plainly.

  • Lana says:

    We moved a full freezer 500 miles in the winter. I packed every empty space with newspaper to help insulate the contents. It was unplugged for about 36 hours and everything was fine. The move happened quickly and we did not have time to eat up what was in there so we moved it. I did not move things that would thaw quickly such as ice cream. I was glad when we arrived at our new home that I did not have to restock all my frozen foods.

  • Andrea says:

    oh my gosh! i love this post 🙂 im moving in march, from missouri to texas, and ive been sooo worried about what to stockpile and what not to. we’ve been living with my parents for a while because we have known wed be moving in march (military) and so ive been stocking up on bodywash, deodorant (pretty much anything you would need in a shower) and makeup and cleaning supplies and laundry supplies… my goal was to have a 2 year supply of everything for when we move 🙂 im good on everything except laundry detergent (we keep using it haha)
    Best of luck to anyone and everyone in this position 🙂
    thank you for this post!!!

    • Pam says:

      We are military and have moved across the country a few times. Please be wary about stock piling liquids (shampoo, body wash, etc.) and cleaning products. The moving companies will not move them and will leave them in the cupboards or sitting on the counter. That means you need to pack it in the stuff you are personally moving. After a while, it takes up quite a bit of space in your car(s). Most companies will not move candles either (heat) so you will need to take them, too.

      • Andrea says:

        Thanks, I didnt know that! but we’re moving everything ourselves cause the idea of someone else packing up my stuff kinda gives me the chills lol- thank you tho!!!

      • Lela says:

        We are a family in the ministry and I agree most moving companies won’t let you take these items cleaners, liquids and anything food related, they wouldn’t even let me take my sealed spices because my house would be in a truck with 2 other households and it would attract “rodents” to the whole load.

      • Michelle says:

        Have to agree about the liquids & flammables. I drove two storage tubs full of cleaning supplies, candles & liquor across the country because the movers wouldn’t take any of it. Also, be aware that some moves have special conditions — when we moved to Alaska, any shipments from the lower 48 or Hawaii were automatically bug-bombed by the moving company to kill any roaches that might be in the shipment. You really wouldn’t want any opened food to get bug sprayed.

        Also, if you’re paying for the move by the pound, remember that the items you got for a very good price might suddenly get very expensive. We went over our weight allowance on our last move and it was not a cheap experience.

        • Andrea says:

          The former owners of our home moved cross-country and didn’t take any of their flammables or liquids with them…they left them all in the garage!

      • Karis says:

        I was going to say the same thing since we are in the military too! I stockpiled too much one time and had to throw/give things away because it didn’t fit in our cars. Plus canned goods are pretty heavy and so up your costs if you are paying yourslf. So just make sure you check with the moving company ahead of time if someone else is moving you. Great thoughts though – thanks!

    • Lacey Wilcox says:

      Thanks so much! Good luck to you!!

  • Stephanie says:

    This has nothing to do with food, but I’ve found my stock pile of free packaging tape from Walgreens has come in quite handy as we prepare for our move! I called our local Walmart, they saved the boxes after stocking the shelves, and then I picked them up in the morning. I use my free tape to keep the boxes closed, but then found it handy to use bright pink duck tape to slap on the box to write the room it belongs in, as well as the contents of the box. The bright pink stands out and is quickly to see when moving.

    As far as the food stockpile goes… we’re eating as much of it as we can now to prevent from having to move it later. Money saved from the grocery bill this month can be used for after the move until the stockpile is actually a pile again. 🙂

  • bhenry says:

    Great post! We are moving cross-country next month, so I was excited to read this. However, I’m trying to do the opposite, deplete my stockpile. Since we are paying per pound for the move I am trying to get rid of as much as I can. Luckily we too will be staying at my in-laws for at least a month and I can begin a new stockpile from there.

  • Maren says:

    We just moved from an urban area (where it was easy to coupon and stockpile!) to a rural area where the local grocery stores won’t even take internet coupons. My small stockpile was a lifesaver when we moved, even if packing it up and moving it was a pain. Now I’m relearning couponing in a new environment. Anyone else in a rural area that has some tips? Thankfully the co-op takes internet coupons (and has their own), but I’m going to miss all those drugstore deals.

    • Lacey Wilcox says:

      I actually moved from a rural area too! Here are a few things I learned:
      –buy on sale and freeze as much as you can
      –grow a garden (I know, that does nothing for you right now though)
      –if you can’t get a lot of coupon deals, cook as much as possible from scratch (we did this anyway), but it really makes a huge difference
      –try having breakfast for supper one night a week
      –ask around for local produce, milk and eggs, and see if you might be able to barter!
      –learn to do without :). It amazed me the things I learned to live without when we were a long way from the “city”. It’s been valuable now that we’ve moved back in to suburbia.

      • Holly says:

        Grow 2-3 times as much as your can use in your garden and can it for the winter when you can’t grow, much cheaper than buying canned and you know whats in their w/o paying too much for organic.

    • We moved to a rural area about 19 months ago… the two biggest things I have learned are: 1) Stock up when you do go shopping (it is amazing what you can freeze!) and 2) Learn to live without – make do with what you have.

      I’ve built enough of a grocery stockpile now that I can go 2-3 weeks in between shopping trips without a problem (with supplementing a few fresh items at the gas station in our tiny town). I will say that there is a learning curve…so just keep at it – and find ways that work for you!

  • Lisa says:

    Moving on your own, locally–YES. Paying a mover–no. That would add up quickly! But, if you know you will be moving open a “grocery” account and stick 10 or 20 bucks each paycheck into it so when you get there you can quickly replace stuff that got too heavy and went to the food pantry.

  • Dee Wolters says:

    Having moved numerous times from across town to across the country I think I can speak to this. I think the best option is to eat from the pantry before the move to save on time, space and money during the move. Each box equals time (to pack, load, unpack), space (has to fit on the truck) and money (movers are paid by the square foot). I do take spices- hint, tape lids on, and some staples in Tupperware containers- flour, sugar, etc. I take a few canned items if they are a bit more expensive, but nothing in boxes or paper- bugs… I am a little more liberal with cleaning supplies and personal hygeine items, as these do not spoil. However, it is illegal to put aoresal cans into moving trucks, so please remove hair spray, Pam, etc. I have always had friends who have helped me in the packing and moving process and I ask if they would like to have our items that will not be making the move. Everytime we have been able to bless another family who has blessed us with their gift of time.

    I do agree that you should not worry. It does not accomplish anything. Whe we have a move coming, I try to use up from the pantry/ freezer, etc and save that money to restock when we get there. It does take a big chunk of money to get it all going again, so I try to get the basics on the first trip and pick up a few things each week until we are at our normal levels of food, condiments, etc.
    Moving is an advanture. Look forward to the new that God has for you in your new location.

    • Lacey Wilcox says:

      Super practical tips here! Our situation was a little different than most: we lived and worked at a church camp, and a lot of my food stockpile came from the fact that we ate our meals at camp, and everything I had was left from our off-season. I really appreciated your tips, though! I’m hoping I don’t have to move again very soon, but if I do, I’ll definitely follow them :).

  • Martina says:

    i wished we had moved with out stockpile, but doing a D I Y move in the military, we just got a rid of a lot of stuff before we moved, we didn’t have help and it was just me and my husband moving everything, we currently have nothing in our stockpile, but i am soon going to start putting a fifth of everything we get into a stockpile ( just like Joseph in the 7 years of plenty), as we going to be separating from the military in the next couple of years.

  • My family (at the time my husband and our son who was 9 months) moved from Alaska to Oregon in November. We had found out we were moving (husband got a job) and had 2.5 weeks to move. It was crazy. We moved literally EVERYTHING with us. I still look at things and think to myself, “why did we bring this all the way up from Oregon??” Ha. So funny. Our laundry basket even came with us. We were just so in a hurry we didn’t really know what we were doing 🙂 So I tell people now, if you are making a big move, only bring things you really need/want like clothes, favorite toys, reaaaaly favorite furniture. Little things like a microwave (we brought our microwave with us but the house we ended up buying came with a microwave so then we had 2!) and laundry basket you can buy at Target when you get to your new place 🙂

  • Allison says:

    Well this is a different type of stockpile, but once you know you’re going to move, you can start stockpiling boxes. Many stores will give you free boxes if you go on the days their shipments arrive.

  • Jennifer L says:

    THANK YOU for this post. We just moved from SoCal to Eastern WA in October and are now going to moving SOMEWHERE (who knows where yet?) at the end the month.

    For us, we are eating up what we can and have cut our food budget in half. The other half of the budget, we have turned into gift cards for Safeway (since it’s a chain that is in all the areas where we might move.) This will help us restock our kitchen when we land without effecting our budget too badly.

    We also found that generally using grocery gift cards for our monthly budget worked well for us. Similar to the David Ramsey cash method without worrying about carrying all the cash around. Then again, we only have the choice of 2 stores for groceries in this area.

  • Elise says:

    Those are excellent tips, but I would add just one thing. Make sure you know exactly where your boxes of food are!! This is of course a no brainer to the thinking person… but I never claimed to be a thinker 😛
    When my husband and I move from Texas to Tennessee, it sure was a blessing to be able to start making meals without making a major shopping trip first…. but almost a year later, I’m still wondering where that other box is… and dreading the day I find it. lol

  • tracie says:

    We are getting ready for a military move in April and are using up as much as we can from our stockpile. We don’t want the extra weight to put us over the limit and have to pay the difference. I’m saving the grocery money I would spend do use when we get there.

  • Anna says:

    Be careful! My sister-in-law had some cooking oils and spices in her storage unit. Guess what got into that- rats! They got rid of a lot of stuff due to a fear of rat feces & urine in the mattress, couch, etc.

    Made me think twice about keeping stuff in a storage unit versus selling some appliances & furniture on Craigslist when my husband was deployed!

  • Anna says:

    This seems like a good enough place as any to share some of the best marriage advice I ever got. Maybe it will help someone else like it helped me. It was from a more experienced military wife who said to disregard all arguments 3 months before and three months after a big move. Moves are stressful! Give yourself grace and don’t guilt trip yourself if you have to stop at a restaurant to feed everybody and give your marriage a little break! She also mentioned that this advice can pretty much be applied to any big life event! 🙂

    • Holly says:

      Love it thanks for sharing, we’re getting ready for a move and are pregnant so I can definitely see this being an area of giving grace for me.

  • Lacey Wilcox says:

    Here’s one of the things I love most about this: as I’ve read through all of the comments, I think it’s been so neat to see everyone’s wisdom in different ways. For my family, it worked better to pack a couple extra boxes with things for our new home (keep in mind, we were staying with my in-laws for a few months, and so we didn’t need the grocery supplies while we lived with them). For others of you, it worked better to use up your stockpile and save money (and boxes!), and then slowly build it back up! I’ve learned a lot from so many of these comments!

  • Emma K says:

    Love seeing all the military people on here 🙂

    We made a military move from the states to overseas and unfortunately we couldn’t bring food so I ended up donating a lot of nonperishable items that we didn’t eat before we moved. I was able to stockpile diapers, toothpaste, toilet paper and baby medicine before we leave. Since it didn’t take up a lot of weight in the move.

    I ended up just buying the basics for my pantry when we got here and am planning on adding to it each time I go shopping. As for stockpiling…it will depend on sales at the commissary.

  • Holly says:

    We’re moving across town (1 mile or so) and I have been debating about how to prepare for our move, I was thinking of doing a lot of freezer cooking since my hubby and I will still be working full time as we move and need to redo the upstairs floor in the house in addition to the normal move-in cleaning. Any ideas or input? I’m definitely moving my stockpile, I was thinking of planning the next 2 weeks of meals and packing the rest of the stockpile to be ready to go over to the new place.

  • Linda says:

    This post came at a great time for us. We won’t be moving for over a year but we will be downsizing again ! This is our last move and it’s back East to CT. It’s difficult to not buy things that would cost pennies but I have a stockpile of them already! I must now use up the stockpile because it will cost more to move them and I will not have the immediate storage areas when we move to our new retirement home!

    Did anyone else have this problem of not being able to take advantage of sales because of their future move? I know that extra cash will be needed for the move.

  • Mark Hailey says:

    Your tips are very useful for moving. Moving is very stressful work. Not an easy work. I found this much helpful tips on your blog. Thanks a lot for this beauty Enjoying article with me. I appreciate it very much!

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