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What do I do with all these bottles of shampoo??

Could you please write a post on what we can do with all of these extra bottles of shampoo, etc., that we get? It’s more than my husband and I can use. Can you please offer suggestions for what you do with all the excess? Thank you. -Leigh Ann

First off, I’m not a big proponent of buying stuff you don’t need — especially if you don’t have a plan for what you’re going to do with it or can’t afford it. I’m all about buying extras of things we’ll need and use when they are at their lowest prices, but I also think you need to determine when enough is enough and stick with that.

Being a wise steward of your resources is not just about clipping coupons and getting the best deal, it’s also about using your time and money in a way that you get the best return on your investment.

I’m not sure where your excess is coming from, but if you’re just buying stuff because it’s cheap and you already have more than you need, I’d suggest you scale back on your bargain-shopping for awhile. Really, it’s perfectly okay to take a break every now and then. In fact, I usually take at least 4-6 weeks each year when I don’t clip a single coupon from the newspaper inserts.

However, let me be clear that I’m not saying it’s wrong to have extra shampoo bottles on hand. You need to evaluate what works for your family.

Maybe for you, being strategic about shopping involves buying stuff you don’t need or won’t use so that you can reduce the expenses of things you do need and use. Or, maybe you have the time and energy to buy extra things which are free or almost-free in order to share with others.

If that’s the case, or if you just have a bunch of extra toiletries accumulated which you’d like to find a home for, here are some ideas:

::Make Gift Baskets

Ever thought about using some of your stockpile for birthday, Christmas and shower gifts? For the right kind of person, it’s a perfect gift!

Basic Cleaning Essentials Basket

You could put together a Basic Cleaning Essentials Basket with cleaners and sponges for a new bride. Stick it all in a bucket from the Dollar Store and add some rubber gloves and you have a very inexpensive and practical gift.

Laundry Basket

What new bride wouldn’t love a laundry basket filled with laundry detergent and stain removers?

New Baby Gift Basket

Put some diapers, wipes and baby lotions or soaps in a cute basket with a baby blanket and you’ve got a great gift for an upcoming baby shower.

Really and truly, the possibilities are practically endless when it comes to gift baskets. And if you use mostly items from your stockpile and purchase any additional items needed at the Dollar Store, you’ll likely be able to put together some really nice gift baskets for under $5! For more gift basket ideas, check out Idea Queen.

::Share With the Needy

There are so many different needs you can meet right in your local community when you have extra food and toiletries to give away. Homeless shelters, nursing homes, church food pantries and local food drives, are great places to consider.

In addition, look for people you personally know who are going through a tough time and consider sharing from your abundance with them. If you think they might be embarrassed for you to physically drop by a sack of groceries, then consider doing it anonymously.

::Send a Package to a Soldier

Check out AnySoldier for a list of what soldiers on the field need and want. You can click through the names and choose who you’d like to send a care package to based upon items you may already have in your stockpile. This is a great way to support those who are putting themselves in harm’s way for our protection and freedom.

Those are just a few of my ideas. I’d love to hear from the rest of you: what creative ideas do you have for using your stockpile to bless others?

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  • Kelly B says:

    Great points. I have a friend who works for the local food bank, and she told me that they often go out and buy things like soap, shampoo, and toothpaste. I know that any foodbank would be blessed by donations of that kind.

    Thanks for a great post!

    • @Kelly B, SO true! We’ve been donating all kinds of personal care items we’ve gotten free. Our food pantry usually gets food items, but people who are coming to the food pantry also need the personal care items. If I can get them free and we already have a nice supply, then we donate them. It makes me feel like my couponing is benefitting more families than just mine.

  • The only time I “buy” something that I have enough of already is if it is totally free or a money maker. Then I first start by asking family members if they could use it. Just gave my single BIL men’s body wash and a razor from recent MM deals. The next place I give is to an organization that helps out pregnant teens/single moms. Often times they are helping them get placed in their own apartment. They are very appreciative of getting cleaning and personal care products to start them off. If you are looking to get rid of some of those personal care samples; Ronald McDonald house will take sample/trial sized products. I also love the gift basket idea. Working on a diaper cake right now made out of great deals! Definitely about being a good steward of our time and resources. Thanks for this post!

  • Debbie says:

    Thank you for this post! I never knew about Any Solider – what a fantastic site! I do stockpile, especially when I can get items for free with coupons – I usually give my extra’s to our towns food/supply pantry which helps families in need. Any Soldier will be a great way to use my extra’s as well. Just need to sort through the site – lots of info!

  • Emily says:

    If the item was free either after RRs or ECBs, or less than a quarter after coupon, I take my daughter and hit all the Walgreens, CVS’ or Targets for an afternoon. We keep enough for 6months of use at our house and whatever’s left over, we donate to a center that accepts both men with children and also women with children. We only really do this once every other month or so, though.

  • Tina says:

    You can also use shampoo for other cleaning besides just your hair. In fact, if you have a toilet brush beside the toilet, put some shampoo down in the bottom of the holder, then each day you can just whip out your toilet brush (which has been soaking in shampoo), swish the toilet and be done. The toilet is ALWAYS clean and this is very kid/pet friendly should they get into the cleaner – it’s just shampoo!

  • Marci says:

    For the past couple years, my Mom and I put together boxes of all of our extra items and we share them with our relatives. We give them shopping bags and normally everything is gone. And they really appreciate it because they probably would have paid regular price.

  • Misty says:

    I’m going to start a ‘store’ at our church where people can buy my extra products at well below retail and the difference between what I paid for it and what they pay will be ‘profit’ that will be donated to missionaries.

  • bonie says:

    Gift baskets for college students or missionaries. Also, my church is always in need of cleaning supplies and paper products.

  • Erika says:

    If you are just looking for different ways to use shampoo, one of the best things I can suggest is to just water it down with a couple of tablespoons of water, throw in about a teaspoon of salt, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil (if unscented shampoo like Johnson’s baby shampoo) and use it as body wash and/or bubble bath. My mom shared that trick with me years ago and it seriously has saved me a lot of money when body wash deals are not to be had :).

    You can also use the same trick as above and use it as liquid hand soap (a little goes a long way though). Soap is soap pretty much, so just discover new ways to be crafty ;).

    One thing I love to do with the gift basket thing is to keep my eyes out at used stores for things like hair rollers (the ones that can be easily cleaned mind you…I just throw them in my dishwasher to santize them) and stuff and also keep my eyes open for the occasional deal on a free or close to free hair dryer at Walgreens. Throw it all into a basket and/or a reusable shopping bag with some decorative paper (save a tree and use a reusuable shopping bag you got for free instead of a gift bag. Sure it’s not quite as pretty, but 9 times out of 10 it’s way more appreciated by the person recieving it 🙂 and you’re good to go for one heck of a nice Christmas or birthday gift.

  • susan young says:

    I’ve often given away a lot of my stockpile to those who need it (mainly my brother-in-law or friends with lots of kids), but now, almost all of my friends do the ‘drugstore game’ too, so they no longer need any of my extras. I always do Operation Christmas Child and use some of my stockpile to fill those up as well.
    HOWEVER, what I have found is that if you accumulate quite a large stockpile of free things, they sell GREAT at a yard sale! I sell everything for $1 a piece and people are just so excited to get such great deals on stuff they would’ve spent 3-5 times more for at the store. These items are always the first to go. I just keep a cardboard box on the bottom of my linen closet and throw in my extras each week as I get them. When the box gets full, I know that it’s time to start planning another yard sale. I always get a few of my friends to do the yard sales with me b/c I don’t think that I would have enough stuff to sustain a yard sale all by myself with as often as I do them.
    About a month ago, I had a yard sale and was able to make about $200 on just all my overflowing stockpile stuff (about half of that money was extra diapers that I had bought for super cheap and still made about $5-6 dollars a pack on). My yard sale money funded our beach vacation we just got back from. It was so exciting to be able to really enjoy ourselves on vacation and not feel guilty about spending any of our ‘real’ money 🙂

    • Erika says:

      @susan young, Niiiceee! Being able to take a vacation like that would be so much fun! Thanks for the tip :). I’ll have to consider selling some of my stockpile next time I have a yard sale *laugh*.

    • Dawn says:

      @susan young, That’s awesome! I will definately have to do that next time! I don’t know if you’ve done this, but I pick up BC Supreme brownies cheap and when I have a garage sale, I make a ton and sell them for .25 each (plus pop and bottle water at .50). I had a garage sale two weeks ago, made 2 pans of brownies – they sold within a couple hours and I made about $5 in profit just from that. Plus my shoppers are so grateful for cheap snacks and drinks!

  • Donna says:

    I am a big proponent of buying what I might not use. Our community is always seeking donations through various organizations. Although my husband and I can’t always give monetarily we can give products that they are requesting or need on a regular basis. It’s a great way to fill a need and give to others what God has blessed us with!

    Hint for using shampoo: brush it on your husband’s shirt collars with a toothbrush before putting it in the wash – a great way to break down the oils on the shirt and get rid of or prevent ring around the collar!

    Thanks for a great post!

  • Kathryn says:

    I keep 6 month’s supply for our family of 9 and then I sell the rest. Flea market, garage sales or Ebay. The people at the flea market love when I bring in NEW things like that.

  • Carrie says:

    Maybe I’ll save some of my stockpiled cleaning supplies for the next time someone we know gets married — as a present for the new groom 😉

  • Christy says:

    I too only buy excess if it is free or a money maker. If you attend a church, they probably have some organization(s) that they help out. My church always has boxes for the VA home, the local homeless shelter, and/or Haiti inside main entrances so it is easy to bring extra toiletries and dump them in. Since we live in a small townhome with limited storage, I donate one or 2 items at a time (as soon as I “buy” a free item and realize I don’t need it). Since I go to church 2-4 times a week, it is easy for me to bring the items and not have to make an extra trip like I would have to if I actually went to the homeless shelter itself to donate.

    Also, check with your child’s school or the local public school. I am a teacher and my guidance dept. makes baskets for families in our school who are having hard times. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of excess this way, including feminine products (what mom doesn’t need those at some point?)–wrapped discreetly in paper baggies of course.

  • Ann B says:

    I never sign up for shampoo samples. I seem to have acquired an abundance of sample size shampoos and conditioners from hotels. Some of the Shampoo goes in our pool bag so that my kids can wash the clorine out of their hair right away. Lately, I have decided that we need to use most of these up, so I have been keeping a few bottles in the shower. It is nice to have a few extra though for the pool bag and travel.
    As for regular size bottles, I usually have at least 3 in my stockpile. A few times a year, I’ll donate some for charity. I didn’t have to spend a dime when my kids Vacation Bible School was collecting toiletries for charity.

  • Ashley says:

    I’ve found that I can stock up MORE than enough (and then some) of the majority of my toiletries without paying a penny (so to speak) w/ coupons and sales. Because of this discovery, I have made it a “rule of thumb” to not pay money for these toiletries, even if it’s a “good deal”.

    Even w/o paying for them, I have a surplus. I use them in gift baskets (weddings, showers, etc), give them to family members/friends who can use them, etc. Since it didn’t cost me anything to stock up, I have no problem giving them away “just because”. Another great option would be to give them away to a local shelter – they often have need of such products – or to a local mission.

  • Karen says:

    Every week I take a bag to a local shelter for battered women- they need all kinds of personal products. It is such a blessing to be able to share this way. I’m thinking if you have college students or young families in your church they’d love to share your abundance as well.

  • I keep a specific cupboard reserved for my personal care stockpile (shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, medicines, etc) I try not to buy anything if it’s full, unless it’s totally free or with overage then I’ll get it anyway and put it aside for family or donating later. I took a large brown grocery bag full of this stuff to a local family charity organization and they were so happy, they gave me a tour of their facility and kept thanking me. They showed me the storage area where they keep this stuff and it was almost full, but they said they go through that whole storage every week, they give the items out to needy families in addition to the other services they offer. That totally made my day. 🙂

  • OH and I also forgot to mention like some other posters, I started using things like bodywash as handsoap, I don’t see why you couldn’t do the same with shampoo. I’d also probably use it to clean my bathroom and floor as well (if you don’t have special flooring or counters) The only thing to keep in mind is that shampoo is designed for our oily heads so it might strip oils out of wood or other special material, but for tile or ceramic I’d think it would be fine. 🙂

  • Ellen says:

    I totally agree with being a good steward of your time and resources. It makes me sick to hear about other’s stockpiles… raiding store shelves and hoarding goods just because something is a “good deal.” It just seems greedy. I try to realistically plan how much we need of each item and stay at that number. I have also been doing the couponing thing long enough to know that good deals come in cycles, and passing up this one means you can put your time and resources towards something more meaningful to you and your family and that you can just hop on the next deal when it comes around. I really appreciate you hitting on this topic, Crystal!

    • Christy says:

      @Ellen, While I agree that we should all be good stewards of our time, if you have the time and can get toiletries for free (or even overage), why not do that and donate them? This is a way for many people to donate that may not have monetary funds to do so—-in other words, time spent acquiring these free items = money! Of course I am not advocating taking time away from family, etc., but if you can manage your time appropriately.–As for me personally, I am already spending time planning trips and pulling coupons, so it only takes me a few extra minutes to pull out a few more coupons for free items to donate. I am not going to go out of my way to plan a trip unless I need things, but if I can put in a few extra minutes of planning to pick up some items to donate, I will.

  • Eleanor says:

    I donate extra toiletries – especially the ones that I get for FREE & that are brands that we don’t use – to a local Women’s Shelter. They are grateful for all the toiletry items they can get & since it was FREE – I am happy to pass it along!


  • MaryEllen says:

    It’s harder for me to find deals on hand soap and laundry stain remover, but I always have more than enough free shampoo, which can be used as both hand soap and laundry stain remover. Voila! All 3 products for free!

  • Kate says:

    When in a pinch, I have used shampoo/conditioner to shave.

    Also, every couple of months or so I clean out my linen closet, and always find TONS of extra shampoos, lotions, body washes, etc… I have a habit of buying things that catch my eye or smell good. Sometimes, though, I end up not liking it once I try it. (I have stopped doing this now and try to get samples before buying something, but I am still playing catch up of 20 years of doing it the old way.) I also have a TON of lotion that I have received as gifts over the years but don’t like.

    Once I gather all of the things I want no longer want, I send an e-mail (or Facebook post) to my friends and family, advertising what I have and how much of it is left. I play by the first-come, first-served rule, so whomever speaks up first gets the product. They get free stuff and I get extra space, so it is a win-win!

  • Our family is about to move to Haiti in August. If you have missionaries your church supports (or missionaries your family supports) you could always send items like these to them. In Haiti toiletries are terribly expensive. Every country is different, but it would be a huge blessing for lots of missionaries if you sent your extras to them.

    Sometimes it’s the little things…like washing your hair in your favorite shampoo that make all the difference in the world when you are far from home.


    • Wendy says:

      @Heather Hendrick,
      I am doing the same thing for my friends moving to a very remote part of Honduras called La Moskitia. I am even collecting pads and tampons for the teenage girls at the orphanage there.

  • Kory says:

    I am guessing that if you have lots of shampoo, you probably also have lots of conditioner too. Conditioner makes great shaving cream.

    I personally will buy anything that is free or only costs change to buy (and I am on an extraordinarily tight budget). I keep a few extras on hand for the family and give the rest to a friend who is in need at the moment. It is more than worth a little bit of change to make someone’s day. Getting a nice body wash or shampoo when you don’t have the money to get it on your own can really boost your morale and make you feel special.

    If you are having trouble figuring out where the shelters that need help are in your area, I recommend calling your local Council of Community Services (the number is 211 in some areas). They should be familiar with all the local shelters.

    • Christy says:

      @Kory, Ooh, I like the conditioner as shaving cream idea–I will have to try that as I only use one kind of conditioner—I have tried using others when they are free or almost free and my hair is just too curly and dry! I can vary shampoos, although I definitely have a favorite, but have to stick with Aussie Moist conditioner or my hair is too dry and frizzy and gets damaged and has to be chopped off! But….if I can get other conditioners for free, maybe that can be free shaving cream—thanks for the tip!

  • Anne says:

    Another great place to donate to is the Ronald McDonald House if there is one near you. My niece is currently going through chemo/radiation and they’ve stayed in the Ronald McDonald House. They provide all kinds of support to parents and families of children with serious illness and are always in need of personal care items (as well as any other household item you might think of). A lot of times people show up there and they haven’t had time to pack anything before being rushed to the hospital. I packed up a bunch of my extras and sent them down with my SIL to donate.

    • Suzette says:

      @Anne, I LOVE the idea of the Ronald McDonald House! Anything you can do for these sick kids and their families to make it feel a little more like home has got to be appreciated!

  • Kristin says:

    My mother-in-law puts out Christmas stockings even for all the adult children (all 10 of us, plus MIL & FIL!), and we all pitch in stocking stuffers. I always put razors and men’s shower gel in the BIL’s stockings; and the girls get all kinds of toiletries, hair accessories, air fresheners & candles, etc.

  • Bonnie says:

    Please donot forget public schools around Christmas time or anytime really they are need of personal items constantly. I give all my extras to my sons school so the needy children can have these items for Christmas. God Bless You all!

  • Megan says:

    I second the laundry basket! Last year, my soon to be sister-in-law filled a laundry basket with all the laundry essentials. I didn’t have to buy ANYTHING for laundry for about 6 months. Also, I’m a public school teacher. Our family resource room is constantly helping families. They will take anything extra!

  • Janet says:

    First of all….if you have that much I would take a break from shopping for awhile! I lost a job last year and after have a few panic moments about what my family was going to do without my income, a friend pointed out my fully-stocked pantry and freezer. Not only were we able to eat what I hade for A GOOD SIX MONTHS!!! but I was also able to donate to various canned food drives and pack a few backpacks for some kids who were less fortunate than my own.

    With summer here and many of us looking at vacation maybe we should look at a “shopping vacation” and use up our stashes of various things?

  • Heather says:

    The poster didn’t really say anything about sizes of all the extras, but the best type of shampoos and conditioners to send soldiers are travel sizes!

    Often they have to walk some distance to the showers and travel size containers are easier to carry. I would send my husband small empty travel sized bottles and one large bottle of shampoo or conditioner or lots of sample sizes if I could get my hands on full ones!

    • blessed-with-3 says:



      Please tell your husband “thank you” for serving our country. Thank you, also, for supporting him during his deployment. May God bless your family and all those who are separated.

  • Pat says:

    I use the samples to stock my camping box. So much lighter and more convenient. Nothing quite like washing your hair on a mountain top and letting it sun dry.

    I also use samples or small bottles in my emergency pack for the family. My bug out bag for the Red Cross is also stocked with these.

  • Melissa says:

    Our church food pantry accepts and distributes personal-care items (shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant–just to name a few that are often on sale), so we give ours there.

    We also help a center that works with single moms, and they can always use baby items (diapers, wipes, lotion) as well as personal-care items for the moms.

  • Colleen says:

    I know the Salvation Army near us is always looking for donations of toiletries. We also saw in the paper that the social services for our town set up a day at a local school where they did everything from give people haircuts to dental appts. They were in need of donations as well. Most homeless shelters like the small bottles so that they are for individual use.

  • Lorie says:

    Extra shampoo goes into hand soap dispensers…its cheaper than buying the big soap refills. Extra conditioner takes the place of shaving gel for my legs…moisturizes much better and is cheaper!

  • Karen Rucker says:

    You can also barter with them if you have a friend who doesn’t have the time or inclination to coupon shop. My sister works full time and doesn’t want to spend the little free time she has bargain hunting. So I share my stockpile with her in exchange for the occasional babysitting job or her expertise on things I don’t have the time and inclination to do well.

    • Suzette says:

      @Karen Rucker, Great idea! I can’t count the number of people that tell me that they wish they didn’t have to pay so much for stuff. I bet any number of my friends would be willing to dog-sit for me for a couple days in exchange for a share of my stockpile.

      • Karen Rucker says:


        Glad to help! If you do this, I suggest working out what you think is a fair exchange in advance. Maybe a wal-mart bag worth of your excess = X hours of dog sitting. That way everyone involved feels like they got a good deal and no one has hurt feelings afterward.

  • Noelle says:

    Like others have suggested, I donate any extras. However, I find that sales on a particular item will rotate, so I might have an abundance of shampoo, but then there aren’t any great deals for 6 months, so that abundance slowly dwindles. It’s my understanding that toiletries are not items that can be purchased through food stamp programs, so these are hot items for food pantries and the like.

    A friend of a friend just left an abusive relationship and is receiving bare bones assistance to be out on her own. I was able to give her some extra kitchen items and also a nice bag of toiletries to help her out. Even in these difficult economic times when every penny counts for many families (including my own), it feels great to be able to directly help someone in need.

  • rachel says:

    as a foster momma I would love if people sometimes shared their few extras like soap and shampoo!!oh and toothpaste!

    maybe find a group home or large foster family that could use help!!

    • Lorie says:

      @rachel, I’m a foster Mama too and I feel the same way! Since we started fostering, I haven’t had as much time to coupon shop as i used to have.

  • Melissa W says:

    Here is what I do with excess:

    -share with parents and brother/sister in law (sometimes I just bring bags of stuff over for them, other times I use items for stocking stuffers or for a big gift bag at Christmas).

    -donate to our church sharing bin – items then get used to help church members who are struggling, or the church also helps out the community

    -I also make gift baskets for my 89 year old grandmother. She is mostly housebound, and it’s always a treat for her to get a little gift bag since she is on a limited income.

    -gift baskets for college-bound students. These make great graduation presents, as all college students can use toiletries!

  • Amy says:

    Please consider donating hand sanitizer, tissues, and disinfecting products to your local schools! Teachers like me will love you forever! If you get a back-to-school deal on notebook paper, pens, or pencils, please also consider donating those to a teacher you know! So many of our kids don’t come prepared to class, many because they can’t afford it!

  • Allison says:

    My bathroom cabinet is filled with free bodywash and super cheap shampoo…I won’t buy any unless it’s free, because it’s silly to get more when I have at least a year’s worth stockpiled. I also have about a dozen bottles of laundry soap, and a local store has a rewards card with points that I use to get more free. Since I don’t need more right now, I get the Free & Clear kind to give to a single mom friend. Spread the love!

  • Emily says:

    I donate mine to the local Interfaith Hospitality Network or the local food bank. They always need personal care items like shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant.

  • Angela says:

    Does anyone know if shampoo would work to wash clothes in a pinch?

    • Carrie says:

      @Angela, I don’t know for sure, but I would guess it would be fine for hand washing in the sink at least. I have no idea if shampoo would harm a washing machine in any way or not.

      • Sara says:

        @Carrie, I have been known to handwash items in shampoo – in fact, Herbal Essence shampoo is great for removing blood if you get to it while it’s fresh – cut my finger the other day and I washed my shirt with some shampoo immediately and every trace came out easily.

        That said, I would not use most shampoos on items I eat off of. Some of the additives in shampoo (tea laurel sulfate comes to mind first and foremost) are fairly toxic substances (just google it if you want a wake-up call) and I wouldn’t use them on dishes, especially plastics that absorb soap.

        I used a dish of Palmolive dish soap the other day to soak my cuticles (makes them soft and easy to push back) but when I put the dish in the dishwasher and ran it, it must have had too much soap residue on it because the suds overflowed my dishwasher’s base and oozed out the hinged area of the door – not good! At least it forced me to mop, the floor really needed it!

        So, no, I wouldn’t substitute shampoo for laundry soap in a machine (remember Bobby on the Brady Bunch…) but for handwashing, go for it.

        Also, do a little research on anti-bac soaps – they really aren’t all that great for regular use. We are making ourselves less resistant to germs and viruses with all the anti-bac usage.

  • holly says:

    Ronald Mcdonald House. When you have a child life flighted to a hospital. The last thing you worry about is packing. you just drive like crazy to get your self to the hospital The thought of going to a store to get things like shampoo is the last thing from your mind. As a mom who has used ronald mcdonald it is wonderful when there was shampoo, toothpaste, and toothbrushes so you could spend every moment with a dying chid.
    They also take donated food you can use this as a tax write off also.

  • Kels says:

    I am a teacher for at-risk high schoolers and I know most of them go without shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, and even sometimes soap. Might I suggest checking with your local schools to see if they could use any extras you might have. I keep a large stash in my classroom to give to students that need it. The school might be able to keep it in the nurse’s office to pass out as needed. Just a few ideas!

  • Kristina Ulrey says:

    I think she may have gotten the extra shampoos from hotel stays and sometimes companies send bottles of extras. When I was at the Downtown Hilton in Portland, OR they had a note that said that they gave half used bottles to shelters. I used to feel a need of collecting them whenever I stayed, but as I can never be sure of TSA’s regulations for different airports I stopped grabbing them. I have 2 small bottles that I refill with my own shampoo and conditioner and I just leave the bottles at the hotel. It cuts down on environmental waste.

    If you have extras. I would suggest donating them to missions either in your town or a care package to missionaries that your church sponsors. But I do like the ideas that Crystal gave in her blog for gifts. This would also work great to new college students. When I was in college I loved the freebies, especially when I transitioned from the dorm to the apartment and realized all the things that came with being an adult.

    • Crystal says:

      She actually got them from all the good and free deals you can get at drug stores and elsewhere when using coupons — so they are full-sized bottles.

    • Hannah says:

      @Kristina Ulrey, FYI, TSA’s regulations do not differ according to airport. Any liquid or gel less than 3 oz. (in a marked container of said size) can be taken through the security checkpoint, provided you keep them all in one quart size ziploc bag. I work at the airport and hear the announcement played over and over again. 🙂

  • kimberly says:

    My church always puts together gift baskets for the high-school graduates who are bound for college in the fall. Towards the end of the summer, they poll each child as to what toiletries, school supplies, and snacks they like. Then the church puts an insert in the bulletin listing each student and the things they like. They put a box in our Welcome Center with each child’s name on it. Church members have 2-3 weeks to add items to the boxes. A lot of times these kids list very specific items, a lot of them name brand, so you can often find coupons for them. If I notice they like something we have extra of I put it in the box. You could also use the freebies CVS does around back-to-school time, like they did last year with pencils and such.

  • If you are over-run with conditioner as well as shampoo, you can use the conditioner as a make shift fabric softener. Mix these amounts in a leftover fabric softener jug:

    3 cups vinegar
    2 cups conditioner
    6 cups water

    if you use softener sheets, you can always cut up an old t shirt and dip the piece in the jug before putting it in the dryer.

    Also, shampoo makes a great substitute for woolite. Just 3 or 4 drops in a sink filled with water will pefectly wash your delicates.

  • Julie says:

    I get everything free that I can without driving myself crazy, and donate all my excess to a local women’s shelter. Even most of the men’s stuff they can use because this particular one, takes moms with teenage boys. I figure if I can get it free, I might as well pass it on to someone!


  • Mel says:

    So many charities are happy to take shampoo and other personal items. Particularly shelters for battered or homeless women. Additionally, as the fall draws near and the holidays approach, many businesses will start to gather supplies for our troops. To be honest, I’ve found myself in the same situation with excess items, and I find that giving them away can be a great learning tool for my son.

  • ShorterMama says:

    I’m starting to reach my limit on shampoos. My little sister just left for college. I plan to send care packages with free or nearly free toiletries, so she doesn’t have to worry about that stuff so much.

  • Thank you for including the anysoldier link. As the wife of a soldier, I am appreciative that you keep them in mind!

  • I’ve been on a bargain break for a while, but I’ve given bags of grooming products as gifts to family members, given away groceries, and have also donated to a local women’s shelter.

  • kris says:

    Well, I haven’t stockpiled any shampoo yet as I’m relatively new to this couponing thing and I went to shower last night only to discover we had a drop or two left. My kids used the shampoo to slip up the slip-n-slide they made in the backyard out of a tarp. So if all else fails and you don’t know what to do with the extra, use it on the slip-n-slide. That will get rid of it quicker than anything! lol

  • Nani says:

    In my family, They all joke about coming over to shop in “Nani’s Store”. My garage/pantry has shelves full of food,personal and cleaning items. whenever someone comes over they take a bag and go “shopping”. I don’t charge anything accept a hug and a prayer. My brother-in-law, who was just ordained a Priest can really use all the stuff I donate, as they do not make a lot of money as it is. I also know of a few needy families in our church parish whom I put bags together for them as well.

    I too get all of these for pennies or free (cvs and walgreens) and stock pile for such occasions. This past weekend I gave out 15 bottles of Old spice and Gillette body wash to all the men in a wedding party! (to make sure they did not offend anyone on the wedding day) *smile*

    Doing this also helps with my “shopping for the best deal” fix….I LOVE saving money! YAY!

  • Stacey Carter says:

    Great suggestions. I usually give to our local food pantry and domestic violence shelter.

    I also suggest around the holidays you check out the Salvation Army. They get names from adults that need gifts and toiletries make good ones.

    Also check out students in college. Many are just barely making it (with financial aid being cut back) and would really appreciate the toiletries.

  • Julie says:

    You might look around at large families and see if they could use your excess; we are a family of 8 soon to be 9 and easily qualify for food stamps, WIC, etc but DO NOT sign up for any of them to add burden to the tax payers of the US.

    If anyone offered their excess to us–I’d accept. :o)

    • Julie says:

      Even families who do choose to apply for food stamps, etc. can benefit from your stash. Food stamp benefits (now called SNAP) can be used only for food items, not for toiletries, cleaning products, paper products, or otc meds.

    • brookeb says:

      @Julie, I know that you believe it would be a burden to accept it, but honestly if you’re eligible for assistance please don’t feel that way. Many *are* offering their extra to you through the taxes we contribute for just such a reason. 🙂

  • Rebecca says:

    I am still new to the couponing/stockpiling game, but I do request sample sizes from time to time, and I keep them in a basket in my closet for when my out of town parents come for a visit so they don’t have to pack any toiletries. We also use them at the gym after swimming, and I keep a spare toothbrush, deoderant, etc, in my desk drawer at work.

  • Amber says:

    I have found that men’s shelters receive fewer donations than women and children shelters so I stock up on mens body wash when I can. While it’s great to donate from a stockpile, it often makes me sick to my stomach the amount of plastic that goes into packaging these products. Buying tons of packaged products is not (to me) being a good steward of resources, even if they are eventually recycled. I try to “even it out” by refilling our personal shampoo/conditioner/body wash/laundry soap/dish soap bottles with bulk from the heath food store.

  • Marsha says:

    With the free trial size products and misc shampoos and conditioners that my husband accumulates on his work travels, I like to put together little “welcome to our house” baskets for visitors. I either put it in their bedroom or the bathroom and then they have anything that they might have left at home — or maybe they get to try a new product or fragrance. My mom gave me the idea and it’s always so fun to try the various things she puts out for us when we visit.

  • Angie says:

    Great post Crystal. Similar deals will always come back around again. I have a Halloween business so I like to stock pile in spring/summer and avoid shopping in the fall and through the holidays when I’m really busy.

  • Tina says:

    I am a bit overrun with toothpaste at the moment so I contacted my local food bank to ask if they take health and beauty items like shampoo and toothpaste. I got a great response that they could absolutely use those items. I will be dropping off a bag (or two) this week 🙂

    I find this a great way to share my abundance and blessings.

  • Sara says:

    Most schools will take donations of dish soap, hand soap, and paper products. Local little leagues will take soap, paper towels, etc., to stock bathrooms and concession stands.

    Many food pantries will also take these items, along with pet food, bar soaps and shampoos, feminine hygiene items, baby items (baby food, diapers, wipes). Just ask – most are happy to get anything they can.

    Call your Red Cross or other disaster relief organization – they usually can let you know where the need is greatest. Also, Catholic Charities will take items – they have warehouses across the country where they store items and are often first on hand during disasters. They were already in place in Haiti and had food and water already stored in a warehouse on the island when the disaster there occurred.

    I simply bag up what I have too much of and leave it in the entry way of my church, where we leave the food donations. No one has ever complained that I gave a bag of shampoo and soap instead of food.

  • Hannah says:

    My husband and I are planning a trip Africa we’ll be taking a lot of this kind of thing with us to give away. People there are so thankful for it! If you know someone who is going on a missions trip this summer, perhaps they’d be able to take some of the extra toiletries you have. Our trip is not a missions trip, we are just going back to visit friends and family, but we know first hand how pleased impoverished people are to receive soaps and shampoos, even toothpaste.

  • Kimberly says:

    I love! I have sent a few care packages through their organization. If you go onto, you can order special “Flat Rate Shipping” boxes that are especially for military addresses. They will deliver them to your home for free (I think they come in bundles of 10) and they are $2 cheaper to send then regular flat rate shipping boxes. This is a great way to save, especially if you’re sending heavy items like toiletries.

    Another tip – you know those Betty Crocket Warm Delights that we can snag for 13 cents this week at CVS? Those are GREAT to send to a soldier with access to a microwave. They can “bake” themselves a pretty decent little treat. I’ve seen several soldiers who have requested those! And they are so light, you could mail them very inexpensively. I love doing these little things to support our soldiers.

    • Lisa says:

      @Kimberly, When you go to the post office ask for the APO/FPO Flat Rate Box. Sometimes it is stored behind the counter. I love the savings. And the box says “America Supports You”.

  • Hannah says:

    Another thought, my middle aged cousin cousin couponed long before I ever learned to and she kept me and the younger cousins supplied with toiletries all through college. I didn’t spend a penny on toiletries the entire time. She also supplied my parents (there are eight children in our family) with toiletries when we came back from the mission field six years ago. All that to say, if you know college students who aren’t particular about brands, consider offering them a stock of toiletries on a regular basis. Or just share with your relatives who don’t coupon. Particularly if you have lots of time and they are busy moms who don’t have time to coupon.

    • @Hannah, How funny! I just read your reply after I posted my idea to send items to college students! What a blessing to have those things supplied for you. And having brand names instead of the generics that college students would gravitate towards is REALLY nice!

  • Joy says:

    I don’t like Suave shampoo (Pantene snob), but it makes great bubble bath.

  • Tricia Young says:

    Shave your legs with it. I no longer buy shaving cream that I can never find for free so I use all of my free body wash and shampoo for that. I never get free conditioner b/c I won’t use it.

  • Scott Davis says:

    We sponsor a needy family in Louisiana through We send a box monthly (shipping is provided by various companies throughout the country) of non-perishable food and other necessities near the end of the month when food stamps have run out and often families do not have enough food to pull together a meal. Plus, food stamps do not cover toiletries. So, I keep our ‘adopted’ family in mind when I shop and it helps keep any surplus under control.

  • Those extra personal care items might also make great care package items for college students who are headed off this fall. Those are the kinds of expenses that can really add up for a college student!

  • Michelle says:

    I recommend making at list of the things you use most often and put a date next to each item for a couple of months this will give you an idea of how much you need and can help give you an idea of how much to stockpile. I usually do a 6 month stockpile, but I know a few people that do a year. As far as the excess I would definitely give it to charity. Currently all my excess goes to my local food pantry. I try to get them as many cheap or free items as I can. It takes a little bit of extra time, but it’s great to know I can help out even though I don’t have a lot of extra money in my budget.

  • faith says:

    Hi, I volunteer at nursing homes every week , personal care home, also when help cant wait. Check out the website I take the residents the things they need each week. 95% of them have no family and or friends. So they depend on me and I depend on my freebies along with my coupons for great sales. Also the freebies people donate to whenhelpcantwait that I take to the residents.

  • Jessica says:

    body wash now = hand soap at our house!

  • Lorrie says:

    I just went through my pantry and was able to take 5 grocery bags full of cleaning and personal care items to my sister. She is a single mom, her husband died 10 years ago, with 3 kids, 2 still at home. She works full time but has had her pay cut due to the economy. I know she was sooo thankful for the abundance and I felt great that I could help her out in some small way. I have also dropped off bags to friends who are stuggling. I leave the bag on their doorstep and leave a “love note” of encouargement. They never know who it is from and that is how I like it. I have been so blessed by God that I love to bless others also.

  • I’ve done a couple post on what to do with all your free shampoo and conditioner. You can check them out here:

    My favorite for shampoo is cleaning hairspray off the walls.

  • Jill Laborde says:

    When my daughter was in the hospital for a week, I had no soap, shampoo, feminine products, deodorant or anything. The hospital will come and bathe the child but provides nothing for the parent staying with them. My daughter was admitted through the ER so I was not prepared to stay. Since I started couponing a couple of months ago I have been collecting items to make basket that my daughter and I plan to deliver to the parents of children in the Hospital. Most of the products are free and my daughter is learning a valuable lesson. If anyone is interested in donating let me know we would love your help. Thanks,

  • robin says:

    I stay in touch with the counselors at my kids’ schools, and they know to call me when there’s a kid at school whose family is in need. I can help anonymously, keep the donations in the community, and I know I’m helping kids. It’s worked out really well for me.

  • Mchelle says:

    Don’t forget local pregnancy help centers. Diapers are always needed but they could probably use care packages for moms after they give birth that contain toilitries and sanitary products.

  • Julie says:

    Another place that is always in need of MANY things is your local Ronald McDonald house. I try to pack up a few boxes every year to drop off to them….a plate of fresh-baked cookies is always welcome too! 🙂

  • Gwen says:

    We were hoping to start buying small quantities of silver as insurance in a depression, but the economy hit us hard and that strategy isn’t possible right now. So we are stashing extra personal care items in case the economy totally tanks; we can use them to exchange for other goods we might need. We store them on a FIFO system so the items don’t “expire.” I only “buy” items with this purpose in mind if it’s something we already use and I pay .25 or less for them.

  • BobbiK says:

    Another tip for making any kind of gift basket with your stockpile:
    Instead of buying a basket that the person may or may not use, put the items in a reusable shopping bag. You can usually buy them for $1-$2 and are much sturdier than gift bags and encourage people to use less plastic bags. If you look around, after holidays, you can sometimes even find them 50% off in clearance bins!

  • Jessica Guerrero says:

    Easy. Donate it. There is no reason not to. If it’s free or a moneymaker I always get it if I am already going to the store because there is ALWAYS someone who can use it. I often donate shampoos, razors, body wash, etc to the food bank.
    There is no reason why we can’t get an item for FREE and donate it to a needy family.

  • Amy says:

    Our local fire stations collect items to make age-appropriate relief bags for families after they have had a fire. It is a great way to make a difference in the lives of people who have experienced trauma.

  • Stacie says:

    Our church has a ministry called Reveille that ministers to soldiers and their families. They send packages to soldiers overseas. They also and most specifically serve families of wounded soldiers that are staying at temporary housing associated with the Vets hospital nearby. It is surprising their needs, both physical and emotional – many of them far from home and loved ones and without much money to live on. Just another idea or option for toiletries.

  • Cari says:

    If I see something that is free after coupons and things, I will buy it…no matter what it is. Once a month, I take all of the things I won’t ever use to the local homeless shelter. It makes me feel good because I can’t afford to donate money, but I’m still contributing in a way.

  • Marianne Johnson says:

    You can check with your local social services office and see if there is a woman’s and children’s shelter in your area who would take them. This is a good thing to to around holidays, as well…..make little gift baskets with hygiene essentials. It’s a nice treat for someone who ends up in the shelter without any comforts of home. Also check with the hospitals in the area and see if they take that kind of stuff for people who end up staying with loved ones and who don’t come prepared.

  • Great ideas!
    I pull a donation pile once my stockpile starts getting too big. I also recently made a care package for a friend that just purchased their first house. Further, like you suggested, I purchase super cheap diapers (even though I finally don’t need them anymore) to save as baby gifts. Diapers, wipes, etc are more beneficial to a new mom than another cute outfit.

  • Laurie says:

    Our church makes kits for the homeless in our community, but because all of the donations will be carried with the people who receive it, they have to be in small sizes. So we donate all of our hotel sized toiletries and free shampoos (like last week’s free Pantene samples!) to fill those kits! They also are always looking for razors, small shampoos/conditioners, bars of soap, and toothbrushes. Perfect freebies from us couponing mommies!

  • Deanna says:

    Organization is key when stockpiling…that way you know exactly what you have and when it is time to STOP bringing those good deals into your home. 🙂 Here’s how I organize my stockpiled toiletries:

  • Jennifer says:

    We continually stockpile on many items throughout the year even though we do not need them personally for our home. We participate in Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child where you pack shoe boxes for children around the world. Because of my frugal shopping and stockpiling throughout the year, we can fill at least 10 boxes for around $3-$4 each. We also make sure that we are sending quality items, but it doesn’t hurt getting those quality items for free or nearly free!

    Here is the website for the program we participate in:

  • cathi carpenter says:

    Yeah, I do A LOT of donations. We have a St. Vincent DePaul organization at our church…And about every other month, I “purge” a little something. Recently, I did a MASS of disposable razors from WalMart, when my hubby informed that since HE’S been couponing now too and scored the Fusions….he ‘won’t ever shave with THOSE again…” hahaha! So, I bagged up what was like 12 bags of new razors and off they went. Same with Glass Plus a few months ago…. musta unloaded 10 bottles. I know alot of people, or so I have read, feel that some of us “stock pilers” are just feeding a “shopping need” and that “wouldn’t it be better to give $$”…well…I don’t have the time or energy to go into that battle with those short sited, obviously money rich folks, but…. I think that if God gave me the ability to sit and do this coupon thing, the ability and time to shop, then the least I can do is share it with some of the elderly that don’t have that as an option, and in a world of “do I eat/clean/wash or buy my MEDICATION…” well…I say to the nay-sayers….YOU do the math….

    As for shampoo…well….I have an 8 yr old boy…and weare still learning the elements of, um…..”PORTION CONTROL”…hahaha!

  • Guest says:

    I save extra soap, toothpaste, and toothbrushes for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Once a year our church sends food and household items to the NC Baptist Children’s Homes. It is so nice to be able to give the extras I could not afford to give if I paid regular prices.

  • sarah says:

    As a new bride myself, I was given a laundry basket full of laundry supplies, cleaning supplies, and household items. It was wonderful and such a blessing. It was one of the most practical gift I could have been given, and it saved my husband and I a lot of money right from the start. The same lady who gave me this basket is also teaching me about couponing which as been a blessing as well. I’m still new at it, but I have already saved a good amount of money on food. I look forward to learning more and saving more! 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    If I can get free or really cheap health and beauty items, I definitely pick up extras! I won’t make a special trip because time is money, but if I’m already there and have extra coupons I do. I used to garage sale all my excess and make hundreds of dollars, but now I donate to a local battered woman’s shelter that GREATLY appreciates it! Right now they are housing 46 women and children and rely solely on donations for that type of thing.

  • Two things I hadn’t seen mentioned were:
    – We have a disaster relief group at church. Those samples would come in very handy to a similar program, Red Cross, etc.
    – Check with your school supplies donation program. Our work is working with an organization in town that provides backpacks full of school supplies and toiletries for kids. Just a thought.

  • Alaine says:

    I have a lot of cousins graduating high school or in college right now, and as a h.s. graduation present, I always give them a little checklist that I made of items for a care package, and a stamped envelope addressed to me. That way, they can let me know what kind of snacks they like or if they are in need of shampoo, toothpaste, etc – all those extra toiletries are much appreciated by college students who usually don’t clip coupons or have a lot of time/money or the transportation to go out to the store! Anything free is great when you’re in college!

  • shannon says:

    If I can get something cheap or free that I cant use.. I get it. I will donate personal care things to the local woman’s shelter. I had a good friend that had to go there to escape her abusive husband during their divorce etc. They need all sorts of personal care items, and also things for children.
    When I see a free deal for food etc. I get it and toss it right in the food donation box at the front of the store. Sure it takes a little time to cut some coupons, but who cares, someone who really needs it is getting something wonderful. I grew up poor and on welfare, and I still get help from local food banks… I know what they get and what they are allowed to get etc. And Ive had it with peanut butter, and Im sure others are as well. If I have it.. I donate. People who give will never be poor!!

  • Lisa says:

    Since I buy things I don’t need to make a deal, I have been developing a list of places to donate things. My list includes: &, Food Pantry, Homeless Shelter (men/women/children) and a local middle school. The middle school likes getting feminine pads and glucose monitors. The nurse takes what she doesn’t need to county meetings with other school nurses and they are snapped up quickly. I am going to try checking with the local crisis pregnancy center to offer care packages. Thanks for the idea.

  • Samantha Franklin says:

    Some might find this strange but: We use our extra shampoos/conditioners for shaving our legs, lol. Odd? Maybe. But seriously, try it. I’ve found some conditioners work better as a shaving cream than as a hair product. And sometimes they work better than the shaving cream you would buy. I use a lot of those little samples of conditioner/shampoo for this. (My hair is picky and only likes certain shampoos/conditioners, lol.)

  • Cathi says:

    I use my stockpiled item as ‘stocking stuffers’. I make my niece a box for Xmas with a variety of items (like my Grandmother did for me) using lip balm, contact solution, hair items, etc. I will also give the men in the family the razors, body wash, etc that Ive stockpiled.

  • Lindsey says:

    I love to create care packages for friends of mine who are in college or live far away and would appreciate some free personal care and sometimes random items! Makes their day! 🙂

  • Shelley says:

    I have a nice size stock pile. I only buy a few same items at a time as not to clear shelves. There is always a need at church & my kids love to bring things in for others. I also have a 21 yr old daughter that lives with a roommate. She “shops” in my closet. The other day she left with a glade candle, tampons, shavers, shampoo & bodywash. Her roommate was here & asked what she was doing? My daughter replied “shopping”. “So you mean when you say you’ve been shopping you’ve really been to your mom’s closet?” she asked. “Yup” was the reply, with a big grin. I know she won’t go to get the deals–so they’re here for her. That way I don’t have to hand her money when she says she’s out of something & has no money left. I really want her to start couponing herself though. 🙂

  • Amanda says:

    My husband has twin sisters who are in college so I’m thinking for Christmas I’m going to make them each a toiletry basket as a gift. I have way more than enough stuff, so I’m thinking I’ll be able to give them each a set of shampoo/conditioner body wash, toothpaste, razors. They should love it. I also sent his dad home with a bog of the men’s stuff that was overflowing my bathroom a few months back.

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