Coupon Lady: Organizing your stockpile

Being organized in your grocery and household stockpiles will make bargain hunting easier.

One of my favorite things about spring is spring cleaning.


It represents getting rid of all the clutter in our lives and allows us to make room for what lies ahead.

Growing up, I lived next to my grandparents’ farm. Every summer vacation, my brother and I would stay with them during the day while our parents worked. We would always start our summer vacation helping my grandmother clean, organize and get ready for the canning season ahead. I recall the smell of the Murphy’s Wood Soap that we used to scrub the wall paneling and furniture.

While you are doing your spring cleaning this year, you might want to consider organizing your grocery and household stockpiles. By keeping similar things together, you can quickly see what bargains you need to focus on and what bargains you might want to skip.

For example, the last time jars of peanut butter went on sale I still had eight in my cupboard. I decided to skip the sale and wait to purchase it when the next sales cycle occurs 12 weeks later. I’m confident that my stockpile will see us through to the next sale since we use a jar every three weeks. Why waste money on something you don’t need?

By having similar items together, you can make sure nothing goes to waste. Remember, follow the FIFO (first in, first out) method, but also make sure you account for expiration dates before you purchase items for your stockpile. This will ensure that you will have plenty of time to use it before it expires. When I first began stockpiling, I came upon a really great cereal deal and ended up getting cereal for 70 cents a box. I went a little crazy and overbought. When I got home, I read the expiration dates and discovered that all the cereals expired in four months, so I had to use them immediately. I ended up giving about half of it away before it expired. Now, I use a magic marker to write the expiration date on the front of the item to easily see it.

I use plastic see-through shoeboxes for all our personal and hygiene items. I have one shoebox dedicated to toothbrushes and toothpastes, soaps, deodorants, etc. If I discover the box is getting down to the last item, it’s time to start looking for a deal. The shoeboxes stack wonderfully and easily fit under bathroom cabinets. For larger items, such as shampoos, conditioners, body washes and lotions, you might want to consider buying small stacking containers. I have had success with containers found at dollar stores or during back-to-school clearance sales. If you have a linen closet near your bathroom area, then use kitchen drawer dividers to easily move items in and out.

Paper products can be bulky. I use a coat closet to store anything that doesn’t fit in a bathroom or kitchen area, but any free space in a closet will do. My kitchen is a challenge because it is a bit smaller. To overcome space issues, I discovered a pantry cabinet on Freecycle. Our canned goods go in it. I also use over-the-door shoe organizers to hold small bags and boxes such as rice, puddings, granola bars and bottles of cleaners. I have one in the pantry and one on the laundry room door.

Many of my readers have seen pictures of extreme couponers putting their stockpiles in their garages. Please, resist the temptation! Garages are not air-conditioned, exposing items to higher temperatures that make both food items and cleaners break down before their expiration dates. Warmer temperatures can also cause plastic bottles to leach harmful chemicals into juices, water and soda. Food storage in garages also attracts insects and rodents.

A super couponer doesn’t need to have a room or garage that looks like a mini grocery store. You’ll be surprised at how little space you really need if you keep it organized. Until next time, happy shopping!



Shopgirl: Facebook competing with eBay, Craigslist

Facebook is trying to get into the eBay/Craigslist selling game, with a new feature called Marketplace. It works off of your... Read more

Shopgirl: Google might have answer for carpool app

An anonymous source within Google told the Wall Street Journal last week that Google will be releasing... Read more

Shopgirl: iPhone rumors

It’s fun to read iPhone rumors and imagine what the magic makers at Apple could have for us next – and the latest... Read more

Shopgirl: App zaps need for mosquito repellant

OK, this is pretty cool: we’ve all woken up with legs full of mosquito bites and sworn never to go outside again, but with this new app Anti... Read more