Taking Inventory of my Stockpile

I've mentioned my stockpile many times in the past, but today I'm really thinking about it. We have a storm heading our way, and predictions are that roads will be closed, supermarkets will be either closed or empty due to lack of delivery, and everyone has been panicking, making sure that they have enough food and equipment to ride out the storm safely.
Me? I'm sitting here pretty comfortable in the knowledge that, should roads be closed and we're trapped at home, our family has more than enough food to last through the storm... and far beyond.

Because of my amazing stockpile!

Now- what exactly is a stockpile? It means that I have a lot of food in storage, mostly non perishable foods (though some would call what I have in my freezer my stockpile, but I don't really)- 333 lbs of dry goods and 20.5 gallons of liquids, to be exact. (At least as of December 31st, when I took inventory.)

Yup, that is a whole lot of food.

What exactly is the purpose of storing so much food in the house at one time? Especially if I have such a small home (we're living in 484 square feet with our family of 6)?
Well, in short, because it makes my life easier, and saves me money.

I don't need to panic about running out of food in an emergency like everyone else around me seems to be doing- we have enough food to get through any emergency, whether the emergency is a snow storm or a war, or even more personal emergencies, like being extremely short on cash and not having money for groceries, or being housebound for whatever other reason (like if I or a kid is sick).

But other than the whole emergency preparedness issue, there's the big money saving reason.

I don't like spending money that I don't have to. I like to spend as little on my groceries as possible, while still getting the foods that I enjoy. To do this, I try my best to rarely ever pay retail price for groceries. My groceries are generally a mix of bulk purchases from special stores/sources and standard groceries bought on sale (ideally great sales) from nearby supermarkets. Of my 333 lbs and 20.5 gallons of groceries, "only" 295 lbs of it is left of my bulk purchases.
What I do, generally, is when I hear of or see a great sale at the grocery store, I try to buy many of them, enough to last a while- at least until the next great sale- and then store them in my stockpile. I don't purchase each item as I need it, because that would put my grocery budget at the whim of the constantly changing grocery prices, and I'd end up purchasing many of the things I need at or above retail prices, and I try to never pay retail. By having things in my stockpile, and buying them cheaply, I am able to take full advantage of sale prices always... or at least as often as possible.
Additionally, there are some sales that don't happen regularly- they are special one time sales, for whatever reason (like locally, gluten free processed food items are currently on extreme sale in response to certain protests), so I am stocking up on as much of them as I can, because I don't know if I will ever see these prices again.

However... big stockpiles don't help you save money if you can't keep track of what is in your stockpile, and therefore run out of something and need to go to the store to buy it when you need it.... or think you ran out of something and buy it at full price, only to discover later that you already had the item at home, and you just bought more at a higher price because you couldn't find what you needed... as happened recently with my short grain rice and craisins. (Actually, I found the rice before I went and bought more, but didn't manage to do that with the craisins.)

So, in an effort to be more on top of things, and to not end up spending extra money because of my lack or organization, I decided to take inventory of my stockpile (while at the same time organizing it) so I can see exactly what I have and what I'm lacking, so that I can be on top of keeping it fully stocked at super low prices.

So, here's what I found in my stockpile: (* indicate the item was bought in bulk, and this is what is left)
(This excludes the things in my cabinet, currently being used. This is just the excess stores.)

15 lbs/packages of gluten free corn pasta (Sam's Mill, non GMO)- which at the price I bought it, works out cheaper than my homemade gluten free buckwheat pasta, not to mention being a lot less work... This is our staple gluten free pasta.
I also have 3.75 lbs brown rice pasta (a cheapo company that doesn't taste so great cooked, but works fine fried into a snack)
11 lb gluten free crackers (bought on an incredible sale)
2.3 lb rice cakes (30 little packages of 6)
1.1 lb kasha
8.8 lb popcorn
1.1 lb corn meal
6.6 lb risotto rice
2.2 lb brown risotto rice
6.6 lb white rice
2.2 lb Basmati rice
6.6 lb long grain brown rice
11 lb millet*
46.2 lb green buckwheat*
33 lb mashed potato flakes *
157.5 lbs total starches
67.3 lbs not bulk
90.2 lbs bulk

6 lbs green lentils
5.5 lbs split peas
1.1 lb yellow peas
3.3 lb broad beans
3.3 lb red lentils
1.1 lb kidney beans
2.2 lb tiny white beans
2.2 lb lg white beans
34.4 lbs total legumes
I noticed that I was missing chickpeas! I quickly remedied that and bought a few lbs when I was at the store Monday... but hopefully will be able to stock up and buy a lot next time I see them at a great price, because I just paid low retail price for this staple.

Nuts, seeds, etc...

1.75 lbs dried coconut
.88 lb sesame seeds
5.5 lb whole tahini
2.2 lbs flax seeds
22 lb sunflower seeds*
32.34 lb total nuts/seeds 
10.34 lbs not bulk 
22 lbs bulk 

4.4 lb jaggery blocks (which I turn into syrup)
6.6 lb honey 6.6 lb white sugar
16.5 lbs coconut sugar*
34.1 lbs total sweeteners 
16.5 lbs bulk 
17.6 lbs not bulk 

8.8 lb coarse salt
2.2 lb table salt
18.92 lb Himalayan pink salt hunk*
29.92 lbs salt total 
11 lb not bulk
18.92 lbs bulk 

Canned Fish
7 cans tuna in water
14 tuna in oil
3 cans sardines
9.41 lbs (93 cans) anchovies (I got these free. I'm not THAT big of a fan.)
17.72 lbs canned fish
I rely on sardines a lot as my go to meals when out and about, and don't want only three cans at home... so i remedied that by buying a whole bunch more on sale the last time was at the grocery store.

Canned Produce
.88 lb canned mushrooms
1.28 lbs canned tomato paste
9.02 lbs canned peas
4.49 lbs grape/vine leaves (got free)
14.52 pickled mixed veggies (got free)
1.1 lb canned hot peppers
31.29 lbs canned produce
I use tomato paste a lot, so I remedied this shortage last grocery shop. Not a sale price; still looking for a good source of cheap tomato paste.

Dried Fruit
2.2 lb date paste
6.6 lb dates*
1.32 lbs craisins (refined sugar free)
10.12 lbs total dried fruit

.78 gallon coconut milk (I rarely buy this ready made- I usually make it myself- but it was on extreme
.117 gallon gluten free soy sauce
.78 gallons lemon juice
1.5 gallons grape juice (bought cheaply from the scratch and dent store)
1.75 gallons red wine (bought cheaply from the scratch and dent store)
1.56 gallons white wine (bought cheaply from the scratch and dent store)
1.04 gallons sunflower oil
1.17 gallons olive oil
10.5 gallons coconut oil*
1.3 gallon palm oil*
14.01 gallons total oil 
3.31 gallons total wine 
3.18 gallons other liquids 
20.5 gallons liquids total 

Powders, etc...
.5 lb pectin
.12 lb gelatin
.06 lb agar flakes
.68 lbs total powders

Hot Drinks
.55 lb coffee
.16 lbs (75 packets) tea bags
 .72 lbs total hot drink

.15 lb marshmallows
4.4 lb gluten free pretzels  (bought on an incredible sale... and gluten free pretzels is one thing I haven't figured out yet how to make myself)
4.71 lbs packaged treats

For a grand total of 333 lbs, and 20.5 gallons! 

I am keeping this inventory of my stockpile on Google drive so that it is easily accessible and I won't lose it.

(I also have some bulk packages of spices, baking powder, baking soda, etc... but no, I didn't include them in this inventory...)

And now pics of my stockpile: (I can't get it all in one pic since it is in the hallway, so I can't move far back enough to get the whole thing in one picture.)

Top shelf- left.

Top shelf- right.

Main shelving portion.

Bottom- middle

Bottom- right

Bottom- far right.

I also have about 10 bottles hiding under a bookshelf over to the side, un-shown.

Yup, I think its enough food to last us through a storm or any emergency.

And from a financial perspective... should money be tight one month and we can't afford to go to the grocery store- just by foraging for veggies and using what we have in the stockpile, we can go at least a few weeks without grocery shopping whatsoever....

If you're wondering how I can possibly stockpile if I live in a small apartment- we store our stockpile all in the hallway on narrow shelves. Yes, it means sacrificing a little, and not having a wider, more comfortable hallway, but it saves so much money that it is a worthwhile sacrifice for us.

Do you have a stockpile? What types of things are in it? What do you think are the biggest benefits of having a stockpile for you? What are your "rules" that you use when deciding to add something to your stockpile or not? How long would you be able to survive on your stockpile in an emergency?
Do you take inventory of your stockpile? How do you keep track of it?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. wow! way to go! looks like u have really taken advantage of sales and been creative with storage. here is my question: i totally "get" the advantage of a stockpile and want one, but i cant seem to have extra money to buy more when something is on sale. i try to shop very frugally, menu plan, make my own things, eat meatless, but still seem to never have extra room in my grocery budget to stock up. what kind of tips do you have for this? is there something obvious i should be doing?

    1. Oh- trust me, I know exactly what you're talking about. I was in that exact position! Here's a blog post I wrote about bulk buying with no extra money- http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2011/12/bulk-buying-with-no-extra-money.html

    2. thanks. i checked it out.

  2. any suggestions of how to dress up sardines? I have a bunch of cans in water but seem to only like sardines in oil :(

    1. It's funny for me that you ask that, because I can get sardines in oil easily, but I prefer the ones in water by far, and those are harder to find, so when i find them i stock up...
      http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2012/01/sardinetuna-casserole-recipe-gluten.html Here's one recipe for them. But I often just stick them in a sandwich, or top with some lemon juice and salt and eat it that way.

    2. My own two cents - I often make sardine patties from canned sardines. Mashed sardines, some cornmeal/breadcrumbs, an egg, spices (usually parsley, dill, salt, pepper, garlic), sometimes a grated onion, form into patties and fry. I make a big batch of the mixture and then freeze a lot of them raw and take them out as needed. My toddler loves them.

  3. I love the pictures! Take lots more...I want to see the hallway shelving so I can get some ideas! Do you do anything special to store everything in such a small space to prevent pests? For the first time I had rice weevils, I'm guessing they came with the rice and hatched out. I don't know how to store larger amounts of products...

    Where do you keep your washer

  4. I started my stockpile 40 years ago with 6 extra cans of tomato sauce. Every month I would try to buy extra canned goods that were on sale. Then we started gardening and I canned and froze home-grown vegetables. Now I have a great stockpile, but it began small.

  5. Hi,

    Do you have any websites that you suggest for buying grains and oils in bulk that are international shipping friendly? I'm an American expat living in the Middle East and have yet to try and make such a purchase. Thanks!

    1. Sorry, I don't know of any. But a friend looks up the phone number on the back of packaged items, and calls up the distributors and asks them about buying bulk that way- she has success some times, but not all. Its worth a try. Its something I want to try doing.

  6. How do you keep your kids from getting into your stock pile and wasting food? I had a toddler spill a whole bottle of oil from a pantry with a closed door recently, and he always seems to help himself to cereals and whatever else he can reach. And you have glass bottles sitting right on the floor!

    1. My older kids know not to play with the stockpile, and for the baby, we have a baby gate, as this stuff is upstairs where we don't want her going anyhow unsupervised.

    2. My kids do help themselves to foods and sometimes make messes- but with stuff from the fridge, not the stockpile. :-D

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