Stockpiling: stock·pile  (stkpl)
A supply stored for future use, usually carefully accrued and maintained.
tr.v. stock·piledstock·pil·ingstock·piles
To accumulate and maintain a supply of for future use.

Stockpiling has many different uses. Maybe you're doing it for disaster purposes, or maybe you're doing it to have items on hand for your family. Whatever the reason, you want to have a plan for that stockpile. Use this guide to help you keep it under control and within reason.

Expiration Dates:
Expiration dates are very important. Some foods are edible far beyond the expiration date, and may taste just fine. The purpose of expiration dates is for the FDA to control the quality of the food the public puts into their bodies. You can do your own research to determine whether you will consume an item beyond its expiration date, or throw it out. Many items are good past the sell by date as well. Obviously, throw out any items that appear to be moldy, stale, opened, or have bugs in it.

When you are purchasing items, keep the expiration dates in mind. If you buy 50 of something that will go bad in a week, you better make sure you like that item a lot, or make sure your family will eat that much of it before it goes bad, otherwise its a waste of money. As you throw items away, consider what you paid for it and picture you're throwing money away! Who would do that?!

When you keep a stockpile, you'll want to keep it organized and maintained in order to get the most use out of the items. What good is it to have a pile o' stuff that you A. have no idea what's there and B. find stuff that's gone bad (wasted money)? You'll want to keep track of what you have and the expiration dates of those items and make sure you use those items before they expire or within the range of expiration for the sell by date. You can do this by rotating items just as you would rotate items in your cabinets at home. Put the items that expire first in front, and the items that expire last in back....voila! You'll find yourself wasting less and getting the most from your stockpile.

How much do I stockpile?
This is a largely unanswerable question. The answer to the question lies in several areas of your life and lifestyle. You need to ask yourself many questions:
1. How large is my family?
2. How much does my family eat?
3. Will my family eat 100 of this same exact item?
4. What's my budget?
5. Based on expiration dates how much can I realistically stockpile to create less waste?
6. If something were to happen, how long do I need items to survive?

The size of each person's stockpile will vary. If you have 2 people in your household you probably won't need a large stockpile. A household of 10 will need a very large stockpile. It simply varies based on size of household, availability of space, and your budget.

Stockpiling VS Hoarding?!
Yes, stockpiling has been hailed, by some, as "hoarding". There's a huge and debatable difference here, but I will tell you my rules, and you may create your own. First, even in the definition of stockpiling it says: "usually carefully accrued and maintained." This is how *most* stockpiles are. I believe its fine to stockpile many items if:
1. You are not affected your family or taking over their personal space. Once it goes into someone's personal space, its gone too far.
2. You are using "appropriate space for appropriate items".
3. No one in your family is upset over your stockpile.
4. Only stockpile many items if it is useful, useable, and causes no negativity in your household.

Allow me to clarify "appropriate space for appropriate items". The answers to these questions will be largely based on your own personal opinions of what is "appropriate". I feel it is appropriate to store 30 bottles of laundry detergent above my washer and dryer. 1. It goes where it is used. 2. It isn't bothering anyone. 3. Its out of the way. I store bathroom stockpile items in the bathroom, when the cabinet is full, I stop buying. I store extra food in my extra cabinet space in the kitchen. All other items that cannot fit in my spaces go in the garage on a single shelving unit that my husband and I agreed upon that did not affect his working space. You can bet you booty that if I go out of that space, he asks me to reorganize too!!

You might have several out of the way unused spaces you can put your items. There might be a spot in your closet, under your bed, or any other usable space that does not bother your family. I do not advocate nor do I store anything in my daughters room. That is her space, and her space alone. Your opinion may differ, and that's okay! It might be a good idea to ask your child "Does it bother you if I keep boxes of body wash/toilet paper/toothpaste under your bed?" If your child agrees, then by all means use the space! The point is, you don't want your stockpile to get so huge or out of control that it does turn into hoarding.

Hoarding is largely unorganized, unusable items that have no worth or value. Ok....maybe some items have worth or value, I mean we've all seen Antiques Roadshow or Pickers, but unless you're actually actively selling items, its probably not a good idea! I feel that when it becomes an emotional issue, then it becomes a problem. Hey, I'm proud of my stockpile, because I saved a ton of money, but I don't cry over it. There is also no underlying reason I'm doing it, I'm only doing it to be able to spend money on other items my family actually wants. If my stockpile caught fire, I would just start over. I have no personal or emotional attachment to any of my items. Its "just stuff" to me.

Organization is key!
If you keep your stockpile organized, you will know what's there and be able to get the most use out of it! I'm certainly guilty of not having a *perfectly* organized and beautiful stockpile at times. Sometimes I do go in there find 25 things I forgot about!! You can avoid this by having categories and knowing where your items are.