Sunday, February 7, 2010

Some more on stockpiling

My husband and I are both recovering from a nasty cold, so I hope you bear with me while my thoughts run a bit incoherent today.

Following my stockpiling post, one reader commented that she would like to stockpile but doesn't have the space. Many people, including myself, have a problem with storage space. We live in a tiny two-bedroom house, and my kitchen is just a small area where we managed to squeeze a refrigerator, a portable gas stove and a toaster oven. I barely have room for the bare essentials in my kitchen, let alone keeping a stockpile. I don't have a pantry either.

Read here about creative solutions for stockpile storage. Personally, we keep our stockpile in a cabinet in Shira's bedroom. The cabinet is soon going to be removed, and we'll have a closet installed in its stead – much more effective, storage space-wise. Then, our stockpile will be moved to the closet. An unorthodox solution, but it will have to do until we have a nice big kitchen with lots of cabinets.

Our stockpile was not created deliberately, it just grew; most often, my husband would see something on sale, and buy several items instead of just one for immediate use. There's often something at a good price that can be stored for a long time – canned vegetables, pasta, rice, non-perishables such as shampoo and toilet paper. I must admit that back then, I felt a little pang in my heart whenever I saw the grocery bill, thinking to myself that here are things we could do without, taking up storage space. Time proved that I was wrong.

I was always of the philosophy that buying something you didn't plan to buy was still spending money, even if the price is very good. It is indeed a fine line between stockpiling wisely and becoming a pack rat. Unhealthy foods, snacks loaded with salt and sugar, are never a good deal even if they happen to be very cheap. And luxury items won't help you stretch your budget, no matter how you look at it.

Yes, it's true that we bought more than we needed at the moment, but back then, we could spare the extra cash. I was very glad we did when time came to cutting back costs as much as we could (even though we always did our best to live frugally).

All over the world, people are struggling with the results of a major recession. People who didn't imagine it would ever come to that, now have to think twice before buying a pack of beans or some canned tuna. I know it's unpleasant to think about such possibilities, but it may happen. Being well stocked up on the essentials makes the tough times pass more easily.


Star said...

I remember, when our boys were small, we used to do a monthly shop. Somehow I found room for it all, don't ask me how or where, but we did. Then as they grew, we did a fortnightly shop. Eventually I got it down to a weekly shop because they just ate so much I didn't have room to store more than a week's worth. It is a comforting thought to know that you have plenty in the cupboard but eventually it will run out, whatever you do.
Blessings, Star

Lanita said...

We have been stock piling for awhile now. Soon we hope to have a garden large enough where we will be able to can or dehydrate enough fruits and vegetables so we will no longer have to buy them from the store. But for now we buy in bulk. Another good place to store a stock pile is under beds or put a storage shed in your yard. We have a spare room in our home that we use for our storage, as well as under our bed.

Kat said...

Anna? I am sure that you have mentioned this before and I have just forgotten...but do you use cloth diapers? I am thinking that this may be a good way to practice frugality with our future children.

Cinnamon said...

I never meant to 'stock-pile'. I grew up in a large family in which my father was paid a modest salary once a month. Needless to say, my mother had shopping to a science, with a freezer in the front porch and root cellar in the basement to store bushels of home-grown potatoes and carrots, as well as the chickens in the coop. Once father went in with other teachers and divied up a moose. (Blecch. Requires a lot of A-1 Sauce!). My husband grew up in a town and environment where his mother went shopping every day for fresh vegetables and fish, and often made fun of me for extra cans and packages of dried grain, although I buy rice by the 25-50 lb bag. The only foods tossed due to spoilage are fresh vegetables, as I never got into a habit of preparing the same meal more than once, so large salads sometimes deteriorate before consumption. Plus, the habit of stocking up works out well when my church or community asks for food donations. I don't mind parting with items purchased in bulk for a 'good price'.

Now, I have a question. You mention that you have only a gas stove and toaster oven for cooking. Did you cook the delicious pastry in the toaster oven, then crisp it in a pan on the stove? Or, did you steam it, and finish it in the toaster oven? I'm down to an electric stovetop, microwave oven, and hibachi grill for the time being while a new electric/gas oven is installed, and wonder about putting finishing touches on casserole dishes and cinnamon rolls. So far, I've circumvented the home-made breads by making breadsticks and rolls proofed and baked for the most part in the microwave, and browned on a skillet on the stove. My neighbor gave me a recipe for Linzertorte and I'm thinking of low, longer microwave cooking than what she says she used for her oven. Any suggestions? (I thought I would be quite bereft without use of my large oven, but have gotten used to baking less foods, and just browning on the stove.)

Kristin-Homemaker@Heart said...

Our pantry is currently in our coat closet. Before it was an old books shelf. You're right, one has to make do!

Have a great rest of your evening.

Rachel said...

People waste a HUGE amount of space. Under beds, couches, in closets. Shoot, you can put another shelf at the top of most American closets, and have ANOTHER shelf of space.

We took two brand new trash cans, and put sealed up packages of food into them, put a wood round table top on them, covered them with a bed sheet that matched our curtains, a topper, and a lamp, and voila, an end table. You'd be surprised at where you can fit things, and how much you can fit there!

Of course, as Americans we take a good deal for granted, but one of the things we (DH and I) looked for in a new home, when retiring from the military, was a home with PLENTY of storage space. As it turned out, we turned an entire 300 sq ft room into pantry/storage space. Let me tell you, that is wonderrrfuullll.

((HUGS)) on the struggles, Anna. We had to do something similar right after we got out here, living on our stockpiled surplus, and the gifts of nature (venison, etc).

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Anonymous said...

This is an excellent, informative post. I am surprised at the number of people who seem oblivious to what lies ahead and take no measures whatsoever to make provisions. It is not as expensive as people think. Even spending an extra $5-10 a week on canned goods or storable grains makes a huge impact on ones stockpile. Not enough space? Bedroom closets, basements, spare dresser drawers, there are many creative ways to store items. Last fall, my local grocery store had a great sale on canned vegetables and I took great advantage of it. I am so glad that I did, because with the ongoing recession, these items will be prized commodities!