DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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25 September 2012

Keeping a stockpile

Even though I haven't written about our stockpile for a long time, it is still sustaining us. During our busy period with the book and Hanno's accident, we couldn't have done without it. No matter what stage or age you're at, whether single or married, having a stockpile will save you money and time. Of course the size of the stockpile will vary according to how many people live in your home. A friend of mine lives alone but she has a small stockpile of those things she can't do without - tea, coffee, baked beans, tinned salmon, sugar, honey, oats, flour, rice, toilet paper, toothpaste and soap. She buys milk, meat, fish, fruit and vegetables on a daily basis on the way home from work, but if she gets caught out through overwork and tiredness, or she's sick, she can leave the daily shop alone and still keep going on what she has in her home cupboard.

Our stockpile is in a cupboard in the kitchen, it's not the same cupboard we use as a pantry. The pantry contains the food we are using now and is usually stored in containers, the stockpile is all unopened.




We shop at Aldi for most things and the IGA and markets for the rest. I've just taken these photos of our current stockpile and it's looking healthy. This is because we ran it down a bit in the past few months and have just built it up again. It can sit nicely in our cupboard and although we don't have things like biscuits, crackers, cakes, muffins, sauces, mayonnaise, salad dressings, pasta and soft drinks in the cupboard, we have the ingredients to make a wide variety of those things.

Some of the soap and laundry products I made up last week. Below is my stockpile of laundry liquid and soap ingredients.

Of course, it's not only food we stockpile. We have ingredients to make laundry liquid, soap and a variety of vinegar and bicarb cleaners. You can buy these ingredients when you think of them and have enough to keep you going for almost a year. They won't go off and they don't take up much room, unlike the commercial liquids you buy.

We also have a stockpile of meat, chicken and fish in the freezer. I guesstimate that in the case of illness, being low on cash or wanting to use the cash for other purposes, we could live here using the stockpile for about six months. That stockpile would keep us going and we could supplement the stockpile using the eggs, vegetables and a small amount of fruit in the backyard.

Everyone sets up their own stockpile in the way that suits their own family circumstances. Whether you're part of a large family and use your stockpile and bulk buys to assist your frugal lifestyle or if you're a single fellow, with not much time to spare, stockpiling will serve you well. Along with budgeting, it's the first thing I recommend to people when they ask me what they can do to start living a sustainable, simple life. It's also a wise move if you know, or suspect you or your partner might lose a job. If that happens, get right back to basics. Find your tried and true recipes for things like salmon patties, meatloaf, pasta bake, fried rice, boiled egg salad and vegetable omelette, as well as a wide variety of soups and stews. They and your stockpile will keep you going through tough times and when you come out the other side, you can keep these strategies going to help save money to pay off debt and the mortgage.

44 comments:

  1. Your post made me laugh because I've just started a challenge to see how long I can live from my stock pile...!

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  2. A timely reminder! I have not been paying attention to stockpiling per se for a while but we buy our meats monthly so always have that on the freezer. I also have a good stock of cleaning items like the raw materials for cleaning liquids etc. it's the pantry cupboards which need basics stocked again as we have open bags of most items useful for making into something edible, but once those are done its done! Thanks for the nudge!

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  3. Just a practical advice.
    Thanks!

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  4. Rhonda if I may I would like to share about stock piling things like water. Last weekend we lost water and had no supply for three days. I found the tank water was not suitable for drinking but did well for keeping the loo flushed. I had a stock of drinking water too. I had not been as diligent as I could have been about the dates but luckily there was enough to see us through.

    Needless to say the old water was used and will be replaced and the tank emptied and waiting for the rain to come.

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    1. I agree Suze, water is a very important element. We have two rainwater tanks and a small supply of bottled water.

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    2. we keep bottles of water at the bottom of our chest freezer (everything else goes on top). normally our freezer would only be half full anyway, this way we have water on hand, we dont strain our back digging out items at the bottom, if there is a power shortage our freezer items will stay frozen for longer, and because its full the freezer uses less electricity :)

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  5. I totally agree about the stockpile. I especially love not having to go to the store if I don't feel like it... or being able to stay home and enjoy the snow during a big blizzard instead of having to battle the elements because I must go buy food.

    I do have a question for you though. Do you have a system for rotating the stock and/or keeping track of what you have? I'm famous for going out and buying something, only to discover that I already have 3 stockpiled at home. And I'm a little bit afraid of what might be lurking at the bottom of the chest freezer! Any suggestions?

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    1. Great question! Are you a member of the forum? I'll ask our organisation specialist, Becci, if she'll start up a thread about this subject and we'll get ideas from many of the members.

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    2. I've just spring cleaned the pantry, haven't got to stockpile as yet but cleared out, discovered I had at least four packets of pearl barley?! I have gone to the extent of writing out everything on each shelf as I know there are times I would like to cook something but can't find an ingredient even though I know it's in there somewhere! It's working really well. Had the idea of using whiteboard marker to do same with freezers but not sure, the paper version has already failed there....

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    3. Gosh... I thought this WAS the forum! I gave it a quick look and promptly got overwhelmed. Which section should I look in for Becci's thread?

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    4. LOL. There is a LOT of info there. Becci will do something next week and it will be in the Working in your Home section - sub-section: Decluttering, Organisation and Routines.

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    5. On the not knowing things are in your stockpile, we have a shelf for each kind of thing, so he have a shlef for baking goods, condiments, pasta, canned goods etc. That way I know what we have. I have to redo ours as hubby lost his job in the qld gov job cuts and we spent last month eating out of our stockpile due an awesome power bill from winter, so glad I started it years ago and proved to hubby how important it is for us to have. If it was just him and myself it wouldn't be a problem but we have 5 kids as well. Favourite meals and easy ones kept us sustained last month!

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  6. Hi Rhonda,
    thanks for the great reminder. I let my stockpile go as we have very limited storage space. I've just been through the busiest peiod of my work year, and was very annoyed with myself when I found I needed to waste time and petrol because key ingredients were missing for making dinner. So I'll be sorting out my stockpile this week.
    I also want to stockpile water in case of some sort of emergency, and realise I should store quite a bit as the dogs need a lot.
    Have a great day, Madeleine

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  7. Thank You for the timely reminder: the weather is turning cooler here in the U.S.as Fall has arrived..I keep a binder of my recipes and sort them by seasons..I have been looking the recipes over to make sure the stockpile has all the ingredients to make those foods, including spices etc......soups,main dishes, side dishes etc...We chose years ago to buy Canned Meats ( Amish Canned Meats) like beef, turkey, pork..a can of these meats( 28 ounces for $6.28) makes two meals for my husband and I...also in an emergency ... they are all ready cooked( during canning process) and the meats can be used right out of can and takes very little to warm them..say on a gas grill or whatever emergency heat source you have in place..~~HUGS~~

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  8. Good idea I always have lots of small cans with single serves for days when I am very busy or don't feel like cooking.
    Merle...

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  9. What a great idea and your post was quite timely. My daughter started an stockpile in case of an emergency some time ago and, only this past week, I was saying to my sons that I was going to start a stockpile too.

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  10. I second this! I have always keep a stockpile, even when I was single in a teeny, tiny appartment. Hard times hit our household, including unemployment but some labor board wages so we kept afloat. Fast forward, and eventually we were down to one wage earner.50% drop in income wasn't easy. The stockpile certainy was a blessing.




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  11. Good morning Rhonda thanks for sharing the stockpile with us. A bit off topic but the chef on the TV show The living Room
    Made a great gelato in minutes last week, the recipe is on the show's website. It could be stockpiled in the freezer. Also would love to see some pics of the things Tricia has made for her grandchild, I have loved her work when you have shown it before.. I suppose Hanno is at the boring part of his recovery now, best regards to you both.

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    1. I'll see what I can do, Madge. She's currently putting in a lot of work on a beautiful baby's quilt.

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  12. Oh I was raised by a Dad who with his Mom lived through the great depression and all my family prides itself on the stockpile. It is so true you never know what may happen. Great post. B

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  13. I just love seeing your stock pile, and I love dreaming about having one. I am hoping that in a few years there will only be my hubby and I here in this tiny house so I can create some storage space, I only have a small cupboard that we eat out of, and there is literally nowhere to put another cupboard to store things. I have just recently lost my chest freezer and am hoping to replace it in the next few months and at least can go back to stocking up on frozen items and left overs

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  14. We have an emergency kit of 3 days food, water and esstentials (radio, torch etc) which came in handy during the christchurch earthquakes. We have a huge freezer and usually have it well stocked, its taken us 7 weeks to eat our way through it in preperation for moving out so our earthquake damage can be fixed.
    It does make me feel nervous having so few supplies in the house now tho!

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  15. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Mormons in relation to this post. Mormons believe that having a stockpile of stored food is a major part of self reliance, and to that end the US and Canada is dotted with home storage centers. The Church subsidizes the food, so you can get a lot of the basics for really cheap. Anyone can go and buy stuff; you don't have to be Mormon.

    Last month, my family bought 525 lb of wheat from them. It only cost us $240 US!

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  16. I find it amazing that so many people still don't understand the benefit of buying in larger quantities! Now that I have an awesome walk in pantry, I have been able to keep more on hand than ever before, although it is still a work in progress. It certainly makes a difference to the weekly shopping bills when all I need to buy are mainly the perishables. Certainly helps in those weeks when there are unexpected bills and you could do with a little extra money saved off the groceries!

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  17. I spy my marmalade Rhonda.....you really must eat it....it's lovely on some homebaked toast with real butter :)

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    1. You see it because it's at the front now and will be the next one open. They all have to wait their turn. :- ) And it will be eaten that way, always.

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    2. hahaha! I love it. If you look at that top photo, I just walked out and moved you up a shelf and you're now in between the sauerkraut and the capers. "July 2011 oranges and lemons" :- )

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    3. It's finished now. Delicious!

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  18. I love your stockpile and this article. I agree that everyone should have one. You just never know what might happen. So happy your husband is doing well. How are you recovering? Quite a scare for you, I'm sure.

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  19. Rhonda, you are so right... our stockpile has quite literally saved us a bundle of money and HOURS and HOURS time. Off the top of my head, there have been several major life events over the past few years that turned us to 100% our stockpile for help (a temporary but unexpected month of no work, major illness going through our large family for 6 weeks, selling our house and renovating the new one before we moved in (no time to shop!), my husband's back injury where he was laid up for many weeks, my own bout with pneumonia which took months for me to fully recover from, a son's mysterious illness/condition that took many weeks of appts. and hospital visits to sort out). I could go on, but in each of those trying times, it was a HUGE help to have healthy food on hand to feed the family with. We may have done without some fresh items for a while, but we always had frozen veggies and fruit to round out the diet.

    The other benefit of a stockpile (aside from time and money savings & peace of mind), is the ability to provide hospitality at the drop of a hat. Unexpected guests, whether for a meal or for a week, is simply NOT a problem when you have a stockpile. An extra bit of food can be easily added to the meal(s) with no special shopping or preparation. It is always a good feeling to be able to spontaneously invite someone to share a meal and have enough on hand to easily accommodate them.

    Great post and as always, wise advice for us all :)

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  20. Rhonda,

    We have a small stockpile....I would love if you could post your necessities list. Do you buy extra's everyweek..or when there is a good sale?

    ~~Renee

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    1. I have no time for this today, Renee. I'll come back to it soon.

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  21. Hi.
    Om a swedish girl at age 35.
    Love your blog! I have the same thoughts! Begin to blog in English today!
    Our stockpile is just now: tea,coffee,toiletpaper,catfood,tomatoes in cans? And eggs.
    See ya! :)

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  22. Hi Rhonda.

    I love my stockpile, however,not all of it would last 6 months as my flour etc only lasts just over 1 month due to space.
    If you have a stockpile then you don't shop so often and you don't get tempted to spend money at the supermarkets when you haven't got money to spare.

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  23. Our pantry looks similar , Rhonda... although I don't think we would call it a stockpile as it just feels normal. I think that might be because our families have always lived on farms and we do as well, it must have always been a natural thing to have a pantry stocked like this because we were more isolated. Now we do have shops nearby but habit has kept my pantry like this.It is a great feeling having that stockpile , there is certainly a feeling of security about it that is better than money in the bank.
    We tend to cycle things over and never ever run out of tinned tomatoes - I am sure if there was an emergency we would be really sick of tomatoes by the time it was over.

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    1. Kim, I understand completely. We started stockpiling 30 years ago when we lived three hours drive from the shops in a mining town. Then it was done because of the isolation, now to save time and money, and because it just feels normal to us.

      Didn't you break an ankle? If I have the right woman, I hope you're back to 100% again.

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  24. Rhonda You are a breath of fresh air the calm when I am in a storm
    Thank you for letting the world know what you do and helping us with your timely reminders
    Dee melbourne

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  25. A timely reminder. Stockpiling is only something I have touched on a little bit but would like to delve into it more. Do you stockpile on items when they are only on sale or just as you think of it?

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  26. Hi, Im a malaysian girl who got the opportunity to stay in Brisbane for 2 years when my husband did his Masters at QUT in 2006. I fell in love with Brisbane. Been a silent reader of your blog i kinda like what you did to your home. Producing your own soap, stockpiling and etc. Looking back at the photos - Vegemite to be specific, reminds me of my stay there. I'm back in Malaysia and we don't have vegemite here unless if you go to the expatriates supermarkets :0.. Superlove your blog and i hope that you will write more coz i miss Australia (heart)

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    1. Nice to meet you Rozila. Brisbane is a pretty city although they've just had floods again. Yes, good old Vegemite. What wold be do without it.

      One of my best friends is Malaysian - Patrick. He's gone over to Singapore for Chinese New Year.

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