Reader Questions: How to Organize Your Stockpile

Reader Jennifer has a question about organizing your stockpile.


I have a question about organizing my stockpile. I just got some new shelves that I am putting up in my basement.  Are there any secrets to organizing it?  Like do you make a list of what you have, do you label your shelves?  Also, I would love to see peoples stockpile pictures.  Can you do a post of readers stockpiles?

Do you guys have any suggestions for organizing your stockpile?

Regarding the stockpile pictures…  I would love to do a post with a bunch of LRWC Readers Stockpiles.  So, if you have a great stockpile you would like to show off, send it my way and I’ll put it together in a slideshow.  Also, I will be showing off my stockpile shortly so keep your eye out for that. 🙂

If you have a questions you would like to ask the LRWC readers, you can send it to  Put, “Reader Questions” in the subject line.


The links in the post above may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.
  • Heather

    I make sure the the later expiration dates are in the back so when someone takes something from the front, they are not leaving the items that are going to expire soon.

  • Meghan

    I don’t know how to take a good picture. I store all of my toiletries in a dresser. I have little bins in the drawers and organize them by category. It works out pretty well, because I can keep the dresser in the hall and it doesn’t look like a warehouse 🙂

  • LK

    This is probably not the answer you want, but I try not to stockpile so much that I need a system. I find that too much stockpiling can result in wasted food (that expires before we use it) and if it’s snack food, having too much on hand leads to over-eating. I also recently found maggots in an unopened box of cereal that wasn’t supposed to expire for another week or two. So I try not to get carried away with stockpiling. But I do stockpile certain canned goods when I can get them cheap, and I basically just stack them together in groups.

    • Denise

      I agree with LK. I was starting to stock pile and then found myself throwing things away because of the expiration dates. My kids are big on checking those dates!! I know only stockpile paper goods/things that won’t go bad.

  • Jill

    I have all breakfast food together ( cereal, oatmeal, pop tarts, pancake mix) I have a separate shelf just for pasta and sauce (because I have a lot of that). I keep all condiments and canned goods together on a shelf and group them together (syrup, mustard, pb & jelly, soups, etc.). I have a separate shelf system for paper products. Another shelf system for all Health and beauty items. Another area for all laundry detergents and cleaning products. Along the tops of all the shelves I keep all the paper towels and toilet paper. On the bottom shelves I put all the cases of water, snapple, juice boxes, soda 12 pks, etc (because they are heavy). I have it all in my basement storage room and I use 4 big shelving systems from Home depot. I forgot the name of them, but they are heavy duty steel shelving units with the wood shelves.

  • I have several stockpile areas.
    For toiletries I have the cabinet under the sink in my kids’ bathroom. I just line up like items (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shave cream, etc). Then for things that are smaller and float around I have I big tupperware bin filled with samples, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss etc.

    Linen closet has all the paper products: toilet paper, tampons, tissues, paper plates, napkins, paper towels.

    Basement laundry room has a large shelf that you would put in a storage room or garage. On that I keep all the cleaning products up high and out of reach. Anything to clean with or laundry related goes there. Then on the lower shelves I have snack/cereal/crackers/canned goods/etc. Those shelves are always changing depending on what I’ve got so I just sort by like items in a way that makes it easy to see what I have. I don’t have enough of a stock of anything to need to worry about expiration dates.

    Sunroom is right off the kitchen. I keep all the drinks out there. If we ever have a party we have a drink table and coolers in that room so it just keep it all stacked neatly there. Plus its a bonus in the winter b/c everything is pre-chilled.
    I think it would be overwhelming to have one giant stockpile. Mine are smaller, discreet and in a location near where they are used. No tampons next to my crackers lol

  • i have 2 shelf units in the attic. one is for HBA and papergoods. the other is for food. i only have so much room and this helps me control what i pick up.

  • Dee2

    Like some of you, I have different items in different places.

    I installed shelves in my laundry room all the way to the ceiling. All cleaning/laundry products go on shelves above the washer and dryer. Canned and boxed food items go on the shelves on the opposite wall. Paper goods go on the very top shelves on each side.

    Toiletries are split between the linen closets in the master bath and the guest bathroom. I have baskets for small items.

    Beverages go on and below a table in the garage. Like Marcella’s sunroom, the garage keeps them chilled during the colder months. Or, they go in the extra ‘fridge in the laundry room. (That is only plugged in during the holidays, summer or when I need extra room.)

    Of course, some of my favorite stockpile is in the chest freezer in the garage. I have plastic baskets (that I got for $1 on clearance at Target) that I use to organize by type of item. That way things don’t get lost on the bottom. All the bread is together, boxed vege’s, beef, chicken, leftovers, baking items, etc, all have their own basket. It makes it so much easier to “shop” the freezer to decide on the week’s menu. And I know when I am low on something.

    One of my rules is when I’m out of room, I stop. I’m so jealous reading about everyone’s great Shoprite deals. But I’m stocked, so I didn’t buy much. I’ve spent so little recently, I’m barely halfway to my free ham.

    An example of how I stockpile:
    Hubby was just commenting that we were low on Morningstar Farm breakfast links yesterday. I told him I would watch for coupons and a sale. Lo and behold, the coupon + Target sale showed up last night. He bought 6 today and we are good for another 3 -4 months.

  • Lori

    Question guys… Does anyone have an issue with storing cleaning products in an unheated garage or basement? I stored a bottle of dawn dishwashing liquid over the winter in my basement. I noticed it seperated and looks really weird. It was in a clear plastic bottle, so you could definitely see it. I need to make sure what I’m storing will not be ruined in these unheated areas. Anyone else have this happen?

    • Rachel

      I had that happen this winter with olive oil… it still looks gelled… im hoping if I warm it (or the summer months warm it) it will return to normal

      • Crystal

        I am sure the olive oil is fine… it is actually recommended that you store your olive oil in the refrigerator so it will maintain its nutrient value longer so I wouldn’t think it getting cold would have hurt it. Plus when you put it in the fridge it “congeals” and looks like pea soup.

  • cheryl manna

    I was lucky. When we bought this 1oo year old Craftsman 26 years ago, it had an entire pantry room built in the basement. Stockpiling has been a way of life for quite awhile here. But even with this room, I still need additional space, especially to ensure that infrequent visitors, like a mouse in the deep freeze of winter, does not undo my efforts. On my pantry shelves I have canned and jarred goods, paper, soap, cleaning supplies, toiletries, detergents, and lots of coffee. I have a small but non-operational refrigerator which serves the job of keeping the boxed foods such as pasta and rice safe from infestation of any type. Items are used according to date, and replaced as used in conjunction with sales. I also have a working refrigerator/ freezer in the basement for all cold/frozen foods, plus lots of cabinets in the kitchen, both loaded to the hilt courtesy of Shop-rite’s DD sales. Tomorrow is the last of my DD coupons, and I am wondering where I am going to shoe horn in those additional items.