Smart Stockpiling: What You Should Have On Hand

chipmunk photo

Make like a chipmunk and hide some stuff away!

We’re well aware of  the fine line between hoarding and stockpiling around here.  We’ve even challenged ourselves to use up our stockpiles.

But there is a way to be smart about stockpiling.  A carefully planned stockpile can help save you money and your sanity during trying situations.

---------- Continues after advertisement ----------

When a  blizzard hits, a severe thunderstorm knocks out your power, or a wretched flu bug wreaks havoc on your entire family, a good stockpile can help you survive until you can get to the store again.

Here’s my list of things that are just plain smart to stockpile:

Over the counter medications. Keep an ample supply of pain relivers, fever reducers,  decongestants, cough medicine, and anti-diarrhea medications.  If you  have little ones, you may want to keep some Pedialyte on hand to help prevent dehydration during an illness.  It’s good to keep a good supply of prescription medications around, too, so that you don’t have to worry about running out of a critical medication during an inopportune time.

Toilet paper. You do not want to be caught in a blizzard or be stricken with an intestinal flu bug without a good stockpile of TP.

Laundry detergent. If a flu epidemic does hit, you’ll want to be able to clean up any messes quickly.

Hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes.  If you don’t have access to running water or if the flu is at your house, you’ll be able to fight off the cooties from making things worse.

Bottled Water. You should have a gallon of water per person per day in case there is a power outage that limits your access to fresh drinking water.  Don’t forget your pets, either!

Non-perishable, easy to prepare foods. Whether your power goes out or you’re just not feeling well, having a pantry full of easy, simple to prepare foods can be a lifesaver.  Canned fruit and veggies, tuna, peanut butter and bread can tide you over for awhile.

When you see a sale on any of these items, look for coupons to use and stock up.   Then when an emergency strikes, you won’t have to endure paying full price out of desperation.  You won’t have to stop at the store with a sick kiddo in tow.  You won’t have to risk putting your car in the ditch during a snow storm to get more toilet paper.

Be sure check out my list of 10 Things You Should Have On Hand When You Live in the Country.  I think you’ll find that those items can be useful to have around no matter where you live.

What things do you make sure to always have on hand?

About Christina Brown

Christina is a wife and mother dedicated to figuring out how to live a simpler, happier life on a budget.


  1. Amy says

    I think it makes sense to have “extra” items of the things you use and the foods you normally eat on a regular basis. provided they are used in a reasonable period (so things don’t become spoiled, broken or forgotten). How much depends on a household’s needs and the amout of space available. Not everything needs to be (or should be) stockpiled but, stockpiling can be smart. At my house, I add tissues (though TP could work in a pinch) because we go through lots and lots of boxes, especially during cold season (at home, work and school). I also like to keep paper toweling hand for cleaning those flu messes…I have kids. I’m careful about OTC meds though. I keep the ones that we normally use and extra pain reliever (especially for my kids), but I carefully watch the expiration dates because I don’t want to end with a bunch expired medicine. Diapers and wipes have been something in the past that I stockpiled because I never wanted to run out have to pay full price for.

  2. Jan says

    Chocolate!! Essential in stressful times, lol. And for me, tea bags. I also keep a couple mason jars full of dry milk powder. I use it in much of my cooking in place of 2% milk, and if we ever ran out of milk during a blizzard (or didn’t want to open the fridge during a power outage), we’d have a backup option.

  3. Rebecca says

    Thank you for the tip! I need to start researching the topic and become prepared for emergencies. We had a tornado come through town (less than 1 mile from my house) last June and it could have been a disaster. Thank goodness, no services were down. But, it made me more aware that you need to be prepared for emergencies.

  4. LindaB says

    I live in Florida so we have to be prepared every hurricane season. Besides the obvious like cash, gas, batteries, flashlights, meds, and water to drink, we always keep extra milk cartons to freeze water in. The frozen jugs of water keeps your freezer cold longer when the power goes out. If we know that a hurricane is eminent we fill the bathtubs with water so we can have water to flush the toilets with or to take sponge baths with. Make sure your propane tanks for your grills are full, we keep an extra tank. This way we can cook most anything outdoors. Keep canned meats like tuna, chicken, spam (not my favorite either but you do get tired of tuna, besides it’s eaten a lot in Hawaii and it’s pretty darn good the way they fix it!) And down here we need bug spray to keep mosquitos at bay. Bleach is another necessary item. You need to be able to disinfect things when you are without power for a long while, believe me, I’ve been through some long weeks without power and no way to get around because of fallen trees and debris.

  5. CJ says

    Had a power outage last night. It only lasted 3 hours but I was glad I had candles, flashlight batteries and extra comforters on hand. Also glad I have a gas stove, the burners still work even without power. I always have a decent stockpile of t.p., water, non perisable food and beverages, medications, cleaning supplies, cat food and litter. I do need to stock up on lighters and matches and put them in a handy place, it was hard to find those in the dark.

  6. CJ says

    I also wanted to add that I was glad that I have a spare phone that just plugs into the phone jack, as my cordless phone doesnt work without power and my cell phone battery died soon after the power went out. Might be a good idea to get a spare cell battery and keep it charged.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *