It’s autumn…and though the season just began, it will be the holidays and winter before you know it.
As such, I want to have everything that my family of 3 (+3 horses, 1 cat & 1 dog) needs for the season. This circumvents running out in a snow storm, or into a crowed and wiped out store before a snow storm, as well as keeps us from going without if stores are closed for a day or two. In the summer I stay stocked, but if I run out of something that I need right then, it’s nothing to hop everyone into the car, roll the windows down and take an impromptu night time drive to grab it. For obvious reasons, running out of household products in the winter time is annoying.
The first thing to do is to take an honest inventory. Note all of the products that you need to keep your household running smoothly. Don’t forget things like light bulbs and batteries. From there, keep a running list. I found This amazing post by Wondermom Wannabe, and her system is on point. Like, so on point that I can just go ahead and end this post now. Download her household supply list, or take the time to make one yourself – you won’t be sorry.
In conjunction with keeping a running list of your basics, there are some important notes that I’ve found with Fall/Winter stock-up:
TIP: Calculate your usage
One thing to note about stocking a household, is to make sure that it doesn’t end up turning to clutter. One way to do this is to know how long it takes you to use a product. For example, if I get a large bottle of dishwashing liquid, I’ll put the date I opened it on the bottle with permanent marker. When it’s empty, I know how long on average it takes me to use something. This way, I can buy 3 bottles of something that I use once per month and only 1 bottle of something it takes me 4 months to use. This is not only smart in terms of storage, it’s smart in terms of money.
TIP: Know what you actually need
I used to run out and stock up on everything every single month. Then I realized that I was running myself ragged, we weren’t using all that we had, and I was ending up with less cash than I had budgeted for. I realized that in my haste to having a constant supply, I was being wasteful. It was at that moment that I let my Costco membership go. Even though there were deals galore and it wasn’t that expensive to have, I felt like I needed to go…all of the time and it forced me to buy the great deals that I normally would have just lived without…pack of 10 organic mac & cheese for $9? Yes!
Costco had it’s place for sure – and I do love it, but we just don’t have the family size or the burn rate of product to need to go right now. I figured out that at .49 per roll of paper towels at Aldi’s, it’s less expensive to just buy 24 rolls there than a large package that needs to be stored from Costco. Now I just add them in with my grocery trips.
TIP: Stock up slowly
I learned this last year when I was re-evaluating my major supply hauls that were taking so much time and money. Right around this time of year, I change my grocery shopping and budget to add doubles of things that we use regularly to the list. For instance, 2 cans of pasta sauce; 4 cans of tuna; 2 bottles of detergent. I do this for the barn as well. Though my horses right now go through 1 bag of grain per month, I start buying 2 bags per month for each of them. Before I go to the store, I look at what I already have and if I find that I’m good on a product, I will rotate in another product to stock up on in it’s place. Since I began to use an inventory system, and gradually increase my purchases, I haven’t run out of products or cash.
TIP: Evaluate your products
We all have the basics like TP, paper towels, toothpaste etc, put for me personally, we’re not really a “commercial product” family. Dylan and I use organic toothpastes and it’s not as easy buying $10 tubes of paste in bulk like Michael’s .99 with a coupon tube. Needless to say, these kind of things don’t get added to a stock up list. I just make extra sure to notice when they are about half way done and add the need to my running list. Therefore, my stock up inventory is much shorter than most households.
TIP: Start thinking about Christmas in July
I know that sounds overly ambitious, but some people seem to forget that December 25th comes at the same time every year no matter how you try to deny it. It makes me miserable to hear people complain so much that about it when they had 364 days notice. Alas, once upon a time I used to feel that way too, which is why around August/September it isn’t hard to find Christmas stuff in stores, so while we are complaining, at least pick up a tube of wrapping paper at the same time. Same for tape. And batteries…start adding triples of batteries to your inventory if you have young ones in your family.
Knowing exactly what you need, how much, and how often you need it is all that you need to know – and then capture that with a quick list that you save to a device. Seriously though save even more time and check out Wondermom Wannabe’s list as there is no need to recreate the wheel.
A well stocked house keeps life running smoother, and might I add that it makes it more pleasant too! Since I’ve incorporated this agenda of planning my purchases when I would normally be purchasing, I can see me coming directly home from feeding the horses before a snowstorm and not having to worry about running into a store. This means more time for roasting marshmallows in the fireplace!