An interesting question came up about stockpiling with sales, and how to balance frugality in a small space. I'm all for stockpiling and thought it was time to address this.
The one thing I wish we had but don't is a chest freezer. I've got a spot picked out where we can fit it, even in our little apartment. My husband says it's not the right time, though, and he's right. Our family is still small enough that the extra $5 it would cost us in electricity would not be saved by stockpiling on sales more than we do.
When we get one, we will get a BIG chest freezer and a new energy efficient one. A chest freezer is more energy efficient by design than an upright. The reason for that is that when you open a door of an upright, the cold air falls out the bottom. Cold air is heavy, so it basically stays put in a chest freezer.
So, I have to maximize the space in my freezer. It's not that hard to put 100 pounds of food into a standard sized freezer, but you have to pick and choose what goes in. I can get various fruits and veggies at a reasonable price year round. So, it takes a rare deal for me to stock up on a sale of veggies. Some meats I can get consistently at a good price, but other meats vary in price, like beef. When I see brisket beef for $1.30 per pound or ground beef for $1.25 per pound, I stock up. I consistently can get chicken for $0.59 per pound, turkey for $1.00 per pound, and pork for $1.12 per pound, so I don't stock up on those.
In the fridge, I keep my semi-stable foods. There are obvious ones, like milk, cheese, butter, and eggs. I keep my potatoes and onions in my fridge as well, along with most vegetables. Most fruits reside on the table until eaten. We eat the potatoes before they turn sweet and onions that have been refrigerated don't make me cry like room temperature onions do, but I don't keep them in the same drawer as the potatoes. I keep lacto-fermented veggies in the fridge, and my husband's leftovers. I also keep a jug of water in there just as filler for the electric bill.
I don't buy a lot of shelf-stable foods. I buy flour, lard, salt, and canned tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are rarely on sale lower than the Walmart price. Salt and flour rarely go on sale either, so I don't stock up much on these.
For couponers who have shelves upon shelves of boxed food, bought for pennies, I would recommend stacking. In a small home, thinking vertically is crucial.
I have a full boys' wardrobe up to four years old. I have bins stacked in the kitchen and labelled. I have two near empty bins for when Daniel turns five and six. When I hit yard sales, I am on the look out for a few pieces to finish his 4T wardrobe and pieces for the next few years up. Working with vertical space allows these bins to take up a little more space than a bureau would. With my bins, the lid of one holds the bottom of the next one up securely in place. When stacking bins, look for features that will make it near impossible to be tipped over.
In the coming year, I'm going to be kicking off two new series. Touring Tuesdays will give you the opportunity to snoop around our apartment. Storage Solutions Saturday will highlight some of the ways that we can fit a bunch of stuff into small spaces without feeling crowded. Just like with FAQ Fridays, these are posts I've been meaning to get around to, but I need a structured framework to remind me to fit them in.