Warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s offer us the beauty of buying in bulk, thus reducing the number of trips we make to the store and saving a bit of money in the long run. But buying in bulk also creates the headache of needing a place to store all the industrial-sized quantities of things like shampoo and dog food and tortilla chips. The appeal of buying in bulk can quickly become overshadowed by the challenge of finding a way to store bulk items without turning your home into a mini-Costco.
This is how I make sense of buying in bulk in a home that doesn’t provide space to live in bulk.
When you decide to buy in bulk, unless you have a massive pantry, you will need to have a place to store the overage. Today I want to share with you how I make sense of buying in bulk while living in a home that doesn’t provide primary pantry space to live in bulk.
In our home, our main pantry is not very large. It is modest at best, and it comfortably houses small portions of items we use on a regular basis. Our pantry is our main supply point. It is where we go first to find paper plates, microwave popcorn, and olive oil.
When we use up what it in our pantry, we refill from different storage locations where the bulk item is kept. These are called our overflow supply points. We use space in our garage for things like toilet paper, paper towels, and dog food. We use a closet in our laundry room for cereal, shampoo, plastic zip bags, and lots of other ingredients. And we use a hall closet for cleaning supplies.
When we bring bulk items into our home, we first restock the main supply point (our pantry), and then store the rest in our overflow supply points. This keeps us from housing massive quantities of certain items in our main pantry, which in turn allows us to keep a larger variety of items in our pantry space.
For example, in our pantry, we have snap-top cereal dispensers which we fill with Honey Nut Cherrios, Frosted Mini Wheats and Raisin Bran from Costco. The extra bags of cereal that come in the bulk case are stored in the overflow pantry. When the dispenser in our pantry is empty, we go to the overflow pantry grab a bags of bulk cereal, and refill the cereal dispenser. It’s a seamless process, and when used in conjunction with my household inventory system, ensures we rarely run out of the items we use regularly.
I think the important thing to remember when buying in bulk is the space in our home is a limited resource, and it is ours to steward. Buying in bulk can be exciting and economical, but in the end if you do not have the room to store the items in a way that allows your home to remain orderly, your limits may dictate that you forgo buying certain items in bulk. I want my home to look like a home, not a warehouse store. Developing ways to buy in bulk while keeping everything stored well makes our house feel homey, peaceful, and organized.
above image via cosctoinsider.com