For me, there are two types of things stored in my home: durable goods & supplies.
- Durable goods – anything made to be used and reused repeatedly: clothing, furniture, rugs, buildings, automobiles, linens, dishes, pots & pans, etc.
- Supplies – anything made to be used once and used up or changed in some way where it can’t be reused: paint, food, firewood, cleaning products, etc.
Figuring out how much is enough or too much with durable goods is less complicated than trying to determine the same for supplies.
For one thing, most supplies require specialized storage. And some, like frozen foods, requires VERY specialized storage. Others don’t require anything so specific: cat litter for one. But supplies do need storage which prevents them from becoming unusable.
Considerations: Storage Needed
The question is, is the supply . . .
highly flammable? fuels, firewood, firestarters, matches, kindling, waxes, polishes, etc.
heat sensitive? frozen foods, foods needing refrigeration, seeds, wax candles, etc.
light sensitive? photography supplies, some fabrics, etc.
Should it be in a waterproof/water resistant environment? This covers many of the remaining supplies: soaps, fabrics, toilet paper, thread, etc.
Considerations: Supply Form
Is it dry, semi-dry, or a liquid?
- Dry supplies are usually the most stable: dried spices, cat litter, toilet paper, powdered soaps, etc.
- Semi-dry supplies usually things which require a bit more care than dry supplies. Items like paste shoe polish, some waxes, bar soaps, vegetable shortening, demiglace, etc.
- Liquid supplies require a waterproof container. Many are cold sensitive, if they freeze their bottle will burst. These include: shampoos, liquid laundry soaps, olive oil and other cooking oils, vinegars, etc.
- Food supplies obviously require storage which will help keep them fresh, if possible. This is true whether the food is dry, semi-dry or a liquid.
Considerations: Designated Use
Supplies are normally made to be used for a specific purpose. Food is made to eat, thread to use on fabric, compost on the garden, etc. The easiest way to divide this again is to separate it by locale: inside, outside, or for a car?
Supplies are complicated: there are many factors to consider when determining where and how much to store!