11 March 2011

Manage bulk purchases by numbering multiple packages of the same item

Given how much interest there is around knowing each others' bulk buying habits, R's multi-pack-management hack seems well-timed:

I shop every week at a warehouse club and frequently stock up on multi-packs of items I will use over several months, such as three large bottles of catsup or three boxes of coffee filters. Many times, I've bought a three-pack of something, only to find a package or two from the previous purchase that was hidden at the back of the cabinet.

I now use a Sharpie to number the individual items when I bring them home so

a) I know if I have any left that may be hidden, and
b) I know when I need to add that item to the shopping list.

Such a simple way to solve a frustrating (and expensive) problem! Amazon Subscribe & Save users: take note.

Any other tricks for keeping track of, storing, or managing bulk purchases?

Related: Make a diaper caddy out of a bulk diaper carton

Your comments

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When I do this with boxes of checks, I always note the total number of boxes as well as the item number (1 of 3, 2 of 3). It works like a charm at keeping me from losing boxes or forgetting to order.

What a great idea to use it with bulk supplies! It would keep me rotating pantry stock as well.

Would it be weird to do this with rolls of toilet paper? It's SUCH a bummer to think you have some left only to realize you've run out.

Not for bulk, but I write the sale price (often unit price) of items on the package. That helps me remember if it is a good deal next time I see something on sale.

We keep a roll of colored toilet paper for when we buy a big pack of regular toilet paper. When the only roll left is the colored one (or we see the colored one on the shelf), we run out to get more.

HUZZAH! The world must know this! No wonder you won the Let's Panic gift basket. You really ARE superior.

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