I have been couponing (seriously) since November of last year. In that short amount of time, I have built up quite a stockpile of different foods and health & beauty products. I have a huge supply of razors, shampoo, body wash, hand soap, dish soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, granola bars, cereal, chicken broth, soup, and much more. I even have 9 jumbo packs of newborn diapers and 2 jumbo packs of nighttime pull-ups, even though I don't have a child who needs them! Why do I have all this, you may ask?
Well, let me tell you. Most of what I have stockpiled my family will use at some point. All of us need shampoo, but none of us has a brand preference. This is one key to stockpiling. You can almost always find some type of shampoo on sale, and when you pair it with manufacturer coupons, store coupons and store sales, you can often score it for free. This is true for many of the products I listed above.
The items I won't use (like the diapers) make excellent donations. I recently made a donation to a friend's food pantry of 3 big Winco paper bags full of products my family won't use. They cost me little or nothing, and I know there are people who can really use the food right now. I bought the diapers last week during a Walgreens promotion where I got them all for free. Incredible, I know, but it does happen. I will enjoy taking those to a food pantry or to Pregnancy Resource Center where someone will benefit from that Walgreens sale. All it cost me was a little time and research.
So, here's how you can tell if you are stockpiling or hoarding. (I learned this from Angela at Frugal Living NW.) If you are stockpiling, you are willing to share things from your stockpile when you learn of a need (friend or stranger). If you are hoarding, you are not willing to give any of your stockpiled items away, even if you know someone is in need. Keep this in mind when you begin to accumulate items you've gotten on sale.
If you are looking for a place to donate excess food or other items you've accumulated from couponing, check online by doing a search for food pantries in your area. I prefer the ones run by churches, but any of them will be grateful.
P.S. You can even donate dog or cat food or treats that you may find for free.