HIPS Home Inventory and Purchasing System
What is the Home Inventory and Purchasing system?
To save time, energy, and sanity I developed my Home Inventory and Purchasing System. I now use it for all household spending but I began to put my system together when I couldn’t get to the store whenever I ran out of needed supplies for my dressmaking business. I soon realized the same system would work for groceries and household supplies. In the next few years, I expanded to using the system for most purchases we make. Download your HIPS Easy Setup Checklist. It’s only one page and printable.
I never run around the house checking to see what I still have in the cupboard before a shopping trip. I spend a few minutes with my family list (the main part of the system) and newspaper or savings program while I write my grocery list and I‘m ready to go. My system prevents last minute and emergency trips to the store, which waste huge amounts of time and money. Using the neighbourhood convenience store is another waste of your money, as everything is priced much higher.
With my Home Inventory and Purchasing System, I’ve reduced waste and clutter. I rarely purchase something I don’t need or won’t use. I can take my time on larger purchases and find the right item or decide I didn’t really want or need it after all. The main parts of the Home Inventory and Purchasing System are a central place to have a shopping list and storage for replacement inventory. The system works by training all members of the family who are old enough to use an item to also use the system to save time and money for the whole family.
Here’s how it works
When anyone uses up the last of anything, they reach into storage and get the replacement out. The vital step is to then go to the centralized shopping list and write it down. As soon as they can print, they’re ready to help. Younger children could be taught to leave the empty container in a spot near the list. It can be part of family responsibilities.
Including all members of the family is what saves you the most time and energy, as everyone is now responsible for the restocking of the items they use. It’s especially handy for items I don’t use at all. For example, my husband’s razorblades. If they’re not on the list, they don’t get bought and he does without until the next trip. It took a few times being strong about no emergency shopping when he ran out of something, but it was worth it.
The shopping list must be out where every member of the family can use it with pencil, pen or chalk right at hand. A notepad on the fridge door ( I use a magnetized pad) and a mug of pencils very nearby, a chalkboard with chalk always ready, a bulletin board where a list can be easily written on or a whiteboard with correct markers. Remember it can be decorative.
Storage for your inventory should be near where the item is used. A set of shelves in a basement storage room won’t work. The bathroom vanity and linen closet for bathroom supplies, a shelf or cupboard in the laundry room for laundry supplies, a broom closet for cleaning supplies, a pantry or cupboard space for kitchen staples. You get the idea.
You should have enough storage space to take advantage of sales but be reasonable in the amounts you buy ahead. The store I frequent often has sales of two to four items at a reduced price. For staples, canned goods, and many freezer items this works well. I wouldn’t normally buy a dozen as storage becomes a problem.
Household staples such as paper products, toothpaste, shampoos and laundry supplies can be purchased in larger quantities according to the space you have. Many items I buy in a larger container for storage and keep a smaller container handy for usage. For example, I buy my hand soap in 3 litre containers, which would be awkward to use when washing up. I have decorative pump containers on my sinks, which I refill and when the large container is getting low, I put it on the list. My husband will now fill the containers when he notices they are low. As an amusing note, he still doesn’t change the toilet paper roll. I don’t know what the block is but my girlfriends have the same comment. We all laugh about it because all of our husbands will clean toilets willingly.
Some items, I’ve learned to buy in smaller quantities. For example, there is no saving in buying a large bottle of Aspirin if you have to throw most of it away. When it starts to smell like vinegar it should be tossed. Food items also should be purchased only in usable quantities. You’ll soon find the rhythm of your family and know the right amounts to have on hand.
How does The Home Inventory and Purchasing System Prevent Clutter in the Home?
I use my Home Inventory and Purchasing System to prevent clutter. If I tried a new product and didn’t like it, I decide whether I will use it up or throw it away. Never leave it to gather dust and clutter your home. I always have a replacement of my tried and true product. If I like the new product better than the old, I decide whether I am going to use the old product and begin to replace with the new product or throw away the last of the old product. I’m frugal so it would have to be a great improvement or an unsatisfactory old product to throw it away. My point is you must decide and stay with the system.
You’ll only have supplies of the things you actually use in reasonable and easy to store quantities. I do my spring cleaning in the fall after the garden is put to bed for the winter. That way, it’s done after I track in the dirt from harvest and my house is clean for the winter. In the spring, I’m cleaning windows and getting the garden cleaned for the summer. No matter what I’m cleaning, it’s a good time to check that I’m using up my inventory. I use up seldom used items and don’t restock unless they’re needed on hand. I give away or throw out what’s no longer needed. If I’m unsure, I have a container in my front hall closet where I put things until the next “spring” cleaning. If I don’t retrieve them, they go out.
Don’t forget to rotate your inventory. Even if you only bought two to four replacement items, remember to use them up and only put them on the list when the last one is taken from storage.
The Home Inventory and Purchasing System will look familiar to anyone stocking a warehouse or retail space. The new computerized SKU systems are all about keeping track of when something needs to be replaced without having to go check. Both warehouses and retail stores used to have to keep large inventories but with faster shipping, most now keep only the amounts they need in stock and have automated the ordering when items need restocking.
I now use this system on everything in our home. If socks or underwear need replacing, on the list they go. I’ll put them on the list if I toss the ones with holes on laundry day or my husband will put them on the list if he tosses some. I only keep two sets of sheets per bed so if it looks like they’ll need replacing soon, I put them on the list. It includes pillows nearly ready for replacement and even small decorative items I may want to look for.
I clean out our closets and change from summer to winter clothes in the spring and in the fall. If an item will need replacing, I put in on my list, which gives me a full six months to look for the replacement. If an item is looking well worn, I try to replace it with a similar item as I obviously wear it often and got value from it. I currently have a replacement pair of nude coloured pumps and my beige walking shoes in the back of the closet as I found a great sale on each in the exact model I found comfortable and that fit into my wardrobe well. My husband’s winter boots are on the list and his favourite style of runners are getting worn.
The corn broom in the shed I use to sweep the driveway has lost most of its oomph and is on the list for replacement. We’re looking for a new light for the kitchen ceiling. It’s on the list.
How Does the Home Inventory and Purchasing System Help You Save Money?
The advantage is I know what I’m looking for in any sales flyers that come to the house. I look through them when I take some time to sit and relax. I can also take advantage of sales in the store I didn’tt see ahead of time without being an impulse shopper. I know the prices as I’ve done my homework online or in the flyers and I know if it’s a good deal. I’ll write the prices I’ve researched for big items on the list.
We were looking for new bikes a few years back. We went shopping a couple of times to see what was around and to look at prices. I wanted comfort handles and seat and I was unwilling to swing my leg over the back wheel to get on. We couldn’t find the comfort bikes and only unisex bikes were in the stores for two years. I let the stores know what I was looking for and the next year the comfort bikes were back. When enough consumers let them know why they’re not buying, retailers will respond. I wasn’t the only one looking for that type of bike. They were, however, overpriced. We waited, as we were still able to ride our old bikes. In February, with 4 feet of snow on the ground, the perfect bikes were on sale. They weren’t even old inventory but early arrivals. We headed to the store and bought them for half price.
The Home Inventory and Purchasing System works because you’ve given yourself time to look for items on sale or to get the exact item you want. It works for small and big purchases. No more settling for what will do and no more paying higher prices than necessary.
When I moved my dressmaking studio home, we decided we didn’t need a second car. I no longer had the kids to shuttle and my social activities were in the evening and on weekends as I’d been working days in my studio. I was used to being able to run into the store on my way home. I now had to be more organized as we planned on me taking the vehicle just one day a week. I’d be doing all my shopping and out of the house errands on that one day.
The most difficult part of the system was learning the amount of perishables to buy each week. I wanted to have enough without overbuying. I soon knew how much would prevent any spoilage. I also learned to cook it and to freeze it before it went bad. We’ll look at using your fridge and freezer to save oodles of time and money in another article.
I found once a week was perfect for us as I could keep milk that long if I watched the date when I was purchasing. Milk was my most perishable item. I also started using powdered milk for baking so my fresh milk would last.
My store has weekly specials so I was also able to take advantage of all sales. I garden in the summer and put up the extras for winter. I use my freezer food when there are less sales in the winter. I also stock up on blueberries in the summer as I’ve been unsuccessful growing my own. If you don’t garden ( it’s not for everyone ) you can still take advantage of quantity and seasonal sales on frozen and canned goods.
I started using my Home Inventory and Purchasing System with food and household supplies by myself and saved a lot of time, energy and money. When I included the family, I saved even more time, energy and money. It was natural to use the system for the frequent shopping, but I soon expanded to all areas of purchasing with hardly a thought.
Larger grocery purchases would have “on sale” written behind the item until I knew I needed to purchase on the next trip. I do the same for large household items by writing “on sale “ behind it until we need the item bought now. I transfer the items on the family list to my grocery list, which goes with me while shopping. It has room for errands and items that I’m looking into too. I used a paper list for years then a tablet and now a smart phone which stores all my information. I even keep my favourite recipes on it.
I generally only take the vehicle for one half day in a week and get everything done. We shop for large purchases or go window-shopping for ideas and prices on large items that require my husband’s input or clothing for him on Saturdays. We rarely do this more than one Saturday a month. There are so many other fun things to do with our weekends.
What will you do With the Extra Time and Money?
I hope you can use this system to save your time, energy and sanity. It also helps with making your money go farther and decluttering your home. Download your HIPS Easy Setup Checklist to help you get started today.