They don’t call me the Queen of Costco for nothing. Truth be told, I love the place. And I buy large quantities of many items, but only because I’m also quite sneaky. I bring stuff home but then hide all but the minimal amount we need to get through the week, to create an atmosphere of scarcity.

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Human nature is such that in the face of an abundance of anything, we use it up quickly and with abandon.

Do you know that feeling of dread when you’re halfway through the laundry and discover you have about 3 ounces of detergent left? You kinda’ go easy, right? Same goes for anything that appears to be getting down to the end.

My favorite place to stash non-perishables is under the beds. Out of sight, out of mind. Even my mind! That’s why I’ve learned the value of keeping a secret inventory list, too.

If you’re ever a guest at my house, please forget anything I’ve said. No need for you to go looking under the beds unless you get a middle of the night snack attack. Or an urgent need for tissue.

UNDERBED STORAGE. We replaced some under-the-counter kitchen cabinets recently when we had a water leak. When the repairmen removed the old cabinets, they forgot to take the old drawers. I kept them and found they nicely hold many of the CDs I’ve collected over the years. The drawers were in fine condition and slid just perfectly under our guest bed (carpeted floor). The drawer fronts stick out just enough to be able to pull them out, while still being flush with the edge of the bed when pushed back, so that no one knows they are there. M.G.

MUDROOM IN A CLOSET. When my kids were little, I bought an over-the-door shoe organizer with large openings for the front hall closet.  But instead of putting shoes in there, I put mittens, hats, scarves, gloves and other winter wear. The way it works is that each person gets his/her own cubby for their stuff.  If things start to overflow, there are usually enough cubbies to give some people more than one.  Or, the rule can be that if your cubby overflows, it is time to retire something. Julie

FROZEN ONIONS. I have put many pounds of onions through the food processor when I found them at a very good price at the local farm stand. But it seemed that stored in plastic bags, the onion smell permeated the freezer. I switched to glass jars and that works very well. Try big wide-mouth jars and crack out the amount you want as needed. Or use small jars with pre-measured amounts. Joyce

INSTANT BUTTERMILK. If you need a small amount of buttermilk for a recipe but have none on hand, make your own substitute. Add 1 teaspoon white vinegar to 1 cup milk. Let it sit for three minutes.That’s it. Don’t worry, there will be no taste of  vinegar. Shirley

FREEZING SMALL PORTIONS. A silicone muffin pan or individual silicone muffin cups work great for freezing because you can easily push the frozen food out of the cups. I use it for just about everything, including grains, sauces, and liquids. Terry

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