Storage solutions for excess ostomy supplies?

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Hi again, another simple question. With Stomy approaching his first birthday (November 9), I find myself with a plethora of supplies. Where do I store them? Although I take anything I can't use to my Ostomy group, I do use my monthly allowance--and never reach the limit. Nevertheless, I have a bureau full of supplies, and half my linen closet. This stuff is taking over my knitting stash! Before you all give me your usual great advice and solutions, please know that I live in a climate where we can lose power and the ability to travel (due to the snow), for weeks. So it is imperative that I have at least a month's supply on hand at all times. Ok, having that stored, I'm drowning in supplies. I am hardly complaining, it is wonderful to have a variety on hand...but where do you put all this stuff?


Hello dls. Thanks for your descriptive post as it is no doubt familiar to most of us. In my own case, I redesigned my whole bathroom/toilet, with cupboards from floor to ceiling. I even have a hidden area behind the shower unit where I can stuff stuff out of sight. I designed the bathroom myself so that the cupboards were not too deep and therefore easily accessible. Further to this, I made a small cabinet which is on wheels to house my irrigation equipment, (along with my laptop - but that's another story) The 'clothing' type stuff , such as hernia belts are mainly kept in my wardrobe along with normal clothes and the, as yet, unpacked incontinence pads are stored on top of one wardrobe out of sight. The ones that I use daily are in one of the many cupboards in the bathroom. I feel that I have probably done the best I can to contain  everything to my satisfaction. However, just to let you know how my mind works. I had considered extending my cupboard space into the loft and having a lift-type system like they used to have with 'dumb-waiters' so that the bulky supplies could be lowered to a convenient height as and when I needed them. As with most things stoma related, it is my belief that we need to look at our own individual circumstances and design things to suit our personal needs. What works for one person may not work for someone else. That is why I find it necessary to consult my wife at the design stage, so that whatever I end up with will also be acceptable to her as well.

Best wishes


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I too, am just after 6 months, I have a large amount of supplies that I will probably never need. I would be open to sending some supplies to ostomates here that do not have insurance or are limited and receive less supplies than they use monthly! I know Medicare does not allow as much supplies as my private insurance so when Medicare becomes primary insurance, I will need a stash! I have a very large bathroom with lots of cabinets for storage but it is quickly filling up! May have to add some as we are in the process of a bath remodel anyway!


Supplies have a shelf life of 5 years. I store mine in a cool storage room in the basement. I think it is important to have a surplus at all times in case of a disaster. I keep about six months' worth on hand at all times.


Yes, the cartons have an expiration date on them. Store them in reverse order so you use the oldest first.  

How to Manage Emotions with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

My closet.


Thanks everyone, so my last ostomy meeting (such a party...) everyone was asking where to find ConvaTec's expiry dates--no one could find them on any box. Can anyone help? Hollister has their expiry date easy to see, but we could not find those for ConvaTec or other brands. Of course, I should contact my rep. and ask, but you people are so much more fun, and probably have the info at hand. If you know where to find it on the packaging, tell me. I need hero worship.


Do you have any extra suitcases that you are not using? I have two or three that I rarely use. They make really great storage spots for extra supplies. You can easily store them in a safe, dry place where they will be easily reached.


What I do is keep a certain number of months of supplies stashed. If I exceed that limit, I simply skip orders for as long as I need to set my inventory where I want to keep it. It's simple, but it's been effective for me in the last two years.


Thanks, freedancer, that's a great idea.


I googled this and the example they gave was messed up, but I got the gist of it. It is the Lot # on the side of the box. My lot is 8A06114. The first number is the year, 2018. The letter is the month A=Jan B=Feb C=March and so on, so mine is Jan of 2018. The next is the day of the month. This being the 6th and the last 114 is their machine code. So my box expires 5 years from Jan., 6th 2018. Can they make it any harder? Lol



Probably. Whoever said we Hipsters are a bunch of powder puffs? I bet my rep won't know unless she contacts her rep at Convatec. You broke the code. Be sure to tell MMSH. It really isn't hard, as long as you know there are 12 months in the year and the alphabet. Bravo! I will be the princess at my next ostomy meeting. Ah, Hero Worship...the smell of the crowd. Many (most, actually) are long-timers with their supplies and worry about expiration dates as they do not use all items all year—things change seasonally, as do their necessary supplies. HA- listen to me, I sound like an old pro, but coming up on just my first year I have had to make seasonal changes with appliances and accessories. Starting out with a twoonie and all manner of paste, rings, and skin barriers (I was still learning), I now use a onesie with only a few grains of stone powder to collect the moisture from my stoma before I apply my pouch. Of course, being so new, I experiment with everything—closed-end pouches, products from other countries: the US is a rich and fertile market—overseas manufacturers will send you anything—I suggest everyone (except you irrigators...) contact SALTS online. They are in England and sent me a box of samples with just about everything they make. Worth a try, as my rep already has these products in her system, although they are not yet for sale. This company has already been reviewed on YouTube. I still haven't 'test-driven' any of their products, but they are well known in England. I think they will be popular here—just another alternative for us all—and keeping the manufacturers on their financial toes! I pick up things to try at my ostomy meetings, one of the most surprising was pediatric pouches by Hollister called 'pouchkins'. They accommodate up to a 2" stoma and look exactly like the standard, transparent one-piece Hollister pouch. As they are for children, the pouch is only 7", not 12". Thus, the only difference is its capacity—and its length. I use these on weekends or when I know my output is going to be small. Not for everyone, to be sure, but being so short, these don't 'sit on my lap' and I know instantly when it needs to be emptied. We never know what is going to work for us, so I give everything a try.

Yes, yes, you irrigators, in my quest to learn to live with a little penis (more of a button, actually) on my body, I will be learning to irrigate—during my copious free time! No, I feel it is important to know all facts and manner of dealing with our various 'extras' in order to be able to gracefully handle all situations possible. And maybe, the seemingly impossible.

Thanks again, Puppyluv, a lot of old people will rest easier knowing they are not in danger of using expired materials.


Freedancer, not only are suitcases perfect, but my family has many old 'steamer trunks'. As they die off, they all get sent to me (I have a large house). I have six of these--they are huge, have a tray and can easily handle a round the world cruise. So a suitcase can be placed on the same floor as my bathroom, while I can store months of product in just one of these trunks. The top tray is perfect for rings, paste, powders, wipes of all sorts, etc. So simple, thank you again, I never would have thought of this and it doesn't cost me a dime. Perfect.


Hi again Funnygurl, how long did it take you to assemble a six-month supply? Looking back on the 31 years I've been stranded in this pit, I would be a fool not to have a larger cache. It's not just a matter of snow and ice here. It's the probability that supplies will not be able to get through (this happens a bit every winter). Even using the overpriced local distributors can be impossible during a 'driving ban'. How did you do it and how long did it take? All details greatly appreciated... esp. knowing that I have a place to put them and 'rotate my stock'. (Thanks again, Freedancer)


I am lucky that my insurance pays for way more than I use. I think I get 20 pouches a month and with irrigation, I only use 5 per month but I tell them to send me everything my insurance will pay for. Since I have met my out-of-pocket, I pay nothing! I have lots of one-piece Convatec and Coloplast that I won't use except in extreme emergencies, so you are welcome to some of them.


Thanks, but no hero worship! LOL I will fall off of that pedestal way too fast! The funny thing is, the website I found it on was wrong. It referred to the number 2 saying it was 2012, but the example did not have a number 2 in it! I emailed the website to let them know of the error so future ostomates could understand it! They emailed me back and thanked me and said they corrected it! That was cool!

Hope it helps everyone!


Way cool is right, where did they find an IT guy awake? Amazing.


Donate some. Friends of Ostomates Worldwide.

FOW-USA 4018 Bishop Lane Louisville, KY 40218. Some of these people are desperate for supplies. I try to donate anything that I no longer use or samples that didn't work out. Then I throw in a few of my own pouches as I get a mini one-piece from Hollister, so it's probably good for kids or smaller peeps. Ty.


I do two things with extras. 1) I make a kit for emergencies with the products I need for changing the skin barrier - adhesive removers, skin barrier prep, skin barrier and bags, etc. You can put a set in the car, glove box, under the bed, in a closet, a suitcase-- anywhere you can grab it and go if you have to. In case of a storm or earthquake, you have extras. 2) There are two charities who give supplies to people who have no insurance. Friends of Ostomates Worldwide, and I send extra supplies I don't need. The things I use, I store and keep. If I have leftovers, I don't order it for a while. I store things on a closet shelf.


I had that trouble, too, of receiving more supplies than I needed. Finally, I just asked the supplier not to send any more. I'm a Kaiser patient and I know that I can always order more when I finally need some, but I still have lots in my closet waiting to be used.

Newbie Dana

Fortunately, when I had private insurance, they paid for all that I needed. Then, once Edgepark made a mistake and sent me two orders back to back (for 90 days' supply)! So I had lots of extras, and they filled up my closet. Unfortunately, when I went onto Medicare, they cover 2 a day. Period. Which is, of course, WAY inadequate! I no longer have a full closet, and life is getting difficult. I am working my way through this problem, trying things like liners, etc., and working on getting a prescription for more that maybe Medicare will honor. Having said that, I store a small supply in each bathroom, with the rest in my closet. I do have some spare supplies that didn't work out, and I thank you for the places to donate them! I really appreciate that!


Dear all,

Just 7 months into life with 'Enigma' Urostomy stoma. I use an under the bed storage system but realize that I am running out of space. The suitcase suggestion is terrific. I would normally keep it in the attic but we had a heatwave this summer in England so..........

Hope everyone is well. I too am slowly building a backup stock - just in case Brexit takes its toll.

Hope everyone is well.



Hi Cat6, yes, I always bring extra supplies or things I don't use (samples, or products that didn't work out) to my Ostomy group. Everyone can take everything/anything they need. And we do. It is a great way to try out new products without expense, or things you may not have seen before, but don't want to take a chance ordering. Every few months, my Ostomy Group 'clears the decks' and delivers supplies to several ostomy-specific charities. I support this as everyone is not as lucky as us. However, I have no problem ridding myself of product for which I have no use. My problem was storage of usable supplies and a minimum six months supply (yes, I rotate my stock). This has been solved, thanks to freedancer. Cat6, be generous, but always have on hand enough for your own needs.


Hi Cat6, yes, I always bring extra supplies or things I don't use (samples, or products that didn't work out) to my Ostomy group. Everyone can take everything/anything they need. And we do. It is a great way to try out new products without expense, or things you may not have seen before, but don't want to take a chance ordering. Every few months, my Ostomy Group 'clears the decks' and delivers supplies to several ostomy-specific charities. I support this as everyone is not as lucky as us. However, I have no problem ridding myself of product for which I have no use. My problem was storage of usable supplies and a minimum six months supply (yes, I rotate my stock). This has been solved, thanks to freedancer. Cat6, be generous, but always have on hand enough for your own needs.


Colie123, I use an underbed system for my knitting stash. Isn't the suitcase idea great? Freedancer is practical and smart. If you read my replies, I have six old steamer trunks that are enormous. You could easily store two years' worth of supplies and accessories. I have suitcases I never use, and probably should have donated, but I'm glad I didn't. I can now grab a suitcase to pack without unloading supplies. If you're just bursting out of the under bed storage, the suitcase will serve you well. As your supply grows, look around for a stationary storage area for your overflow. Some of the replies I have received have focused on donating supplies. I already do this via private ostomy charities and donating items to my ostomy group, who also donates our 'overflow' to important charities. Living in the climate I do, I cannot stress the importance of having AT LEAST a month's worth of supplies in a place that will survive a disaster. As generous as we are on this site, we should strive to continue to be so. Don't find yourself on the receiving end of charity. If you have nothing for yourself, you cannot help others.


Love your new photo!


I guess my small shelf with a couple boxes of each doesn't really compare. :) Despite being in Canada (Ontario), our provincial health care system doesn't provide supplies but rather they give 480 grants twice a year, regardless of income. That definitely doesn't allow for stockpiling. Duoderm and M9 Drops seem more like a luxury ostomy item when you pay with your own money/credit. Private health plans, through employers, were great as they really have no clue how often one needs to change. I hear some change daily. I change about once a week. It would be worth getting a part-time job if it had benefits.


Newbie Dana, have you considered using a drainable pouch? A one-piece is almost as easy to change as a closed-end pouch but obviously will give you longer wear time. I use closed-end pouches, but not as my usual appliance. My output rather demands that I use a drainable pouch. I love the closed-end pouches: I use them at home when I'm not eating much and not going out. When I'm out (at a dinner, meeting, or presentation), I carry a few with me and if needs be, rather than draining and cleaning up, I take off my onesie and replace it with a closed-end. They are easier to change, requiring less clean up and time. Like me, you might be happier 'mixing it up', you'll be able to get enough from Medicare to cover your needs if you order a month of drainables every so often.



Hey, have you gone to your Ostomy group meeting and been crowned Queen since you have the secret code to unlock Convatec expiration date yet? Cannot wait to hear about that! Lol


Little Red

I have an antique dresser, washstand, 3 drawers, and a closed end with a door. All my supplies are in that. What supplies do I have? I called to order pouches last week and was told that when I get down to 4 or 5, I should call back (Edgepark). They said Medicare will only cover so many days at a time. It has been 4 months since I have ordered. I have had one of their reps tell me one thing and then told something else by this one I talked to. I may just call back and see who else answers my questions. I am down to my last box of 10 pouches. She wanted an exact count and wanted to know how many (exact) days they would last. How the heck would I know? I told her I changed every 5 to 6 days if I didn't spring a leak. Needless to say, she wasn't very helpful.

There. Now I am through venting.

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