"Stocking up" vs "Hoarding"?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by chamoisee, Oct 15, 2006.

  1. chamoisee

    chamoisee Well-Known Member

    May 15, 2005
    Do you think it's possible to go overboard on stocking up with essential, necessary, or very useful items? At what point would it become "too much" or border on mental illness? Assume that the food or other items would be well stored and not in imminent danger of spoilage.
  2. 3ravens

    3ravens on furlough-downsized Supporter

    Mar 16, 2006
    WV, FINALLY! (zone 5b)
    Hmmmmmm, when all you have is a teeny pathway to the bed, the kitchen, and the john? :help: :p I guess if you have so much that you can't possibly use it before it goes bad no matter how well it's stored, or if you have pure trash stored, then it's hoarding.....

  3. Linda H

    Linda H Missouri Ozarks

    Apr 15, 2004
    I've seen people go way overboard on the storing of food. I know one family that has three large freezers full. You would have to be very organized with that many freezers or you would end up with a lot of "old" food. Though edible, things like chicken really lose quality after about six months. Frozen veggies also lose their vitamin content and quality in a short period of time.

    It also depends on what you're storing. Dried beans and rice will store for a long time. When I was a kid my folks bought 100 pounds of each every fall. They split them with a friend and they lasted all of us all winter.
  4. bare

    bare Head Muderator

    May 9, 2002
    Funny, I was thinking about that earlier today. I've always been a stocker-upper but at this point in time, with just one of the kids still living part time here, I have an awful lot of food put by. I somewhat justify it by telling myself and the rest of the kids that I know where they'll head if things ever do go south.

    Problem is, I still avidly await the sale papers every week to see what's on sale.

    I've never lost any food though. If it is properly packaged it has a very long shelf life, even in the freezers. I think it was about a year or so I was bragging about finding liver in the bottom of the freezer that was seven years old and when I thawed it, it was impossible to tell that it wasn't fresh. I recently had an ancient tongue that was just fine too.

    I think the trick to long term freezing is to wrap the product in plastic, then wrap in good butcher wrap. Then keep it below zero.
  5. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

    Oct 18, 2005
    N. TX/ S. OK
    I am reminded of Y2K. People were buying like 100's of pounds of wheat berries. After Y2K they were trying to get rid of the ridiculous items they had hoarded.

    Don't keep more on hand than you can use up before it goes bad.

    Don't hoard stuff for an emergency that you wouldn't normally use in every day normal times (like a ton of wheat berries lol). If you can't use it or don't like it during good times, why would you want it during bad times?

    Follow the above 2 rules and you should be doing ok.
  6. YoungOne

    YoungOne Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern AZ, Wind swept High Desert
    As long as things don't go to waste I don't think you can have too much. Keep things in rotation and never let things go bad and your not hoarding. If things are going bad then your hoarding.
  7. haypoint

    haypoint Unpaid, Volunteer Devil's Advocate Supporter

    Oct 4, 2006
    Northern Michigan (U.P.)
    I'll bet there are some people that still have canning jar lids from the Canning Jar Panic of 1977. There was an upsurge in gardening and the local stores hadn't ordered extra canning lids. Rumor went around that there was a national shortage. So as soon as the grocer's next order came in, people grabbed all he had. Others got none. The next orders came in and everyone that was aware of the shortage rushed out to claim their "share". A few years later, rumor that there was a shortage of sugar. Everyone began stocking up. This depleated the normal supplies at the grocery. This increase in demand prompted the grocer to get more and raise the price. A "get it now before the price goes up" attitude changed to " we may never get to buy more so must buy as much as we can find now" That hoarding triggered a momentary spike in sugar purchases, catching warehouses off guard, who in turn reduced each grocery store's order by 10-20%. This became a self-fullfillig prophecy. I think the Mormons keep 6 months supply.
  8. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

    May 20, 2004
    SE Missouri
    Stocking up is looking ahead and putting by what you know or think you will need within a reasonable period of time.

    Hoarding is grabbing more than you need and causing a shortage for someone else that needs it.
  9. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

    Jul 27, 2004
    Well.. either way, those of us with stashes of wool, fabric, or other craft items know we've gone too far when we realize we have Stash in Excess Of Life Expectancy. If you've got more put by than you can possibly use up in a normal life expectancy, you've gone overboard.

    And this actually isn't, in some ways, funny. We had a customer at our yarn shop who always bought the very best in "gourmet fibers." Really expensive, hand painted, awesome, stuff. And when she died she had closets full of this stuff... twice a yarn shop's worth.. we're talking a packed small UHaul trailer. And a very elderly husband who knew, since he paid the bills, what she'd paid for this stuff. So now he has to dispose of his wife's "stash."

    Easy, right?

    Easy.. wrong. He started by approaching the yarn shops and asking us if we'd take it back (for a price of course). We said, with sympathy, no. He then tried advertising it and got rid of a small amount, but people buying yarn want to pick through and get enough for a whole project, not buy sight unseen. So he'd have women in his home laying out wool all over the place, pulling it out of boxes, and these kinds of expensive fibers don't like being roughly handled (pulled out, stuffed back in). Labels started tearing off, stuff started tangling... so he gave up on that route.

    Then he tried giving it away to a school, but nobody teaches knitting in the area.

    Basically, it sort of turned into a nasty nightmare for the poor man. Here he had, literally, thousands of dollars in cashmere, mohair, hand painted angora (think about what a small ball of that costs... now think about what a PACKING CRATE of it is worth!)... and no way to get rid of it. I think he finally resorted to giving it, in toto, to some fiber artist up in Montreal for free.

    When we closed down my mother's shop "what to do with the remains" became a major issue... and are stuff was just "stuff..." not expensive stuff. We found a couple of retirement communities with craft programs to take our "stuff," but I've come to realize that at some point any carefully hoarded stash of whatever may become a problem for heirs, should something happen to you.

    My mother left behind two huge freezers full of frozen (homemade) meals. Left behind for my father who was the only one left at home meals designed to feed 8-10 comfortably. Two YEARS after her death we'd managed to consolodate down to one freezer... one freezer to go! At which point we started throwing out food.

    When my grandfather died it was shoes (garbage bags of good shoes went to charity) because he bought two pairs when he found shoes he liked for when the first pair wore out. Often the first pair didn't wear out. He did the same with shirts.

    It is all well good and fine to "stash," from craft supplies to toothpaste to food stores to shoes... but while you're stashing you might give some pause to consider what someone who has to clean this out might need to know... and to what constitutes a "reasonable" amount of stuff. Four garbage bags stuffed full is not a reasonable amount of footwear. A uhaul trailer is not a reasonable amount of yarn. And two freezers packed solid with food is not a reasonable amount of food to leave one person with even if it was on sale when you bought it.

    The assumption is we'll live forever. The reality is you won't. Try not to leave a mess behind when you go for someone else to have to cope with.
  10. carly

    carly on winged flight...

    Mar 20, 2003
    I am stocked up---but do hoard wet cat food, litter, and dry cat food. I feel likea hoarder when it comes to these things. I have cases of wet, and big bags of dry plus huge buckets of litter in case i get snowed in.
    For me, the usual leaf of lettuce and handful of nuts will do....

    But I keep stuff on hand just in case!
  11. the mama

    the mama loves all critters Supporter

    Mar 1, 2006
    Union Co ,Florida
    I think it is genetic memory. My family is Hungarian, we all stock foods. When my DGpa passed away his basement was full. I begin to be upset if my pantry looks empty. I have enough food to last my family for a month with out buying anything. I don't think that is enough, but my friends think I'm nuts. My husband understands the compulsion, and thats what counts. I store dried beans in those large decorative tins that popcorn comes in. I keep them stacked on top of my 2 refrigerators.
  12. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Feb 26, 2003
    New York
    My stocking up usually revolves around good sales at the the big markets or the coop I belong to. If butter or coffee is on sale, I'll buy 6 so that I don't have to pay full price, ever. With the holidays ahead, lots of baking supplies will be on sale, so I'll stock up on nuts, chocolate chips, etc. My mother shopped this way, too. BUT, if a stranger walked into my pantry they might think I've gone overboard. I just think I'm a smart consumer.
  13. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Interesting post MorrisonCorner. When I first started going to auctions/estate sales I was thrilled at being able to get great craft/art supplies. Now I have to be careful or someone else will have to deal with my stash when I'm gone :(

    The post about it's too much when you only have a pathway from bed to kitchen to bath etc. I'll share with my husband. :)

  14. suitcase_sally

    suitcase_sally Well-Known Member Supporter

    Mar 20, 2006
    Michigan's Thumb
    I can all the veggies we eat and some convenience foods such as soup and meats. As for the veggies I keep two years worth. In other words the stuff I am canning this year is not for this winter/spring but for the following. The reason I do this is I have experienced "crop failure" more than once. As a matter of fact, this year I planted speckled butter beans and black eyed peas and got fewer back in beans than the amount of beans I planted. Last year was bountiful so I still have enough to last till next planting season.

    I also buy butter on sale ($1.39 as opposed to $3.99 reg. price) and stash it in the freezer or can it. I have a small chest freezer and keep that mainly for venison, chicken, pork, ect. As for other items (paper products and such) I don't hoard.
  15. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

    Sep 16, 2005
    AR (ozarks)
    Guess you could atleast feed them to the chickens huh?
  16. newatthis

    newatthis Well-Known Member

    Aug 3, 2006
    Central Wisconsin
    I remember a Wife Swap episode back when the show first started and the lady had so much toilet paper she had 1 bathroom full...shower,closet,undersink etc. so that they couldn't use that room. It was just their t.p. room.
    The "new wife" cleaned it out so they could use that bathroom but when we saw if the family had changed or not the bathroom was full again with the T.P.

    That I think is hoarding as it is in the way of the family.

    Didn't Oprah also have a show on this subject??
  17. newatthis

    newatthis Well-Known Member

    Aug 3, 2006
    Central Wisconsin
    Me I do stock up when items are on a really good sale but my stocking up is usually up to 2 packages extra of something. I recently was at a meat sale where I got a 3 pound package of skinless chicken breasts for $3.99. Around here that is wonderful. It won't last long in my house so I got 3 bags.
    I also stock up if there is a good sale and I have a coupon also that I can use.
  18. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    Obssessive-Compulsive Syndrome can come in many forms.

    But some folks think 'hoarding' is anything more than they themselves fell comfortable with keeping on hand.

    The way I see it is this:

    If you are regularly throwing away large quantities of foodstuffs that went bad because you were not able to consume them before their useful shelf-lives came to an end for the form of packaging they are in you may have a problem.

    If you are literally having to move foodstuffs out of the way simply to carry on a day-to-day existence then you may have a problem.

    I've seen people throw away a lot of food before. Not on a regular basis, but every five to ten years or so they'll throw out hundreds of dollards of storage food they bought for just-in-case that eventually went bad. They did that because it wasn't the sort of food they wanted to eat in the everyday world. About as poor a storage food program as you can achieve, but then some folks will sink many thousands into whole life insurance for ever more miserable returns.

    "Hoarding" is a particular term often applied by those who are offended by or jealous of something that someone else has more of than they do. In times of war or emergency it has meaning when you are accepting scarce commodities beyond what your immediate needs are. That is after the fact, not before the fact. Right this moment anyone who pleases that wants to spend their time, money, and effort can go out and do the same thing that I and many others have done. If there are any shortages you can be sure the market will quickly reflect them but most common foods are still common and anyone who wants them can have them for the same prices. Can the entire country do it at the same time? Of course not. Any more than every can decide to go to Disney World all at once (they seem to try every summer though). Nor can the national population place a phone call at the very same time. But anyone who wants to can right this moment do so and the ones who are so inclined to actually do it will find themselves successful if they're willing to come across with what it takes.

    How much is too much? If you can't handle what you've already go then you have too much. If you can cope with it without wasting a lot of it and you want still more then it's your business.

  19. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 24, 2003
    I'm well stocked ....but I could be better organized.

    Every time I try to "organize" ....in comes Daddy the kids and two dogs with dirty feet and running full tilt...."where's this that" paw paw rummage...."got it!" :shrug:

    I will never win this war so why even battle.... :help:
  20. Burbsteader

    Burbsteader Well-Known Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Western WA
    I think Ladycat and Cyngbaeld summed it up for me. :)

    It's sad to me how odd it is considered to have a good sized pantry these days. It's one of the easiest forms of insurance there is. Ask anyone who has suffered a job loss or extended illness and had to rely only on the food in the pantry to eat.

    My family can eat well for less money because I wait for sales and buy extras. This allows me to wait for the next round of sales before I have to buy more.

    Mine brings me peace of mind in times of crisis, because I know I won't be one of those who has to rush out at the last minute to grab up whatever I can get before someone else gets a hold of it.

    I think it becomes a mental illness when it gets in the way of being able to enjoy everyday life.