A Hoarder With Pride

Let’s face it. A household that’s full of enough groceries and other household supplies to last a year isn’t exactly a common sight nowadays. In fact, I know many persons who would actually label such a person as a hoarder. However, they would be woefully incorrect in this assessment and I hope that many of you can shake off the negative stigma that such a label carries with it. If I were to pay my utilities a year in advance or save enough money to live off of for a year without incurring debt, would someone presume to judge me as a hoarder?  Would such a wise financial act cause a sense of scarcity among the banks and creditors of the world? No. In fact,

the strength of a nation’s savings accounts has long been viewed as a sound barometer to the financial strength of that nation. If I were to pay all of my insurance premiums a year in advance, I’m offered a sizeable discount.  If I were to pay my wholesale invoices immediately upon issuance I am also issued a profitable discount. In fact, I’m sure that most of us would consider a person with such healthy financial habits to be a wise financial steward, would we not? Do we label Mr. Gates, Buffet, or Trump paranoid fools because they have had the audacity to “get while the getting’s good?”  Then why in the world would anyone accept the label of a hoarder simply because they are stabilizing their dollars and leveraging their money wisely by stocking up on necessary items today?

Ah, look at how our spoiled selves have evolved when it comes to obtaining food and other necessities.  First we are given the luxury of shelves and shelves of options right around the corner that we can quickly make our purchases conveniently in an air-conditioned environment with the swipe of a piece of plastic.  The variety and availability of the selection of food we are given rivals the Amazon book list (I don’t know about you, but I have seven well-known grocery stores within 5 minutes of me all trying to get my attention and hard-earned money). Though we no longer have to tend to the gardens, the cattle, and endure the backbreaking work to eat, we still haven’t been satisfied. We want things even easier. So Necessity has created restaurants. We simply sit down, look at a menu, order our meal and in many instances pay less for it than if we were to have to buy all of the stuffs to make it ourselves.  No dishes to clean. No table to set.  We expect it hot, safe, and served with a smile.  But no…this still isn’t a good enough option to our grocery stores.  So Necessity has given us fast food. We barely have to stop what we’re doing to order a meal with a minimal amount of effort, and Voila! It’s readily handed to us in any weather, virtually any time of the day, and many brands can be obtained in any part of the world.  But still, this isn’t good enough for us. We demand that Necessity give us take-out. A phone call and a credit card number delivers to us some of our favorite flavors and scents from across the world.  No thinking, cleaning, or human interaction is required. We call or log online. We pay. We eat. If room service is late, some call it the suffering of egregious affronts.

Meanwhile the options become more and more abundant for us. We are bombarded with offers from an army of grocery stores for our dollars. Reward points. Gas discounts. Curb-side service. Every possible enticement that can be conceived is conjured to win our attention. Every restaurant in our area jockeys for their share of our appetites. And every drive-thru window strives to make it even easier to reach into our pocketbooks and eek out support for their establishment. Heck. We don’t even have to name the foods we want to order. We can simply order an entire meal by number. Is it any wonder that very few of Americans have taken thought of providing nourishment and comfort for their family tomorrow, let alone next year?  Even when there is plenty of food in the home we still find too much fatigue or too much immediate desire to drive us to spend our money elsewhere. Is it any wonder why the kitchen cupboards are shrinking in size while the entertainment rooms and garages are demanding most of our household space? We seem to be sufficiently convinced that these options will always be there, will always be affordable, and will always be safe.  Is that a way of life we are really comfortable embracing?  Is there any certainty of sustainability in that choice?

Sure a year’s supply of food and provisions for a family looks quite out of place when contained all in one space—but then again, I think that those lime green smart cars look pretty outlandish too. It makes no sense to me for persons to accept being prudent with their money, but refusing to buy into the wisdom of being prudent with that which money will always need to buy.  In fact, they haven’t even dared to create a game show that awards the winner  a year’s supply of all of the groceries their heart desires. Even the deep-pocketed detached bureaucrats know that’s too much of a financial uncertainty. Granted, I certainly wouldn’t be investing in food items that will perish sooner than my dollar value, but it certainly makes sense to me to invest in necessities that will undoubtedly keep their value long past my retirement account.  If credit companies can charge astronomical interest by providing that which people want right now, doesn’t it make sense for us to pay ourselves for that which we will most certainly need in the future? Just as I believe that I will still need a roof over my head one year from now, I’m certain that I will still be in need of a meal six months from now?  If I can purchase some of that meal at a discount and stock up now, how is that any different than making a smart stock purchase today? I realize that stocking up on foods and such isn’t exactly a popular decision. In fact, there have been times in our civilization in which people are encouraged to scoff and scorn at such persons even as they are fed and nourished by the very hand which they criticized. But understand that no one is exempt from having an abundance of undisputable proof that stocking up on necessities is a wise financial choice and not one held exclusively by extreme survivalists.  This isn’t some crazy preparedness person telling you all of this. There is irrefutable evidence.  I have yet to find any instance in which mankind was able to stop eating. And yet we can all find countless examples throughout history in which the currency which mankind relies upon to purchase his meals has become worthless. No one knowingly bets AGAINST a sure thing, and yet kitchens and pantries across America are doing that very same thing—they are betting that somehow the financial mistakes made in their generation will lead to different results; that somehow their political leaders are able to defy gravity and never permit a financial crisis from occurring; and that somehow they will be saved from any consequences their poor decisions bring them. So, my dear friends, the next time you see me or someone else with dozens of bottles of shampoo, deodorant, Spam, ketchup, body wash, and mayonnaise filling the shopping carts, recognize that they are not a hoarder. They are simply being wise by financially investing in their future needs—and I hope they are wearing their wisdom with pride.


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I have to admit I felt very self conscious as I checked out of Costco with 7 or 8 boxes of "feminine hygiene products." But I knew the coupon price was way too good not to do it. I would have grabbed even more if I had been braver. Those items would be dearly missed, if not available!

Amen! Food is not going down as the stock market will. I prefer to buy my future not lose it

I seem to rotate with being proud and embarrassed of my food storage room. I have worked hard and diligently to have fully stocked shelves. I shop sales, use coupons, and do my best to avoid debt. But I have also seen the looks my family exchanges when they think I am not looking. I am working on tuning out the naysayers and just focusing on what I know is right.

Preparedness Pro's picture

Perhaps your family needs a little dose of the logic I put in the article. I put it there specifically in hopes that it would help some of the readers who are working on "unenlightened ones" as present. :-) Hope it helps!

You are so right. To me, household supplies and food is a great investment these days with no down side as you can eat your way out of it even if you don't need it!

I live in a tiny little paid-for house packed full of food and supplies in interesting places :) so I totally believe in being prepared. I'm wondering, though, about the idea of paying utilities ahead. In my rural area, people who have propane tanks can save a lot by filling up when prices are lower, but I'm very much on the grid, and any account balance would just be used at whatever current prices are. What do you see as the advantages of paying ahead?

Preparedness Pro's picture

I would call and speak with your utility companies first and ask them about paying ahead. The other consideration is being paid ahead and not having to worry about it in a time of great turmoil which may make it impossible to pay your utility bills.

great article! Fortunately many in my extended family, don't think I am crazy, and are trying to prepare for future crisis or shortages . Y2K helped them open their eyes.

I totally agree. Problem is we are the minority. When things go crazy and people need food, they will be 'entitled' to your 'hoard' when the grocery shelves are empty. We live in a society where much of the population believes in the collective good.... which gives no incentive to take care of yourself. I'm trying to keep under the radar so my 'friends' don't help themselves in desperate times. They refuse to take self responsibility now but will be loud about sharing when it is too late.

People have been arrested in the past for food hoarding in the US, which is one of the things I think we need to be aware of, even if it doesn't necessarily affect your current purchasing & preparedness activities. Here is the link to the one news story (from 1918) that I could locate online, although I have heard from older relatives that this was not all that unusual through the 1920's and 1930's: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=940CEEDD1238EE32A25753C3A...

Preparedness Pro's picture

This article was the result of an emergency act during World War I. The Lever Act was eliminated in 1920. The ONLY thing we have at present is an executive order signed by Clinton. However, executive orders NEVER have efficacy upon the sovereign states--only Washington D. C. and other federal zones.
Guns were also confiscated in our recent history but that does not mean that it's lawful. Things like this only happen to people who are willing to rid themselves of their freedom.

Things like this only happen to people who are willing to rid themselves of their freedom.

That's the best quote I've seen in a long time, Kellene. May I post it elsewhere? :)

Preparedness Pro's picture

Of course, Nick. So long as your credit it over here. :-)

The key is to keep your preps hidden and your mouth shut! My fiancee and I are about to sign on a house with a massive, totally in-ground basement that has no windows and there's no indication from the outside that there's a basement. Furthermore, we're going to disguise the one doorway that leads down to the basement as a coat closet, with a secret door going down to the basement that only we will know about. If the brownshirts come looking for food that we may or may not be hoarding, they'll find nothing.

I thought that this was right on. This coming from a person who lives in a small house that occasionally feels like it is bursting at the seams with storage items. I occasionally have to take a deep breath and remind myself that in a time of need each item will be appreciated, then I get creative with the storage. I have considered moving the four 7 gallon water containers out of my kitchen for the summer, but really do I need that space? I try to remind myself that the stored items are security, and your article was well timed.

Marvelous article! Right on Kellene! It's because of people like you that I started to be prepared. Within a year I have an extra years easy, of food and supplies. I've taken it a step further that lots of folks in that I actually live off my supplies.
Don't go to fastfood stores and rarely eat out. Today was the first day in a grocery store in about three months. Store had to good of deals to pass up.
It is so rewarding when you get to the point you only purchase items on SUPER sale. The savings are incredible.
So sad to see people loading up their carts with expensive junk!!
My home is crammed with supplies everywhere. I don't tell anyone. Most of it is pretty well camouflaged.
Thank you for your great articles full of information.
I am grateful.

Can anyone suggest unusual places to 'hide' food in homes? Thanks

Preparedness Pro's picture

Sunee, an entire years supply of food for one person can fit under a twin size bed. I also have an article about other places to store food on this blog. A couple other suggestions to add with others is at the back of deep bookshelves, with the books in front; behind sofas, in the back of closets, crawl space, backs of drawers, etc. Remember, it's important that you USE what you store, not just store it. So "hiding it" to the point that you forget where it is, is self-defeating.

TLC had a show about prepers,

TLC had a show about prepers, which made them look psychotic; but with hollywood that's no surprise:

One gal near Helena, MT had food hidden IN the hollow core doors (removed panel with drill); she had a couch along a wall, but the table behind the couch was filled with boxes and a wooden plank covered it with cloth; removed box spring and turned it into storage with plywood over it and mattress on top.

That was National Geographic,

Preparedness Pro's picture
That was National Geographic, not TLC, just FYI. I was on their first premiere night, and while we didn't get portrayed too poorly, the show went down FAST in chasing that whole "let's make these people look like idiots" agenda. However, the putting the food inside the hollow doors is a REALLY bad idea--especially if it's the door of a bathroom where there will be plenty of mold and mildew. NO ONE should purchase food for the sole purpose of hiding it away. Food should be used and rotated, never hidden and forgotten about.

I think hoarding occurs when the emergency has begun. Stocking up when there is plenty actually relieves stress during emergencies when the unprepared population is out buying everything they can get their hands on.

Well said.

Preparedness Pro's picture
Well said.

I put two chrome shelving units (from Target) in my laundry room. They don't take up much space and they store a lot. If you look in your closet up toward the ceiling, you'll see a lot of wasted space. Put extra shelves up there. You can also store under the beds. I put extra shelves in the garage too.

If you store in the 10-18 gallon tupperware bins you can toss a couple of folded blankets on top, or a space bag full of clothes. I was amazed how much of a difference that made. I just look like a pack rat. :) Those roll under the bed storage bins can hold a lot of food. Plus they are easy to access.

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