Friday, April 15, 2011

Hoarding vs. Stockpiling........

(These 4 pictures above are only a small representation of my stockpile)

Ok, so I've been reading all over the net about how us 'extreme couponers' are being called hoarders.  And I've been debating with myself for some time now over stepping out of my comfort zone and speaking up about this topic.  I guess I just can't hold back my thoughts about it and felt the need to try to "set it straight for the record".

There is a HUGE difference between a 'hoarder' and a 'stockpiler'. 

Hoarding is the excessive acquisition of possessions (and failure to use or discard them), even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary.

A Stockpile is a supply stored for future use, usually carefully accrued and maintained.

I personally  have took such an offense to being called a hoarder.  I've had people here locally call me that, and well, I'm anything but.  As you can see from my pictures of my stockpile (above), my house is not in disarray or unsanitary.  My stockpiled items are not 'worthless' or hazardous and I obviously DON'T fail to use or discard anything.  Each and every single item that I buy, or rather, purchase with coupons, and stock in my house has a purpose and/or use.

I find comfort and security in my stockpile because I know that if something were to happen to husband's job or I would fall ill (since couponing, budgeting, etc. is my 'job' in our family), I know that my family and I would have our basic needs of food, clothing (yes, I buy our clothes ahead of time), OTC medications, laundry soaps to wash clothes, hba products to keep us clean, food for our pets, and cleaners to clean our home for at least a year.

For me personally, I take GREAT pride in my stockpile!!  I'm always very careful to manage it by using coupons properly and the right way according to each individual store's policies, and I buy things that my family and I use/need.  If it's something that we don't need/use I give it to family/friends, donate it to my church, local woman's shelter, and our school's food drives (here's a picture just below of a small fraction of what I donated in Dec. 2010 to our school's Christmas basket drive - I donated over 3,400 items).

I know that I've been blessed with the ability to extreme coupon, and that extreme couponing has enabled me to bless others that were in a time of despair and need of things that honestly, NO ONE should have to go without or wonder how they're going to provide it for their families.  It tears me up and breaks me heart to see someone have a need and they can't fulfill it.

(A little background about us..... )

My husband and I hunt (mainly deer) in the fall/winter and we only kill what we can freeze and eat throughout the year.  We also garden.  As you can see from the pictures below, we have a pretty good size garden each year.  These are pictures from our garden from last year and we planted green beans, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, 5 variety lettuce, peppers, baby carrots, broccoli, snow peas, spinach, and a few other things.  We plant in late April/May and have fresh produce clear till the end of August and early Sept.  Last year, I started freezing some of our produce that was left over so that we could enjoy it throughout the fall/winter months till it was time to plant again.  This year I plan to can some of our produce that's left over.

(week 6 of our garden last year)

(some 5-variety lettuce & spinach)

I also wanted to address a lot of comments that I've seen regarding the question, "Why would anyone need 100 rolls of TP or 75 lysol wipes, 100 boxes of cereal?"  To answer that simply.... because you never know what may happen.  Our society and economic status right now is in shambles.  When you strip everything down and take a good long look at our world, it's a scary, scary place.  Prices of everything across the board are skyrocketing to epic prices with no end in sight to the rise!!   So with that said, at least for me personally, it is why I carefully manage my stockpile of items, rotating them and such and constantly keep it full because life has a funny way of throwing us curveballs when we least expect it and I always want to be prepared.  That TP and paper towel stack you see in my closet isn't going to rot or go bad.  It's a possibility that there might not be another great sale on those items for 6 mos or more.  But because of my stockpile, I don't need to worry about that.  I'll just wait it out until there is a great deal and cash in on the savings and continue maintaining what I have.

I've also seen some pretty nasty and rude comments about processed foods and such.  Let's be real here people, no one lives in a perfect world and has all the money they need at their disposal to buy fresh, organic foods each and every day.  And if you do, then that is WONDERFUL and by NO means am I bashing you or putting you down.  It's just that it's not the norm, at least not for anyone that I personally know.  I do however, purchase fresh fruits and veggies each week, give my kids skim milk and soymilk (dietary needs for 2 of my kids), 100% juice products, whole wheat breads/buns, etc.  

BUT, they also eat pizza (mostly homemade with turkey pepperoni & 2% cheese with homemade pizza sauce), and they eat fish sticks and even *gasp* a chef boyardee tub of beef-a-roni.  Do I feel that this makes me a bad parent??? Um, no!  I think it makes me human.  EVERYTHING should be took in moderation, everything.  And the 'bad, processed stuff' isn't consumed each and every single day.  That beef-a-roni I fed my kids is being served with 100% juice and a salad because we ran late from ball practice and there wasn't much time for anything else after homework, baths, etc.  And yeah, sometimes, it's consumed with a capri sun juice box that's got a little too much sugar in it.  Again, I'm human.

Speaking of those "horrible, processed foods", I noticed last night as I'm picking up my pizza banquet meals at Kroger's that on those boxes there is the "Child Hunger Ends Here" campaign. Where each box purchased helps provide a meal to 'feeding america'  Hmm, imagine that, buying that processed food and actually helping someone.

Honestly here folks, life, and I mean every aspect of it, needs balance.  Yes, in my stockpile you'll see some sugary cereals stacked high to the ceiling and 80 cans of chef boyardee, BUT I think what alot of people fail to acknowledge is the fact that that 1 box of that sugary cereal will be 1 serving of breakfast in this house for the 5 of us and houseguests.  And most often, that cereal is served with fresh fruit.  Those pizza rolls you see in my deep freezer are typically bought and served as a snack when we have house guests or a houseparty.  These are NOT foods that we personally consumed on a daily basis.  Our meals are typically a whole grain cinnamon raisin bagel, a piece of fresh fruit and milk for breakfast.  Then a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread w/lettuce, spinach, tomato, cucumbers and fresh strawberries with a bottle of water for lunch.  And then for dinner it might be baked chicken, a veggie and baked potatoes, or turkey burgers on the grill w/all the fixins served on whole wheat buns and served with raw carrots and broccoli.

I know that what I've said above will undoubtedly offend someone out there.  And by no means, was this written to do that.  It's simply my opinion and take on the whole situation.  If you've got a comment about this blog post, PLEASE do share, but PLEASE keep it civil and no offensive language, bashing or name-calling or the comment will be deleted.  

Thanks to all who read this, be safe and God bless!


  1. I understand your need to post but I personally, do not think you should have had to do it. I would love to have a stockpile like that and everyone is entitled to their opinion. I know how much you give and I assume those that are speaking out are the ones that do not.

    Keep doing what you are doing and when things like this come up think of your family, friends, school and so many more including myself that say I am so thankful that I had the help we so needed.

  2. You took the words out of my mouth. I couldn't have said any better myself. I was practically called 'crazy' by a cashier (who was assisting mine) when I handed over my coupons. Then she mentioned the TLC show. I simply said that if I had the ability to walk out with $600+ in grouceries for only $6 you bet your bottom dollar I would. I would be crazy not to. She walked away. It was a young girl, probably living off of mom and dad and doesn't have a clue what it takes to support a family. Oh well - I didn't let it bother me. I enjoyed my savings.

  3. Great post! You're taking your job as a wife and mother seriously and doing a great job with it. I hope I can put together a stock pile like that one day, so I can be more prepared.

    Btw- I'm the girl from Target : )

  4. Job well done Cuz, you are an inspiration to me and many others! I would absolutely LOVE to have a stockpile like that! One of these days but then again our stores here won't let us do have of what is allowed there! Oh well I can still stockpile on some things. Here is the bad thing for me, with certain things I am allowed to get a little stockpile going my danged kids (4 ages 14-7) eat it before I can get a headway! LOL Anyway Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work! Love you lots!

  5. THANK YOU everyone for your kind words and positive feedback!! I was really worried that I would stir up conflict with this blog post (despite the fact that it wasn't my initial intentions), but after I posted it, I worried that it would end up that way. ;)

    So glad that it didn't and soooo glad you guys are here!! Amy, sooo nice to meet you the other night in Target!!

  6. It makes me so sad that you had to explain this! I'm so glad you did though!! I actually don't use coupons, but what is really appealing to me is how much I would be able to give away, if I had those things in abundance. So anyway- I'm going to become a follower of your blog and maybe I'll start using coupons!!

  7. Thanks for following the blog Rachel!! And to everyone else! So thankful that you're here!! I appreciate all the positive comments!!

  8. ok I read this, I have called some people Horders myself. I have 'stockpile' of my own for my family there are about 10 body washes for the 3 men in my house to use, about 6 boxes of bandaids for my whole family to use this year, etc...and I think something similar to this is where MOST couponers that are just starting out want to be just having enough to use later on INCASE they cant afford to get these things later. I have couponed for about 7 years now and I have NEVER gotten more than 10 of ANY one item...the people that I call horders are the people that clear the shelf and even some stock in the storage room of the stores and take it home to the room that they have to put it that already has 200 bodywashes for the 2 people that live in the house. To me, that is a horder. just to clarify my definition...and I think most of whom call coupoing people horders would agree.

  9. I think it depends on the dietary restrictions or needs of those who live in your household. For me, my family stays away from processed foods as much as possible. Does that mean we will never, ever buy another box of Rice Krispies again? No. But, boxed foods, processed foods are not the norm, and I do not stockpile them. I do that because myself and some of my children cannot eat sugar, gluten, and additives without health consequences. However, not everyone is so affected by these types of foods. I don't think anyone should be made to feel bad for preferring to stay away from processed foods as much as they can.
    I do agree with you about the difference between hoarding and stockpiling. There is a HUGE difference. Those who do not comprehend this difference need only to open up a dictionary. I don't see anything wrong with your stockpile, and I think it perfectly normal, and an excellent idea to have such a stockpile. Providing for your family is important, and if a stranger cannot fathom that, oh well...

  10. I just found your blog and I have to say that while I can see why outsiders would call it hoarding, it's not at all right. These are usually the people who don't shop for more than a few days at a time and are simply uneducated when it comes to saving and why you should. Hopefully they'll learn before it's too late. Personally, I'm just starting on my couponing journey but I dream of someday earning the title "hoarder" if that's what they want to call the person that doesn't have to panic when the weather gets bad or when chaos strikes the household. Job well done on your stockpile and success..I'd love to learn from you!

  11. WOW! I wish my stock pile could look like that. I don't think of this as hoarding! I am a couponer myself and I have been couponing close to 4 years. I don't have near that amount of food in my stock pile. However, you have to start some where. This is my personal opinion about toilet paper. :) I think it's necessary to have 1 roll of toilet paper per week per person in your stock pile. So if you have a family of 3 (adults) you'll need around 156 rolls stockpiled. My stockpile of toilet paper is doing good to have 50 rolls. LOL. It's hard to stockpile!! I hope you continue to share your couponing journey with us. Nice Job. :)

  12. I appreciate everyone's opinions on this matter!! It means alot to me that you have took out the time to read everything that I have posted.