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Are You Guilty of Hoarding? How to Prepare for Coming Shortages

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Over the years I have heard preppers lumped into the same boat as Hoarders. This is always with a negative connotation but I think that the connection, while it makes a certain amount of sense if viewed in the proper context,  is instead almost always linked to the more severe and unrelated Psychological condition of Compulsive Hording. The conflation of these two terms takes the very real, natural instincts of preppers and equates them to people with psychological issues who live in squalor. We have seen in the news even now how the label of ‘hoarder’ is used to demean and even criminalize what should be considered rational behavior in my opinion.

Hoarding is normal by humans during times of scarcity. It is how the smart survive while the foolish perish. You accumulate or store additional provisions that you likely will need later but due to forces beyond your control, are unable to get. Hoarding by preppers is usually associated with food because if you can’t get food you die. It makes perfect sense to me that if I know there will be a shortage of food and I won’t be able to go down to the local grocery store to purchase more, that I should make plans before the scarcity arrives to obtain more food. My children still need to eat regardless of what is available for me on the shelves. To not plan for their needs when I have the ability and foreknowledge to do so would seem to be a type of willful neglect.

Animals hoard food all the time and we don’t look at them as having some type of mental deformity do we? Animals certainly don’t have access to grocery stores or shopping malls, but that doesn’t mean they don’t consider the very real fact that they have to provide for themselves in times when food is less plentiful.

Compulsive hoarding is completely different and has been the subject of at least one reality TV Show. Compulsive hoarders aren’t stocking up on food because the supply is inconsistent and prone to rationing. The compulsive hoarders simply don’t throw anything away. They feel attached to certain items and the space these items take up in their homes eventually cause health issues. To compare a father stocking up food because the lines at the grocery store stretch on for blocks and rationing has begun to someone who is living in a house of useless items they purchased on the Home Shopping Network, but can’t bear to throw away, is logically fallacious.

This is not prepping.

This is not prepping and I don’t believe any prepper actually lives like this.

Why should I worry about hoarding anything

Preppers have a very real and valid reason of stockpiling basic supplies in my opinion. We stock up food and water for just the very possibility that we will need them and be unable to acquire them. This could be due to a disaster or sickness that forces everyone to stay inside until conditions are safe. It could be for something like the beginnings of an economic collapse where food supplies simply aren’t reliable as they once were.

Today in Venezuela they are experiencing this very thing. Venezuela is heavily dependent on imports for their food and medicine but their economy is in such bad shape that all of their supply lines are being disrupted. Things are so bad already that they are arresting store managers under the charge that they have been hoarding food. In this case, the managers allegedly were holding back supplies and selling them at higher prices.

They are also taking steps to prevent people from buying more food and stocking up by installing fingerprint scanners in grocery stores. This is done directly to enforce the policy of government rationing that is currently in place. They are demonizing people who want to store extra for their families and in the process they are creating less stability.

GroceryLineVenezuela

Should I be worried about being viewed as someone who is hoarding?

Can you envision a scenario like this in the United States? Venezuela’s inflation rate is expected to rise from 270% to over 720% this year alone. Earlier in the year, there were shortages of toilet paper and daily the citizens of Venezuela are already forced by rationing policies to limit their shopping to one day a week where they are only able to get what is available and have to stand in line all day. Even the electricity is being rationed.

This is not hoarding.

This is not hoarding.

No, the economic condition in the U.S. is not the same as in Venezuela. We aren’t as dependent on selling our oil to other countries and we don’t import a majority of our food. We actually export our food to countries like Venezuela. But the factors that lead to shortages and rationing don’t have to be the same for the threat to be realized. There are any number of reasons why in our future, events could conspire to cause shortages at the grocery store. We could be forced to abide by rationing policies on certain items or even shopping in general. We could be faced with electricity rationing or outages due to terrorist actions or even failures in fragile grid systems.

This is not aberrant behavior.

This is not aberrant behavior. I might prefer a little higher food to condiment ratio, but this is still perfectly normal.

What items should I be hoarding now?

400 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit can keep the lights on when electricity is rationed and give you a bartering resource.

If you don’t want to be that poor mother who has to lock her children in doors as she goes down to the store to wait in line for hours for a chance to purchase the few remaining items on the shelf you can do something about that.

  • Take stock of items that you use every day that your family depends on for survival. The categories are pretty basic: Food, Water, and Medicine. You can use our Food Storage Calculator to figure out how much you need to store. The foods you regularly eat are the best, but long-term storable freeze-dried foods give you more flexibility.
  • Identify storage locations in your home and develop a good food storage rotation plan for the items you eat every day. Long-term storage is your back up.
  • Consider items that might sell out first or your family needs a little more urgently. Baby formula and diapers come to mind although both can be supplemented or even replaced by nursing and cloth diapers. Medicines your children or older loved ones need are more difficult. Try to gain additional supplies from your doctor by saying you will be traveling soon.
  • Firearms and ammunition usually seem to be confiscated at some point in a collapsing/tyrannical government. Venezuela instituted mandatory gun disarmament centers after they declared private ownership of firearms illegal. This was done they said to ‘make cities safer’ which they always conveniently forget to say that criminals don’t obey laws (hence the name criminal) and won’t turn in their illegal guns. In spite of every citizen turning in their legal firearms, Venezuela has the highest murder rate in the world. So if you don’t want to go quietly into the night make sure you have some firearms and enough ammunition stored safely away before this happens.
  • Backup Power Options – If the electric grid is compromised, having a backup solar power system could have multiple benefits. Obviously, with the means to provide yourself with power in the absence of grid-based options you can power electric devices like refrigerators to keep medicine cool or fans to offset the effects of a heat wave. You can charge your portable electronics like cell phones and tablets, recharge batteries for hand radios and if you have enough capacity you can also barter your electric charging ability for other items. You may be able to trade recharging a battery for food, medicine or ammunition.
  • Precious metals and extra cash – Banks around the world are already charging negative interest rates. They charge you to keep your money which they turn around and lend out at interest. Eventually they will limit the amount of money you can take out. Make sure you have alternate sources to purchase the supplies you need. It may eventually be on a black market type of system.
  • Have a backup plan to leave – You may find in the worst type of situation that leaving is your only option. Do you have passports for your entire family? Do you have bug out bags if you are forced to leave on foot? Do you have suitable transportation?

Prepping is about foreseeing bad situations and planning ahead so your family will be safe. Venezuela is only one example where the habits and traits of preppers could be helpful for survival. Let’s hope we never have to worry about that here, but prepare anyway in case we do. Your family will appreciate your efforts if you are forced into this type of scenario.

39 Comments

  1. xenonman

    May 28, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    I don’t think it’s accurate to use the word “hoarding” in connection with preppers. “Stocking”, “warehousing”, or “storing” might be more accurate.

    • J.d.

      May 29, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      The government has established laws that define hoarding and unfortunately, many people who have m9re than 7 of certain things may be in violation. I wish this wasn’t the case but it is. Martial law also will limit if not eliminate your rights under the constitution.

  2. Linda S

    May 28, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Prepping is NOT hoarding but those photos of the beautiful, full shelves certainly fed into what my kids refer to as my “pantry-porn” obsession.

    • Pat Henry

      May 30, 2016 at 11:46 am

      Visuals like that always warm my heart too Linda!

  3. Illini Warrior

    May 28, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Hoarders claim to be preppers because they need to excuse their mental problems vs facing their addiction ….

    More power to them if they can show SHTF usage for their floor to ceiling pile of bagged human feces ….

    • Pat Henry

      May 30, 2016 at 11:47 am

      I don’t know if it is so much Hoarders calling themselves preppers, but governments who call Preppers Hoarders. As if that (stocking up for lean times) is a mental problem.

  4. Thomas Paine in the butt

    May 29, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Tin foil hat time…

    Could all this talk of trying to link preparedness to a mental illness be laying the groundwork to seize the “hoard” of the crazy person? That to the GDP, generally dumb public, the “they” are only trying to help us, its for our own good, and not commissars?

    I’m thinking in the very beginning of a SHTF crisis while there’s still some rule of law left. Before there’s any panic runs on stores.

    Just a thought experiment… wrapped in tin foil

    • UncleCarm

      May 29, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      I think they are trying to make preppers look like crazy people so they can take the guns away for a mental disability, like they are doing to seniors and our PTSD vets.

      • Pat Henry

        May 30, 2016 at 11:48 am

        I agree that there is positioning out there to put anyone who is in any way trying to be self-reliant in a bad light.

    • BobW

      May 29, 2016 at 10:51 pm

      Anyone who thinks that this wonderful, fully-viable system of government will end is clearly mentally ill. Gun-nuts are crazy, hoarders are crazy.

      Then, when the duly elected democrat…er…city-folk…screw it, commisar tells the starving masses that brother Bob has food he’s hoarding, the pitchforks come out. Call this prepping from the other side. Or just maybe groundwork for future operations.

      To think, you could have put flat-screen tvs in every room like so many others, but no, you had to invest in long-term food storage. Silly people.

      • Thomas Paine in the butt

        May 30, 2016 at 9:07 am

        Giant screens with dear leaders picture on them 24/7.

        • Arcangel911

          May 30, 2016 at 6:44 pm

          All praise to big brother and the Leader!!!!! (and some of these TV’s have cameras built into them too…)

  5. Bolofia

    May 29, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    I’ve been inside a couple of hoarders homes where you couldn’t open the front door more than six inches, and there was no way to get to the other side of the room if you wanted to. Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder and bears no relationship to prepping whatever. Thankfully, I’ve never heard anyone attempt to establish a link between the two. Going back through the generations, my forebears were farmers. They canned or laid up enough of their crops to get them through to the next season because there wasn’t going to be anything else until the next crop came in. That was a basic requirement for survival. I suspect that people who try to establish a link between hoarding and prepping do so out of ignorance, or because they are ideologically opposed to self sufficiency. Either way, I’m sure they believe that what you worked for will be theirs by unearned right when the SHTF.

    • BobW

      May 29, 2016 at 10:55 pm

      No question that the government is ideologically opposed to self-sufficiency for the people. When more than half the populace are on the government dole in one way or another, who’s going to side against the government. He who controls the dole, control the people. Why do you think the democrats have turned into the ‘free stuff’ party? Because they know darn well, that once you hook someone on crack, they need their fix. Who of the free-stuff team is going to vote against the weekly fix?

      • Thomas Paine in the butt

        May 30, 2016 at 9:12 am

        Free stuff trumps freedom in the mind of the sheeple.

        Time to reread my favorite horror novel, 1984.

        • OwlCreekObserver

          May 31, 2016 at 10:38 am

          I reread 1984, along with Atlas Shrugged, every few years. Those two are among the very few novels that I’ve read more than once because they remind me how easily government can become an evil force if left unchecked.

          • Huples

            May 31, 2016 at 10:55 am

            Robinson Crusoe is a decent read

      • Kula Farmer

        May 30, 2016 at 10:27 am

        If people are self sufficient they have little need for government,
        Personally i have no use for the government as it is,

        • BobW

          May 30, 2016 at 4:39 pm

          You walk right into the trap, KF. Stop that stupid farming, come to the city, where you don’t have to work for anything. Its all right there. Free housing, free phones, free food. All you have to pay for is your drugs and big screen TVs.

          I know there is a use for government, I just haven’t figured out what it is.

  6. RAIDER

    May 30, 2016 at 6:34 am

    Lets clear up one vital point, STOCKPILING = Normally Individuals or Families buying goods when cheap, plentiful and readily available often un SURPLUS and setting them aside for a rainy day.
    HOARDING = Storing goods, fuel, medicines, ammo etc that are already in short supply during a crisis or disaster (often selling the goods at massively inflated prices).
    Preppers STOCKPILE when the sun is shining and use them when needed, Horders hold onto essential supplies usually for financial gain when they are desperately needed .

    • Bolofia

      May 30, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      To add to your comments:
      First of all, the compulsive hoarders that I’m aware of don’t collect items that contribute to their survival or to any economic objective. Their behavior is compulsive and, therefore, not directed toward a specific goal. The randomness of the junk they pile up in their dwelling is proof enough.
      Second, Preppers work to achieve a specific survival objective (short or long term) by acquiring a stock of useful supplies which they intend to use. Perishable goods, such as food, are rotated to maintain freshness, etc. Whether their goal is to achieve a one month supply, or one that lasts for a year or more, the goal is specific and managed. This is not the case for compulsive hoarders.
      Third, the type of hoarding that you refer to could be arbitrarily declared by any government body (local or otherwise) in a time of shortage. It doesn’t matter whether you have eight sacks of Ready Mix cement, an extra bottle of amoxicillin, or a 55 gallon drum of gas, and it doesn’t matter whether you acquired it for personal use or for bartering. If the powers that be decide to confiscate privately owned supplies (because they want them), they could justify the use of force to take it. You can forget whether is it legal or moral.

      • BobW

        May 30, 2016 at 4:41 pm

        From what I understood about compulsive hoarders, its the acquiring part, more so than the storing. Either way, its a mental defect.

    • M. "Wyatt" Howell

      June 14, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      Excellent …Noah built the Ark BEFORE it rained !!!

  7. Kula Farmer

    May 30, 2016 at 10:23 am

    I dont care what anybody calls me,,,
    When im sitting eating my spam and rice or baking some bread from some wheat i just ground up and they are standing in a line somewhere to get a bit of food i wont shed any tears for them

  8. The Wiseman

    May 30, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Hey Pal!

    Your next-door neighbor – the one who laughed at you for prepping – will be the first one to turn you in to the government as a hoarder when the law defines “hoarding” as “having more than 10,000 calories of protein and carbohydrates in your home at one time”, or similar words. IF the government can find your stores, they will confiscate it and perhaps imprison you or at least, fine you substantial cash. Did you hear me?

    THE GOVERNMENT WILL TAKE AWAY ALL YOUR STUFF, IF YOUR NEIGHBOR KNOWS THAT YOU HAVE IT!

    Don’t believe me? Check out “hoarding” during America’s WWII:

    http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/exhibits/ww2/services/ration.htm

    Don’t tell ANYONE that you are storing food/guns/ammo/fuel. NOT ANYONE! If your kids blab, you’ve got a serious problem. As soon as SHTF your “friendly next door neighbor” will be knocking at your back door and will want half of what you have “for his children…” In this case, she will “…go to the authorities and report your hoarding…” and she will be rewarded for it by the government.

    Google “WWII rationing” and “WWII hoarding”. Turning in “hoarders” was considered PATRIOTIC! A few days of no food / no water will turn all your neighbors into government snitches – especially if they are paid off in MRE’s!

    Today the IRS pays snitches 25% of whatever unpaid taxes the IRS is able to confiscate from you as a result of your neighbor’s snitching.

    THE SAME WILL APPLY TO “HOARDING” IN SHTF!

    While we’re on the subject, don’t depend upon Gold or Silver to pay for stuff. If you hand over a gold coin worth $1,200 to the supermarket checker in payment for $100 of bottled water sans-SHTF, do you suppose that he can give you change? How? In what cash? You better have the water already stashed!

    Further on gold – in 1933 newly-elected President Roosevelt declared private ownership of gold to be illegal – $10,000 fine and ten years in jail for keeping your father’s gold retirement watch, or your Mother’s gold wedding ring!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_6102

    If true SHTF occurs, your life and the life of your family will depend upon stealth and diplomacy. Your food must be hidden until your neighbor leaves for ‘better pickings’. If he has the typical three-day supply of Coke and pop-tarts aboard his home, and if you refuse to share your stuff with him, he MUST leave. Let him do so. You are the sole provider for your Family and you cannot support neighbors who did not prepare!

    If people know today what you have prepared, I seriously suggest that you move to another area and once there, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!

    • BobW

      May 30, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      That neighbor might not make it home to tell. If its SHTF, a pig’s gotta eat…

      Not that I would do something like that, but hey, I know some out there would.

  9. Arcangel911

    May 30, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    I like the whole condiments section. Lets face it folks, beans taste like beans….. might as well have a little variety! 😉

  10. Robert

    May 31, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Ok, everyone here talks about their neighbors coming over and begging for food and then turning them in for hoarding if you do not share. Simple solution! Go to your neighbors first and ask them for food. Act like you’re the one without food and starving. If they think you’re starving, than they will not be knocking on your door. Just FOOD for thought!!!!

    • Huples

      June 2, 2016 at 12:59 am

      That’s my plan. I also intend to get whatever government handouts I can. I also plan to stink and look thin and rough whenever I am outside. With a lot of scenarios that don’t involve a massive initial die off looking vaguely well fed near others will be a death sentence. I’m fairly sure the local Police will be securing all food for themselves once the initial few days have gone by.

      • Robert

        June 3, 2016 at 12:45 pm

        Yep, be the gray man or woman!!!!

  11. Heather M Lane

    June 1, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    We just moved, from a 3 bdrm apt, we had been in over 2 yrs to a large 3 bdrm house, w/garage & storage & back yard big enough for a clothes line & garden. I have been storing extra food when we could afford it…..I knew we were really out of room & had no where else to cleverly conceal the extra…PRIM reason for moving, but was dumb founded when I realize what we had & the sheer time it took to move it all. I am NOT a hoarder, I believe in feeding my family, my children, my parents, and sibling & their children. Long term (20 people) right now could feed easily 2 months. My goal a years worth. We eat from stock some & I replace some regularly. I AM REALISTIC ABOUT MY WORLD.

  12. Huples

    June 2, 2016 at 1:02 am

    Call me a hoarder. I keep old shoes now in the new shoe boxes, I have multiple things stored away.
    Can’t be a prepper and not hoard. Well I can’t live comfortably in the woods with one back pack.
    Call me a prepper. I’ve over six months food sealed up in buckets.
    However almost no one calls me a hoarder or a prepper. To know me well enough to do that I’d have to trust you with my life.
    Great article Pat

  13. John Wheeler

    June 2, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Don’t care what you call it… stockpiling, warehousing, storing, or hoarding… if that’s all you do, you are NOT a prepper. Not saying it’s not useful, but it’s a crutch — and one that can be TAKEN AWAY. What you really want to accumulate are *skills*. They won’t run out and no one can steal them from you. There’s a great series of videos at primitivetechnology.wordpress.com where the guy starts with literally NOTHING but what he can find in nature. He makes his own tools, builds several huts, makes bow and arrows — laborious, not luxurious, but a whole lot better than being cold and hungry after losing your stockpile.

  14. Badger Badgerism

    June 9, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    like the ELITE DONT HOARD…look at THEIR DUMBS….THEY HOARD

  15. emmanuelozon

    June 9, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    The greatest lesson I’ve learned from running my own businesses is: “If you don’t tell them, they don’t know.”

    If you tell everyone about the store of goods that you have prepared for the coming apocalypse, you deserve to lose it.

    As for martial law, etc. and the authorities coming to take your food…. There will be a whole lot of rotting corpses in the streets that used to think they were the authority.

  16. overit

    June 13, 2016 at 8:26 am

    I see your point, however having enough food and meds to ensure you stay strong enough to — USE any skills you have isnt a bad idea.
    ta for the link btw 😉

    • M. "Wyatt" Howell

      June 14, 2016 at 10:49 pm

      You’re both correct. A warrior must be fed to fight, work, and survive. These issues must be worked out concomitantly. Plan ahead.

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