“What is the difference between being prepared and hoarding?” “Is prepping considered hoarding?” Here are my thoughts in response to these questions.
Defining the Difference
Hoarding is a disorder where people have a “perceived” need to keep things and where they feel distress at the thought of parting with anything. This can lead to houses piled with garbage, junk, and unnecessary items.
Preparedness, on the other hand, involves analyzing potential hazards and risks. A prudent person then plans a way to minimize the identified risks and hazards. This is why schools have fire drills, businesses train their people for emergencies, and we prepare Bug out Bags for potential evacuation.
Prepping involves slowly and methodically gathering the food, supplies, clothing, fuel, and other needed items to protect against unexpected events. Most “preppers” are not those who rush to a grocery store to buy up everything in sight when a hurricane is coming their way. They don’t need to, because they have done the work ahead of time and have their own supplies already. Foresight in prepping is not considered hoarding.
There media like to paint “preppers” as people on the fringes of society who go to extremes. Most preppers are normal, sensible people who just want to be ready for emergencies.
I think the distinction between hoarding and preparedness also lies in the motivation.
In my opinion, hoarding is where you can never have enough “stuff” for yourself. That “stuff” can include food, survival supplies, ammo, etc. Like the rich man in the parable in Luke 12:16-21. He wanted to build a bigger barn to hold all his stuff so that he could have a life of ease to Eat, Drink, and be Merry with no consideration of others. That didn’t turn out too well for him.
On the other hand, being prepared so that you can help your family, friends, and others in need, is a good thing. If your motivation in accumulating your preps includes helping others as well as yourself, I think that follows more in line with Being Prepared and less with hoarding. Being Prepared and prepping is not considered hoarding. The community can better face disasters when each home has stored food and supplies.
Once you start to think about things you might need in an emergency, it’s very easy to find uses for everyday objects. It’s very easy to let it take over your life and house. Organization is key. You must know what you have, and where it is located. Emergency supplies will do no good if you can’t find them when a crisis arrives. Using an inventory system can help with this. I personally use an app called Pantrify to inventory my food and supplies. It is available for Android phones. There are similar products available for Apple.
What about the Clutter?
Sometimes being prepared can look a little messy in the short term, especially when you’re in the middle of a project. I have experience in that. My living and dining rooms were a disaster while I was updating our family Bug Out Bags (BOBs). Making sure I had included what we need, and taking pictures for the blog resulted in a type of organized chaos. To the casual observer who didn’t know what was going on, it may have seemed quite cluttered. But now our BOBs are ready and sitting nicely on their designated shelves in my garage.
People who live in small spaces may also have their food storage stacked behind and under furniture; in corners and closets; and even forming “tables” in the middle of the room. This is ingenious and inventive.
We live in a disposable society. There is such a huge push in the world to get rid of everything. To embrace minimalism. Because, you can always go to the store to get what you need, right? That type of thinking has flaws. We saw that clearly last year. Empty store shelves and disrupted supply chains made shopping a hit or miss proposition.
Prepping as an Investment
Even now, many products are still hard to find. Some products aren’t being produced anymore. Others suffer from a supply chain that can’t keep up with the demand from people who suddenly recognize the item’s value. With this scarcity, comes rising prices.
The best way to protect your family from the increasing prices of everyday items is to store what you use. Ideally, you need to have on hand a year’s worth of all consumables. This includes food, medicines, cleaners, toiletries, and yes, toilet paper. Storing the supplies you need lets you ride out short-term shortages, smooth out price spikes, and take advantage of sales. In addition to the savings, you’ll also have peace of mind.
Actively storing, using, and rotating your food and supplies also ensures freshness and usability. This type of lifestyle enables us survive many unforeseen events. It should not be considered hoarding.