Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Stockpiling, hoarding, and clutter

On one hand, we've got healthy and good things stored up around the home.
  • The garden vegetables are almost all in now; the rows of jars in my basement will last my family all winter long.
  • The large freezer is full of bulk-bought hamburger, turkey sausage, and bags of home-shucked corn.  We won't have to buy meat again for 6 months, if we plan carefully.
  • Yard sale-ing is done; the pile of school clothes in the storage closet ought to be enough to keep me from having to run to the store before the yard sales start in earnest again next May.
Stockpiling:  Here are the
things that I own.
These stockpiles of food and clothes are things we bought at low, summer prices, so they cost less than their winter-bought counterparts.  We bought all these things during the summer when my school is out, so I also had more shopping time.  To me, these are good examples of stockpiling.  It saves money and time, over the long run, but it takes up space.

But on the other hand, it's easy to slip over the line from stockpiling to hoarding.  My sewing closet has begun to overflow with things that I might or might not use some day, but it's hard for me to get rid of those things.  One of the big differences between hoarding and stockpiling is the time-frame:  I know we'll eat that spaghetti sauce this winter, and I know my kids will grow into those clothes.  But the sewing notions?  Um, I might need them sometime . . . maybe? . . . And meanwhile, the sheer mass of sewing stuff is taking space away from things that I actually do want to use, right now.  Time to pare that closet down, and say good-bye to a bunch of the things in that collection.  It's hard to do.  I have to keep reminding myself I could always get things like that again, if I needed to.
Hoarding:  Here are the things
that own me.

Because hoarding leads to the awful vice of clutter.  Clutter is all that stuff I have that gets in the way; it gets in the way whether I need it or not.  It's last week's newspaper mixed with tomorrow's report; it's the kids' toys and my sunglasses and the book I was reading all piled on the couch where I want to sit.  It's the pantry shelf full of food I don't ever want to eat, in a kitchen full of hungry kids looking for snacks.

Stockpiling (bulk purchases followed by wise, careful storage) is a vital part of any saving money strategy.  But like any virtue, it can become a vice when I overdo it.  

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