Prepping: Can It Lead To Hoarding?

Prepping Can It Lead to Hoarding

Prepping could lead to hoarding for a very small percentage of people. However, as with any condition described as a disorder there are varying degrees. We all probably “hoard” to some extent, but most of us would never get to the point where we would be eligible to get on the reality show Hoarding: Buried Alive.

Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items (MAYO Clinic, 2015).

You are not a hoarder by definition necessarily if your home becomes cluttered with items you may think you will need at some point. However, will that point ever come, and just how much do you really need. Planning is important, and knowing when to gather up items for a crisis, and knowing when to get rid of others is all part of prepping.

There is being prepared and then there is simply prepping for the sake of prepping. At some point a person may begin gathering and then refuse to discard items that have no practical use now or a foreseeable use in the future. Without a clear idea of something’s use, then why not get rid of it. Ask yourself why you saved a particular item. If you have no idea why, then it may be time to bag and toss that item.

In theory any item would have a use down the road, but look at the probability of ever using it, and then look at the fact that if you do discard an item can it be replaced at relatively little cost. If you are collecting plastic water jugs, for example, at some point you would have to start getting rid of the older ones, because you simply do not have the space to store them.

You may buy water in gallon jugs and save the empty ones for future use on a regular basis, but do you need to store every single one you have ever purchased. When you start tripping over items you have collected it may be time to bag some up and put by the curb.


You need an emergency supply of food, but you cannot just keep piling it up, and not ever incorporate the older supply into your daily menu. Even though some emergency rations have an extended shelf life you still have to inspect the food, check the dates, and use what may be getting close to its life expectancy.

You always want a fresh supply on hand for an emergency, so you do have to rotate and replace. You should always have some idea of how much you need on hand for the most obvious threats you and your community face. You need a plan, and you have to revise and adapt as the situation on the ground changes.

Survey after survey shows that only a small percentage of people in this country are prepared for any type of emergency. When a family is not prepared, and then a snow storm is predicated they panic buy. They rush out and buy generators, bags of ice melt, snow shovels, snow blowers, and then load their carts up with batteries, jugs of water, canned soups, diapers, candles and whatever else is left on the shelves.

In many cases, they have spent money that they didn’t have. They bought out of fear, their decision making processed was skewed, and they didn’t have a plan. They bought on impulse brought about by fear. They may have skipped the mortgage payment or let the car payment slide because a storm is coming and they need food and lots of it, they need milk, bread, canned food, snacks and the list goes on. This is short term hoarding to some extent. After the crisis has passed many find they didn’t use much if any of the supplies they so desperately thought they needed.

Just Got to Have Gear and Gadgets

Need or want, you do need to know the difference, and you also need to be able to differentiate between collecting items, because you are a collector and it is your hobby, and buying items you plan on using.

Collectors buy pieces and then never use them, but they may display them. They may sit for hours looking at them, still in the original box or package, never opened, and they never intend to open the box. They are not hoarders. They are collectors, and they know exactly what they are doing. They want fine art, rare firearms, certain toys, knives, coins, stamps and so on. They want and can afford things they would never use in any practical manner.

The rest of us do not have the financial resources to buy what we want just so we can say we are the only one that has that rare piece. Most of us have to budget for things we need and for things we want, and we simply cannot afford to buy things just for the sake of it. We buy and use things and when they no longer do as intended we should toss them in the trash and be done with it.

If you stop and think about it, some of what you have is simply something you wanted, and not something you needed to survive. We are talking about supplies, gear and gadgets you may pick up to survive an emergency, survive becoming lost in the wilds, survive a major natural disaster, not everyday items you need during the normal course of the day.

Everyone has a favorite knife that has seen better days a favorite pair of  hiking boots or shoes with holes in the sole, that coat that needs patching that you cannot part with. We all have been there, are there, and will be there again and again. However, when you have dozens of rusty old knives with no practical use, when you have shoes, boots or coats that cannot be worn again and yet are still in the closet, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate. Start sorting and start bagging up things you can’t use before you cannot keep track of what you do, and do not have to get you through an emergency.

MAYO Clinic. (2015). Retrieved 2015, from