Last week we learned all about how to stockpile and what to stockpile and when to stockpile in the Homestead Hints article. While reading through the first couple chilly chapters in The Long Winter, I came across this paragraph.
“Oh, look! Jackrabbits!” Carrie exclaimed. All around the stable, dozens of jackrabbits were hopping. “The rascals have been living on our hay, all through the storm,” Pa said. “I ought to take my gun and get us a rabbit stew.” But he had been standing at the window looking at them without making a move towards his gun. “Please let them go, Pa, this one time,” Laura pleaded. “When they came because they had to, they had to find shelter.” Pa looked at Ma, and Ma smiled. “We aren’t hungry, Charles, and I’m thankful we all got through that storm.” ~The Long Winter p.53
Ma knew they had enough to eat. I love how she used the words, “We aren’t hungry.” Maybe they didn’t have alot, maybe they didn’t have any on hand, but they weren’t hungry. And that’s what mattered to Ma. Her family was fed and full.
Last week I talked about how much of an item to stockpile. I still fully support having a stockpile as long as you have the room. However there is a fine line between stockpile, and just plain hoarding.
I’m sure by now most of you have seen extreme couponing. Maybe you’ve watched some videos on You Tube with other people’s stockpiles. To be quite frank, many of them are ridiculous. For the most part, we follow the guidelines that I talked about in Homestead Hints last week, we stock up what we will need until the item is on sale again. Although I also tend to stock up a little more since I also buy for my parents and my siblings. So a stockpile for 7 or more people tends to grow a little larger than that of the average person.
It’s so easy to see how hoarding happens. It’s a high to get all kinds of things for free or very very cheap. And as many of the people on the Extreme Couponing show have said something about how they just love looking at their stockpiles and how it makes them feel so good.
I’m guessing they are forgetting that all that stuff in the stockpile is material stuff. If you have what you need, shelter, food, ect, then you are set to go. That’s what Ma was saying in the above paragraph. Yes, having all that stuff is nice, being prepared and well stocked is nice, but knowing that your family is fed and taken care of, that’s what’s important.
I’ve seen many people over the last several months, new couponers, get so excited about being able to get things for free that they were paying for before. There’s nothing wrong with excitement! But there is something wrong when that excitement over a few tubes of free toothpaste turns into a closet full of the stuff.
And yes, I’ve heard every excuse in the book about why people stockpile so much. “Well, it was such a good deal I couldn’t resist!” “But it was free so it doesn’t matter!” “Well I’ve got the room for it anyways, somebody will use it!”
However the fact is that when you’ve got enough deodorant for 150 years and there’s only 2 people in your house, you’ve gone past the point of getting what you need and you are definitely in the hoarding category. And don’t think that I’m just pointing the fingers of blame because when there is 1 finger pointing out, there is 4 pointing back at you. It’s true that I have more toothpaste than average, my stockpile of body wash might be on the large size…but I know how to say no, and I can’t tell you the last time I bought either of those things. I know my limits, I know where the line is and not cross it.
If you are starting to cross that line, a good thing to do might be to start donating if you aren’t already. I really think it’s awesome when we can get things for free but there comes a point where we just can’t use it any more, but someone can. And if it’s hard to stop shopping at least head to the store knowing that the products aren’t going to be coming back to your house, but they will go to someone that really needs it.
What do you think about stockpiles? I know some people are against them entirely. Do you like to donate or have you donated before?
Make sure you check out the entire Living Like Little House series!