Canadian Quick Question: When Does Stockpiling Become Hoarding?

Other / Canada

A topic raised in our last Canadian Quick Question (regarding deal limits) was hoarding.  A few of our SC readers commented that people who clear the shelves are “hoarders”.  There is a fine line between stockpiling and hoarding and it appears that line is different for everyone.  Some feel people are hoarders when they take more than they need.  Others feel hoarding is when the stuff in your home begins to interfere in your daily living.  And finally, some feel hoarding is when your living space is both cluttered and unsanitary. 

When do you feel someone has become a hoarder?  Is someone a hoarder when they purchase more than they need or does their home need to be packed to the ceiling with junk?  Let us know!

19 responses to “Canadian Quick Question: When Does Stockpiling Become Hoarding?”

  1. BethOrlik says:

    I was just discussing this with the hubby last night and we agreed that enough to sustain our family for 6 months is reasonable but anything beyond that should be donated to local charities to help spread around the savings. 😀 looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts!

  2. erica says:

    I hate when my friends call me a hoarder. Hoarding is a mental illness. We’ve all seen the show, and we all know that hoarding is not what we’re doing. A hoarder becomes attached to physical objects and can’t let them go…. although I’m somewhat attached to my stockpile lol, I share it, I use it and I donate from it. That is not hoarding!!

  3. Orual says:

    If you know any hoarders personally you know there is more to it than just having a large supply of soup or toothpaste. There is something else very wrong in that person’s mind. Though arguably clearing out 3 or 4 stores of OJ or stocking up for the zombie apocalypse suggest something wrong in the mind as well.

    When there are only 3-5 of something left, be my guest, clean the shelf. When there are 36, leave some for the next guy.

    Buying for charity. Food banks and shelters can often make money donations go further than we can, even when couponing (unless the item is free). Many companies give them major discounts when they know the stuff is going to the homeless. And lets face it, we can walk into a store and say we are buying for the homeless, and not be, but chances are if a shelter orders a pallet of toothpaste it isn’t for the director.

  4. adora says:

    When it lowers your quality of life.

    It has to do with the management of your stuff more than the amount of stuff. If you have a large storage room in which you can organize your stuff like a small convenient store, having everything you need for several years without spoiling. It’s fine if you don’t spend too much time doing so.

    But I find that many couponers have loads of toilet paper taking over every room, and spending way too much time to get free or cheap stuff that they ignore their family or neglect to develop real useful skills. Always remember: if you spend more than 6 minutes to save $1, you are working under minimum wage!

    • Bunky says:

      I agree with Adora. If stockpiling interferes with living space, it’s hoarding – neat shelves or not. I have a basement closet to handle paper goods, a shelf in the laundry room to store laundry supplies, a closet in one bathroom to store personal care items (just 2 shelves), frozen products go in two refrigerator’s freezers (one in the basement) and a tiny 3 cu. ft. basement freezer and I’m lucky enough to have a lot of kitchen cabinets with 2 small pantry closets and a window seat/ bench to store canned & dry goods & cleaning supplies. That’s enough, folks!! If there is too much stuff, it becomes confusing and I don’t like being overwhelmed.

  5. Melanie says:

    I think we can’t judge. People have different motives and reality. For example, I live in mountain, 1h of cars from store. And I have access to just a few stores. So, I have to think on a year for the stuff I buy, to be sure to not spend too much on it. For a family of five, it means a lot of stuff. And we usually don’t waste things and use what we bought. But from outside it could look like hoarding, when I’m sure it’s not. That’s my reality, but there is a lot of different reality. So, my point is that we should not judge others.

  6. Donna Williams says:

    I’ve been in school for four years as a “mature” student. Last year I stumbled across couponing on Facebook and then watched the show Extreme Couponing! LOL

    Well Canadian Couponing is certainly much harder than the states I’l tell you that and a lot more restrictions apply here that’s for sure.

    But… now that I’m done school and unemployed and looking for work in a dead job market. I’ve been stockpiling for months. My cupboards are just about at capacity and I figure I have enough food for 2 1/1 to 3 months if things go desperately wrong.

    Pretty much I just have to buy fresh produce now and pick up the odd can or packaged good as it depletes or I see a great sale or get a great coupon deal.

  7. I think when you have more then a years worth of products… but I think some people will always think that stock piling is hoarding unfortunately.

  8. hogama says:

    I’d say when your stockpile is in a PILE and it’s taking over every room… then you might be a hoarder. (I can see this discussion starting to look like ‘You might be a Redneck….’)

  9. tobiwobi says:

    Never? all stockpile pics that people post are well organized and categorized. It’s not the amount of stuff, it’s the condition its in – is it garbage or is it food and supplies that can sustain you. are there bugs crawling all over it. is everything in a large dirty stinky pile. are someone’s neatly stacked laundry detergents ruining their life. I don’t see at all how stockpiling is even related to hoarding.

  10. tobiwobi says:

    The real question is: when does stockpiling become obsessive compulsive disorder?

  11. kerry says:

    When items expire,or you have to give away products because you have way more than you need.

  12. coley3 says:

    I don’t think its hoarding ever. Not that I have seen anyway. If something expires then couponers throw it away. And a hoarder can’t throw things away. So if you are keeping things that are going bad after you stockpiled it then maybe hoarding is an option. But otherwise we all collect things at a different rate and according to what we need. I have a thing for laundry soap and like to have around 10 on hand. But let’s say for cleaning products I don’t love them that much so I have less hanging around at a time. For other people it could be things like toilet paper or soup. It doesn’t make us hoarders it makes us different from each other.
    Also couponing for me is a hobby. So I don’t mind spending lots of time at it as I don’t do other things like cake decorating or scrapbooking etc. So to me its time well spent with the benefit of cheap groceries at the end:) Its not obsessive. I don’t have to save money and it doesn’t interfere with my daily living. I just enjoy doing it. So stockpile here I come.

  13. silverbullet71 says:

    In my experience, I have found that people like us (smartcanucks!) not only stock up when there’s a great deal, but we also share with others. My friends who don’t coupon never give anything to anyone, they are so cheap. But everyone I know who is a couponer, will give the shirt off their back to help another out because they can. I saw a couponing show once based in the US and 2 women were being interviewed. They said all their friends and family know they stock up so when there’s a snowstorm or something, they come knocking and these ladies generously give people what they need, since they got most of it for free.

    I agree with what most people have said, that most couponers will give stuff away or throw it away if required. Hoarders cannot get rid of anything, even when it’s disgusting and rotting away. As well, Hoarders are not organized – their homes look like there was a disaster and all their possessions are hidden under all the rubble!

  14. Tina says:

    Interesting write up

    “When do you feel someone has become a hoarder? Is someone a hoarder when they purchase more than they need or does their home need to be packed to the ceiling with junk? Let us know!

    Ok what are you suppose to do if ppl tell you about these hoarders. lol. It is just funny write. It looks like written for TV show and these hoarders are brought for interview.

  15. Scubabare says:

    Couponing and hoarding are 2 completely different topics!

  16. Astrogal says:

    I think it’s hoarding when you have enough boxes of cereal to last a lifetime! The thing that irks me most about extreme couponers on TV is when they buy dozens of boxes of the same item, items they can’t possibly use up within a reasonable amount of time before they go bad, and they are stockpiling dozens and dozens of boxes and cans of food and they keep buying more and more instead of just using up what they have. At that point people are just too darn greedy in my opinion, they should think of donating their excess piles to charity, as I’m sure there are lots of hungry poor people out there that could benefit from it more than they could.

  17. Diana says:

    I know a few people who are borderline hoarders and one of the things that characterizes them is chronic disorganization. The ones I know would never be organized enough to coupon or save. It takes an organized mind to see something on sale that you actually use and then remember you have a coupon for it!

    To me, it starts to run into hoarding when you buy things you won’t use. If I get a coupon and there is a sale that makes it free, if it’s something I won’t use I give it to the food bank. I stock up and collect coupons for things I know I will use. It would be silly when things that I use everyday or every week go on sale that I not get enough to use until it will go bad!

    Though, my grandmother also refused to pay full price for toilet paper. A little family tradition I have carried forward!


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