Stockpiling versus Hoarding

It's no secret that I love couponing. I love getting a deal. Recently, TLC has begun running a show that takes couponing to the extreme.

Extreme Couponing follows coupon divas on their adventures towards getting fantastical savings.  Each episode follows two people who spend literally DAYS each week getting ready for their trips.  One lady last week spent 60 hours prepping for each of her trips!  Each of these mega-couponers has food and items stockpiled in their homes.  1000 boxes of toothpaste. 2 years worth of pasta and chips.  Enough shampoo and body wash to last through 27,000 showers.  Their homes are over run with items. showers are stuffed with toilet paper.  The underside of the kids beds are crammed with household goods. Cars don't fit in garages. Basements and extra bedrooms are crammed with candy bars, jars of pasta sauce and hamburger helper.   Extra insurance is taken out to cover the retail costs of these mini-warehouses.

Some of the worst things I've seen on the show is people wiping out shelves of mustard (even though they don't eat it), diapers (they don't have any kids) and dumping hundreds of toothbrushes in to the cart just because they will be "free" after coupons.  Very few of these 'extreme couponers' state they are donating items on a regular basis.

Ironically, the episodes of Extreme Couponing are flanked with episodes of Hoarders.

I stockpile some things, but I have a strict limit on what and how much.  For instance, most of my stockpiles are no more than 6 months worth.  Everything comes on sale eventually, I'll always be able to get more.  I also have an aversion to the idea of eating cereal that has sat in my basement for 2 years.   When asked,  DH says he would rather have a usable shower versus 9 years worth of toilet paper.

So, my question to you is when does stockpiling cross the line and become hoarding?  How much is too much?  Is it not considered hoarding if it's organized?

If you stockpile, how much do you keep?  What's a reasonable amount of something?  When do you stop buying? 


SugarandSpice said…
That's funny. I watch that show and that is what I called them. Hoarders. I stock pile. I have a stock pile that is filled with mostly stuff that will not expire and the stuff that does I do the same as you. Probably 6 month's worth. Then I plan my meal around it.
Shawn said…
If you stockpile, how much do you keep? What's a reasonable amount of something? When do you stop buying?

I keep roughly 15-18 of everything in the bathroom (toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo/body wash, deodorant, razors)...I figure that's probably about 2+ years so should be under the expiration date.

For the pantry, things are much lighter, more in the realm of 6-10 of each thing I buy, so depending if it's cereal or bags of mac/cheese family size will dictate if it's a two months or 6 months worth.

As for when I stop buying...about at those levels for that particular item, though as new items come up, I'll pick those up since they're new. And as I start clearing product, I'll replace when it goes on sale.