Do We Need to Stockpile?

clear glass jars with assorted foods

If I feel insecure, I borderline hoard.

I know why I do this. My family refused to toss anything if they could remotely imagine a use for it, and shortly after I entered adulthood I ended up living on less money than even I find comfortable (and I don’t need much to be comfortable).

I suspect that I’m not alone in my tendency to stockpile items I feel I may need. Since the start of COVID, I’ve watched everyone (literally) begin to lay in large supplies of at least one thing they fear might run out. For some it is food. Others collect money. Bathroom tissue, sanitary napkins, and pet food are other common items being collected.

But do we really need to stockpile, even now?

Sure, in a worst-case scenario we might see some empty shelves in the stores, but in my area at least, there is always a store or two in town that hasn’t ran out of what you need.

And even if we can’t find what we want/need at that moment, would it kill us to make do with something else until the shelves were restocked? Would it kill us to switch brands for a few days, or try something new?

And when does it go from stockpiling “just in case” to actual hoarding?

I ask because, despite the fact that I had to discard a curbie’s worth of expired food that I acquired at the beginning of the COVID era, I am still being encouraged by friends and family to stockpile food. I should start a garden, learn to “can,” freeze, and dehydrate. I need to buy a carload of bathroom tissue. Don’t forget the cleaning supplies!

I am considered reckless for not stocking up, despite the fact that I don’t eat enough to justify the amount of food I purchase on a normal basis.

How Much is Enough?

Seriously, folks–how much food does one person need?

And it’s not just food I’m discussing. How much bathroom tissue, notebook paper, clothing, and cleaning supplies is a reasonable amount to keep on hand?

When do we look around and say enough with the stockpiling?

What is your opinion on the subject? Do you believe that it is wise to stockpile, especially in the COVID age? Why or why not? If you have stocked up, what items have you focused on? Do you focus upon consumables or have you began to include durable “disaster” goods like generators, candles, batteries, chargers, and so forth in your supplies?

What is your logic for this?

Do you feel that you have enough of certain items or do you feel the need to acquire more?

While there are right or wrong answers to the question of stockpiling, I would really love to hear your opinions on the subject. I have wrestled with the dilemma of stockpiling for decades and, as I move forward into this new era of solitary living, I could use your advice.

Please help. If you have any thoughts or advice to share, would you kindly take a moment to drop them in the comment box at the end of this post? If you know of someone who stockpiles (or refuses to), would you mind asking them to share their opinions on the subject?

Thank you so much, you are awesome!

Hugs, Annie


If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!

I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

5 thoughts on “Do We Need to Stockpile?”

  1. We don’t stockpile. We keep shopping so stores can stay in business. (OK we did buy extra toilet paper but only one extra package which we then hung onto just in case. It’s still in the cupboard.)

  2. I stockpiled like crazy at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. I ended up donating most of the food to a food bank and I still am using the toilet paper and paper towels I bought back then. I also still have disinfecting wipes and bleach from that time.
    I was caught up in the frenzy around me regarding shortages. I bought toilet paper whenever it was available and was able to provide things to friends (mostly TP and Clorox wipes).
    Since then, I have stopped shopping at Costco, I am using the extras I have on hand, and I think I have learned a lesson.
    Oh, I also planted a garden – or should I say a groundhog , skunk, and squirrel buffet?
    Now, I am determined to use what I have and to buy what I need.
    That being said, I do try to have one extra of things I use often (dish liquid, shampoo, toothpaste). But, one backup is enough —- now that I have regained perspective.

    1. Hi Belinda!

      I was very concerned as well. Stocked up on lots of things, the same as you did. I managed to use up everything but the food. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep a close watch on the expiration dates. If I had, I would have donated my excess as well.

      But as long as we live and learn from this experience we will come out of it wiser. To me, that makes it worth the expense.

  3. Humans are creatures of habit so many people stockpile because their parents did. Our ancestors would stockpile for the lean months of winter and honestly we often do things without explaining to our children why because we think that the reason should be apparent. This is how we lose knowledge. The why should be written down along with the other stuff we think is obvious.

    I’ll usually keep a certain number of canned goods for the sake of having them for an impromptu meal or in case I have to change the menu all of a sudden. I will also keep a certain amount of rice and dried beans for just in case or to make sure that I at least have something in the house to eat in case everything else goes to hell. When there were more of us in the family I obviously stored more food and getting out of that habit took a bit. What broke me of it was the waste. I had to throw things away because they weren’t being used. I hate wasting food. I will always keep some rice and beans around for emergencies but I’ve cut way down on the amounts and I try to make sure I use them before a year is up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *