Compulsive Hoarding vs. Sensible Stockpiling

You probably know, or at one time knew, someone who could be described as a “hoarder.” These are people who compulsively accumulate things they don’t need and refuse to get rid of any of the useless odds and ends that clutter up their home.

A hoarder, in this sense, isn’t stockpiling in order to become more financially secure or resilient to disasters. This type of hoarder is stockpiling the wrong things for the wrong reasons.

Building stockpiles of essential items in a neat, organized, and systematic manner is the opposite behavior of a compulsive hoarder. Some may view stockpiling as eccentric. But that implies that living paycheck to paycheck and putting 100% faith in just-in-time inventory is “normal.” In reality, it makes rational economic sense to stockpile necessary items that could become scarce or a lot more expensive in the future.

This Major Online Retailer Is Big Into Prepping

The online mega-retailer recently disclosed that it has accumulated $10 million in gold and silver coins, along with three months’ worth of food for every employee. Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne made a conscious decision to prepare his company for a worst-case scenario.

In the event that the banking system collapses or the dollar hyper-inflates, he’ll be able to buy inventory and pay employees using precious metals. In the event that a disaster disrupts food supplies, his food stockpiles will ensure his workers don’t go home hungry.

Cyber terrorism expert Ted Koppel (see page 14) is stockpiling freeze-dried food for himself and his family.

Non-perishable food, bottled water, household essentials, gold and silver coins, and guns and ammo are the sorts of items worth accumulating in sufficient quantities to survive a prolonged emergency.

MREs Are Handy… Before They Go Bad

You just want to be careful with food items to avoid letting them go bad. Some amateur preppers buy huge quantities of “survival” foods such as pre-packaged Meals Ready to Eat (MREs). The problem is that most MREs have only about a 5-year shelf life – and that’s assuming they are stored in a cool place.

Some types of canned foods last longer. Raw grains, meanwhile, can last decades if stored in air-tight containers.

Adding some MREs to your food stocks isn’t a bad idea. There’s just no reason to overdo it.

Be sure to diversify your food stocks among different types of foods. To avoid having to throw anything out, you can consume some of your stored food every year (or donate it to charity). And replace what you consume with fresh new inventory.