Hoarders, Part 1 - Extreme Stockpiling


Do you know any "hoarders?" This term has become quite popular now because of the TV show by that name. I have never seen the show, but have lived through some experiences with folks who have been hoarders.

My most recent and by far the most serious case of hoarding that I've experienced took place about 2 years ago. The man who lived in our house before we bought it was a hoarder. He was my husband's uncle and he passed away. As part of the family, we were involved in cleaning out the house to put it on the market for sale. Eventually, we made it clear that we were interested in buying the house and the rest is history. But this week I want to share a few pictures of our house, before it was our
house and talk a bit about hoarding. Today the focus is specifically on "Extreme Stockpiling."

I am all for a great bargain. If you read this blog regularly, you know that I love getting items for free or for super-cheap and will often stockpile those items for future use. But there is a line that can be crossed, when stockpiling items you will use in the next few months turns into Extreme Stockpiling. This would involve saving mass quantities of an item that you do regularly use or think you will use in the future. Extreme Stockpiling caused some of the clutter that had to be cleaned out of this house we now live in. How about some pictures to show you what I'm talking about.
There were dozens of cases of Coca-Cola that had been stored in the basement for years. So many years, in fact, that the Coca-Cola had evaporated out of the unopened cans. The cans were now empty and almost weightless, as you can see in this picture of a young boy who could lift 9 24-packs of unopened cans!

A picture of some of the 24-packs stacked in the basement, floor to ceiling. This pop had been on the basement floor for so long that it eventually started leaking out of some of the cans and onto the concrete floor. There are dozens of coin-sized pits and grooves in the concrete where the pop had been, eating away at the concrete. These remain there today.

Another shelf showing regular grocery items that were stockpiled and never used.
A serious supply of canned chili and canned green beans lining the hallway.

Stacked packs of beer on the steps going to the basement.

One of the most frustrating parts of cleaning the house of a hoarder is to see how much money was wasted on items that were never used and are now expired. All of the money used to buy the pop, the beer, the canned goods in these pictures - thousands of dollars, no doubt - was wasted! The items sat until they were of no good to anyone.

Lesson #1
Only stockpile what you know you will use in the next few months. No need to buy up everything on the store shelf just because of a low price. There will be other deals next week, next month and next year. Consider what you can realistically store in your home and how much you will realistically use in the near future.

Lesson #2
It's not a good deal if you don't really need it. Don't buy any item that you don't have a use for or a plan for (such as donating it to someone who can use it now).

Lesson #3
As much as possible, keep all stockpiled items visible. I'm not saying to keep them out in the open for the world to see. But you need to know what you have and how much of it you have on hand. Items that are out of sight will be quickly forgotten. Instead of grabbing from your stockpile, you'll buy a new one at the store. A forgotten stockpile is pointless!

When my husband's uncle was getting older and his knees were getting bad, he was no longer able to go downstairs. Downstairs is where most of his stockpiled items were kept. This would've been a great time for him to have someone help him move all of those items upstairs where he could see them and therefore use them. Instead, the items stayed in the basement and went bad, expired, or evaporated away - doing nobody any good at all!

More pictures and commentary to come tomorrow on this topic of hoarding...


marineof2 said...

Wow...I am speechless! I remember you saying a little bit about how he was a hoarder before, but....wow. That is certainly extreme!

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