Our basement finishing project lingers on – we had to wait a long time for the new concrete floor to cure, and then our guys were busy on other projects, so bringing The Old Team back together again for One Last Job took a little longer than expected. Things are back in progress now but it’ll still be several weeks, I think, until it’s all done.

In the meantime, we continue to live with bins, boxes, and baskets of basement stuff all over the house. The office is the worst of it – it’s where I work all day, and where the kids keep all their craft stuff, and now it’s also the home to a huge central pile of food that would otherwise be shelved in our downstairs storage area. It’s driving me crazy having to pick my way through the jumble every time I check my email, GROWL.

One thing this whole exercise has shown me, though, is that I have become quite the little hoarder, especially in terms of food. When the kids were little, it was always an emergency if we ran out of one of their staples, and as the food allergy situation got worse, it became all the more important to have specific items in specific brand names on hand. Plus, there were so many things I always seemed to have plenty of, until I didn’t – like, I’d have half a giant bottle of canola oil one day, and the next day, suddenly empty. Or, I’d feel like there was plenty of flour for the week and then I’d make one loaf of bread and suddenly we were out.

So I started stocking up on these kind of things and keeping them in the basement. Not everything, but pretty close to everything. And if something went on sale, that was only a sign that I should do some extra stocking – pick up as many as I thought would fit on the home shelves and bring them home.

It’s saved me on more than one occasion (I’ve safely bridged the kids through more than one change-of-labeling-causing-temporary-grocery-store-shortages). I can’t count the number of times I have been mid-pie-making, and run out of a critical ingredient, only to find more of it buried in the back of the basement shelves, thus SAVING A PIE, which I think we can all agree is CRITICAL TO MAN’S SURVIVAL.

But with everything up on this level now, I’ve been trying to be more of a just-in-time type shopper, using up my backup stores with abandon (please God, do not send us any floods or famines right now) and not buying more of something until we are actually out of it. I mean, in theory, I could go to the grocery store every day – not that I WANT to, but it COULD happen, for an emergency. So why all the hoarding?

It’s been an adjustment for sure, but I think I’m getting used to it, and will hopefully continue in this mindset now that we have given up some of our storage space for finished space in the basement. On the other hand, next time we have a power outage you’ll probably find me at the Superstore buying 50 cans of soup.

Old habits die hard – but I’m working on it.

5 thoughts on “Hoarders

  1. I always wanted a big pantry of sorts where I could stock many regular used items and save myself from having to go grocery shopping as often as I do now. Same with wanting a second fridge for the fresh stuff. The reality however is that in the current house, there simply is not enough space for this. So I had to make it that if WE see something about halfway out (anything, not just food, like toothpaste, or other critical, daily used items) we start looking for sales and purchase critical item BEFORE the current item runs out. It mostly works IF I’m on the ball (because of course ‘we’ means ‘me’ and unless everyone contributes to letting me know we are running short of something, it doesn’t work). So I trained the kids with mixed success to let me know if one of the items they use but DH and I don’t usually use runs low to let me know.

    Hoarding non-food items is what the problem is HERE in this house… 🙂 (which is why I go to Goodwill about 2x per week).


    1. We’re putting a second fridge in the basement when it’s finished, and my husband is so very, very much looking forward to having an ongoing source of cold beer :). I actually think I have the same sort of mindset as you – once we run low on something, put it on the alert list and start watching for it – only my threshold for “running low” is so much higher. For me “running low” on toothpaste doesn’t mean we’re halfway through the current tube, but rather, that we’re down to just two backup tubes in the cupboard (!!). I know, it’s almost a sickness!

      I’m sure once the basement opens up again I’ll be back to stocking up. It certainly is nice to know that if you just don’t feel like going to the grocery store one day, you don’t have to – you can create from the back of the pantry. But I am going to try to keep a slightly tighter handle on things, and at least keep a better feel for what we actually already have (when we moved everything upstairs, there were like, 25 boxes of pasta in the basement, GAH).

  2. Lynn, I should put you in touch with my sister; this post reminds me of when she was living in south-east Texas and Hurricane Rita ripped through her back yard, and I mean that literally. Once they were allowed back home, they followed the neighbours’ lead and rolled the refrigerator to the curb in the 100 degree heat and taped a picture of a skull and crossbones to it! She was cured of her hoarding habits at that moment. I guess I’m trying to put a positive spin on the never-ending winter of 2013-14… at least you don’t have to make a skull poster.

    1. Oh my heavens, I can’t even imagine. It’s like my hoarding nightmare. All my lovely, lovely hoarded stuff, spoiled and destroyed! I guess that would cure me too :).

  3. I am the total opposite. I don’t have a proper pantry space, and have just one cupboard in my kitchen designated for “storage”. I have a pretty firm grocery budget ($140/week/4 people) which I try to stick to.

    We do, however, have a big freezer so when meat (or pizza) is on sale I can stock up. the only other thing I buy extra of is cereal as I refuse to pay full price. So, I find spots to squeeze it in when it’s on sale. same with toilet paper. otherwise, If there is a natural disaster, I know who to call…. you!

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