Are you hoarding supplies? I’m supposed to be wrapping up my month of blog posts talking about paper: as in organizing and filing papers. Instead, I’m talking about hoarding supplies like toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and cleaning products.
Up until recently when we talked about hoarding, we were talking about a home we may think is filled up or overflowing with stuff. Or maybe we would be referring to a friend of relative we couldn’t visit because their home was so full, they couldn’t have anyone over.
What is the Hoarding Disorder?
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) says that the Hoarding Disorder occurs in between 2 and 6 % of the population. That’s a lot of people. Those diagnosed with the Hoarding Disorder save random items and store them haphazardly. People challenged by the Hoarding Disorder have tremendous difficulty letting go of things they have saved. In fact, they often save so many things that their homes are completely filled up. Click here for more details on the Hoarding Disorder. This is not what we’re talking about now.
Now, when we talk about hoarding, we’re talking about people who are fearful of not being able to get the things they need to feed their family, keep their homes clean, and feel safe. They stock up on these items and buy more than they will use to feel safe in their homes.
This is about control. We have no control over the virus. Having no control is an unfamiliar feeling for us (those of us living in the United States). So, we control what we can. Many people are stockpiling (hoarding) supplies so that they have control over some part of their life right now.
The news in Atlanta frequently posts stories, interviews, with truck drivers who tell us that they are delivering supplies to stores daily. These truck drivers are telling us that we don’t need to buy more than our family requires because they are delivering fresh supplies all the time. I can tell you personally I believe that is true here in Atlanta and I hope it is true where you are also. The fabulous, tirelessly working employees at the Publix near me work every evening to restock the shelves but no matter what time of day I go to Publix the shelves in the cleaning aisles are absolutely bare.
Life changing event
We know that hoarding behaviors are often triggered by a life changing event. This Corona Virus has certainly changed our lives. We are being told to practice social distancing, to stay 6 feet or more away from other people. Businesses have closed and people are fearful. Children are out of school and parents are finding out just how hard it is to be a teacher.
We are living through a disaster, that is apparent. Experience tells us that we have to hunker down and be prepared when disaster strikes. We close in on ourselves and protect the things we hold dear. Some people have done just that by hoarding supplies. They have gathered the things in their homes that make them feel safer and more in control.
Did not prepare
What about other people? Some people did not prepare by running out and buying a month’s worth of frozen food, bottled water, paper towels, and toilet paper. These people are also looking for essential cleaning supplies and they can’t find them. If you have more than you need, consider sharing. Ask your neighbor if they are running out of something. If you have more than you will use in a couple of weeks or a month, please share your supply. That would be so kind.
Going to extremes
Some people say extreme times call for extreme measures. Maybe the people who are hoarding supplies believe that these are extreme times. Certainly, they are difficult and challenging times but let’s look at how we have risen to the occasion.
Doing our best
Our truck drivers are doing their best to supply our stores, our restaurants have set up themselves up to provide more takeout meals, people are working from home, orchestras are practicing together via zoom, business meetings are happening, organizations are providing online workshops and classes and there is more. We will get through this. When? No one knows. Have faith that we will. We are strong, resourceful, innovative, and determined.
In the meantime, please stop hoarding supplies. If we all just buy what we need plus a little extra and have faith that when we need more it will be in our stores, we will all be better equipped.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane teaches busy people how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their lives. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing and in working with people affected by ADD, Hoarding, and chronic disorganization.