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Are You A Prepper Or A Hoarder? (Here’s How To Tell the Difference)

Are You A Prepper Or A Hoarder? (Here’s How To Tell the Difference)

Even though your stockpile may fit the definition of a “hoard,” chances are quite high that you are NOT actually a “hoarder” in the contemporary and now commonly used sense of the word.

The contemporary and common use of the word “hoarder” indicates a person who accumulates things in a disorganized, messy, emotional and non-functional manner. Hoarders typically hold onto non-utilitarian (even broken) things, and collect to the point where their living space does not work for its intended function. When you hear or read the word “hoarder,” the image of a pack rat house stuffed to the rafters with every table top covered and only narrow spaces to walk through comes to mind. The hoarder is driven by emotion. The items hoarded do not serve a useful function and tend to actually interfere with the individual’s capacity to function or use their living space as intended.

In contrast, a prepper’s main goal is a functional supply of items. Preppers accumulate items with a plan and a purpose, and prioritize the collection and storage of items in an organized manner.

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The definition of a prepper (according to Urban Dictionary) is: “A person who believes a catastrophic disaster or emergency is likely to occur in the future and makes active preparations for it, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies.”

You are a prepper if the majority of the following statements are true:

  1. Your stockpile and home are reasonably clean.
  2. The items you stockpile are functional.
  3. Your stockpile is organized.
  4. You can use the items you are storing within your lifetime.
  5. You agree with the saying “store what you eat and eat what you store.”
  6. You are prepared. You do not have to go to the store to “pick up a few things” when a major storm is predicted.

You are a hoarder if three or more of the following statements is true:

1. Items in your house are taking over space or furniture meant for eating, sleeping, walking, or other normal human activities.

2. Despite the fact that items in your house are taking over space and furniture meant for eating, sleeping, walking or other activities, you are emotionally attached to these items and reluctant to let them go.

3. You are storing non-functional items. For example, broken items, or perhaps stacks of newspapers, or stacks of magazines, plastic bags, shoes or any particular item or groups of things for which there is no realistic use or functional purpose for amount stored. How does this differ from a collection? A collection is organized and/or has monetary or sentimental value. These items do not.

4. Your items have been gathered without a plan, and you’ll organize them “someday.”

5. During a resource shortage, you collect more than you need, or more than you can reasonably use, and you hide these resources away (in comparison, a prepper will already have resources stored and will not rush out to secure more).

6. You do not have the food and supplies at home needed to get through a three-day power outage without running to the store to “pick up a few things.”

Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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  1. This is a ‘fine-line’ kind of issue…some of the things that are listed here as ‘non-functional’ items actually do have a purpose…the difference being, are you actually prepared to use them for a purpose other than what they were originally created for…

    • Yep I when I was a kid I remember my grandpa’s junk pile. One day we were cutting bushing out the tubular body of an old brass lamp, that great depression “don’t though it away”. A trick of the pile is to sort the junk by the plans you have for it.

  2. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure! Therefore, an “objective” observer would say a person has all these things that serve no purpose, but the owner of the items is the only one who has to like them in order to keep them (as long as there isn’t some sort of city ordinance where they live!).
    The real problem with both hoarders and preppers is that, even if they collect all this stuff to help them on some doomsday event, their extreme amount of items on hand to help them through are not going to be able to be utilized long because all the other people who don’t have anything are going to figure out that you have useful goods and are going to come after your items in the middle of the night…upon which we will either just take the stuff or kill you too to close up the “loose ends”!

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