…albeit mostly aimed at people who would die rather than read this!
A glut of something useful or edible does not constitute a hoard. The slowly-diminishing store of marmalade, crab apple jelly & other preserves in the garage is not a hoard; it was made to use up gluts & it’s there to be eaten & enjoyed as well as given away. It has all been made within the last two years – now eat it, before I’m forced to let this year’s crops rot on the trees & bushes! The fact that it didn’t come from a supermarket or contain 70% sugar does not mean that it’s not fit for human consumption.
Helpfully throwing out things that the helper considers naff isn’t actually helpful at all, especially if, like my kitchen timer, there is only one and it is in constant use. If you don’t like the chicken-ey look of the thing, buy me one that works that we all like. And having more of some things than most people also isn’t hoarding, if they are actually needed & being used, like the contents of my spice rack. I do know that most people do not have 20 different herbs and spices in their kitchen, but I cook 95% of our meals & snacks from scratch and all of those are ingredients in things I prepare & cook regularly. Not one of them is anywhere near out of date.
Sometimes “hoarding” is simply a response to rapidly-changing circumstances. Yes, there are probably too many baking tins in my cupboard, but as the number of people in the household is still subject to dramatic variations in a very short time, I still do need four loaf tins some of the time, and often without notice. However I will concede that we have far too much cutlery; since we no longer have a dishwasher, we no longer need 4 x 7 of everything. But it’s good, well-balanced stainless steel stuff, and we do have space to store it, so I am not planning to throw it out just yet but to Freecycle it when it’s clear that none of you needs it. I am also really, really narked about plastic ice-cream tubs, which are stealing some of the space that the loaf tins could otherwise sensibly be kept in; why can they not be recycled in our area? The answer here is obvious; not to buy ice-cream, but to make it in future, if people think they really need it.
And where do you draw the line between “preparedness” and hoarding? There are two big packs of lentils in my cupboard that have gone out of date; I am still planning to eat them as they’re not that far gone (late 2011) and I won’t replace them until they are nearly empty, but I do believe in keeping some basic stocks in hand in case of unexpected contingencies. In a large household, that means more than in a smaller one; a tray of twenty tins of baked beans isn’t a hoard, it’s just a month’s supply in a household that contains 3 or 4 young men. I also like to buy plenty of storeable food when I see a good deal; I do rotate the stocks as things come in so that the oldest get used up first. But that’s why it takes me an hour to unpack our monthly supermarket shop & there are tins & packets all over the kitchen floor for that hour; if you’re tripping over it, it makes more sense to help me do it properly than to shout at me.
And anyone who recycles my carefully-saved jamjars just as we come into peak preserving season clearly hasn’t learnt the lesson from when their father recycled all my wildly-expensive Le Parfait jars “because they hadn’t been used in weeks…”
Well, I do feel better for getting that off my chest – oh dear, chests – yes, I do need to do something about the two chests of perfectly-good fleece under the stairs…
Edited to add: in case you think I’m backtracking or prevaricating up above, more stuff went out today – another bootload to the Tip, & the boot has now been refilled with things to drop off to a charity shop tomorrow. A big bag of yarn went off to two young friends starting to knit, and some needlework kits flew away on Freecycle. Two items sold, one on Ebay (off to the States!) & one elsewhere. And it’s a free listing weekend on Ebay so I’ve earmarked at least 3 other items to list, one of them large… but there are still several huge piles of stuff to tackle. Slow & steady wins the day…