Preparedness: Being Prepared vs Hoarding

Trials and Tribulations Offer Us Life Lessons, if We Look for Them.

My hope is that when things become closer to normal from our current crisis, most people will do some soul searching about the topic of being prepared – or being more self-reliant. 

Too often others have set in judgement of people, like me, who believe in being prepared. We are often called paranoid. Ironically, not that long ago, being prepared was considered a way of life. It was called being considerate of others when we could take care of ourselves in a time of crisis. My blog Preparedness: Not Paranoia explains that thought process.

I can guarantee that it wasn’t the prepared people who were emptying stores and hoarding items (still haven’t figured out the TP thing) – instead it was just the opposite. We were the ones staying out of the fray, watching the craziness from the sidelines. We didn’t need to be there. We were already prepared for something like this.

The panicked and unprepared—many didn’t even really know what they needed—were the people who emptied the shelves of anything that resembled food or supplies. Most overbought with no idea how much they could even consume before expirations dates would come and go. And all those people hoarding TP might be wishing they had, instead, thought to store up on dried goods like beans and rice and flour.

There was no master plan for most of these people. They’ll soon see that it doesn’t do any good to have boxes and boxes of pancake mix with no eggs to go with them. Or stacks of boxed macaroni dinners with no milk. To be properly prepped takes time, forethought and planning. Something most people didn’t have time to do because they waited until the last minute to react. I can’t imagine the panic those people were feeling!


I’m not making fun of those who weren’t prepared. But I am saying let’s learn from this.

As example: weeks ago, before the panic buying started, many of you contacted me privately to ask what you could do to be prepared for a quarantine. Because you asked for advice and took quick action you were able to stay away during that panic buying mode. And you had plenty of stock to chose from – before the shelves were stripped bare. Being proactive is smart – even if you have some doubts that it will play out as you feared. At worst, you don’t have to buy food or supplies for a while. We all have enough stress dealing with the news every day, we certainly don’t need to add to it!  

Food PantryMost people who prepare aren’t the Doomsday Preppers you see on TV – and most of those people aren’t either, really. They’ve been forced to follow a script.

People who prep, like me, are everyday people who have learned skills from our grandparents and parents on how to do things for ourselves. We know how to plan an entire year for food, if need be. We can garden and preserve our harvest. We know how to cook meals from scratch. We can sew and mend clothes. Most of us know how to hunt and fish. We also don’t need to hoard because we know what we need and can use up in a set amount of time. Do we engage in those activities every day? No. We live busy lives, just like you. But the difference is, we have the knowledge and experience, should we should need it. That’s why I prefer the term Self-Reliance. And we have a master game plan that allows us to slowly add to our stores as we need, without a huge investment all at once. And no panic buying.

It’s not too late to take up this line of thinking of planning ahead. Production is going on around the clock. Supplies will again line store shelves. When they do, instead of hoarding, I hope people will purchase responsibly because they better understand what they truly need. Sure, when you buy one can of green beans, get an extra one for your storage. Just don’t take them all! That way everyone can get what they need and there will still be product next week as well. We can all get through this without the panic. And couldn’t we all do with less stress?

I’m listing below some of my Blogs on this topic, so you can easily find them. Click on the ones that interest you. You can also search under Categories in the right hand sidebar for even more posts.  I hope you find them helpful.

Preparedness: Depression Era Lessons

Preparedness:  Where to Begin?

Preparedness: Food Storage for Emergencies

Survival: What if You Need to Evacuate

My thoughts are with everyone for good health ~


  1. Danielle

    Very timely. Hopefully people will learn from this. We never know when the unexpected will happen.

    My family thought I was going a little overboard when I got into prepping during the 2012 thing, but at least I don’t have the stress of worrying about food right now.

    • indy

      I’m always happy to hear about how preparing for emergencies and the unexpected have helped someone have less stress (or panic) in their lives. We have enough to worry about right now, don’t we? It’s one less thing to stress about when we know we have food and supplies to last us through tough times. So glad you made that decision and stuck to it! Thanks for reading and commenting Danielle!

  2. Sarah

    This is so insightful.

    I’m troubled by the idea that those who have enough right now must have been the same panic buying hoarders. I keep seeing people mentioning those with any stockpile as “hoarders,” because there are shortages. There is a huge difference!

    I am also troubled by the idea that, because supplies are limited, we should be forced to give out our supplies to others. My family has needs, too, and we worked hard to plan and prepare for the unexpected. I should not be expected to bail others out at a detriment to my children simply because no one thought this could happen in modern America.

    Even worse, we are being called selfish. I don’t understand that at all! I think it is UNselfish to sacrifice things you want throughout the year so you may have a stockpile in case an emergency, as you pointed out.

    I hope many people learn from this and change their habits. The fable about the grasshopper and the ant needs a revisit in our current society.

    • indy

      I completely agree with all your points, Sarah. It’s one reason I wrote this blog. There was a time when being prepared meant you were being responsible – not paranoid or a hoarder. To me, the people who are selfish are those who did not plan ahead, did not sacrifice all through the year so they could be well stocked for an emergency, and yet expect others to take care of them – including the government. That’s a mindset I see far too often in our country right now. And yes, the ant and the grasshopper fable needs to be shared once more! Thank you for reading this blog and I deeply appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  3. Debbie

    Fast forward to June, 2021.
    Hopefully people learned from this past year and will put these ideas into practice for the rest of their lives. It was worst for those who eat out all the time & never cook. I can’t imagine!
    Or worse of all, the people in China who are forbidden to have food storage & were locked into their homes with metal bars, being told it was “for the good of the country.” I wonder how many of them starved to death! Now China is gloating that they were right & Communism is good—not! (Funny that they allowed international travel after closing travel in their own country to stop the spread!) Let’s hope America never gets like that! In retrospect, this might have been a dry run. I heard Biden say this week that the “next time” there is a pandemic …. really? There are people in this world who want total control of our lives. It behooves is to be prepared, & encourage our extended families & communities to do the same.

    • indy

      Well said, Debbie! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. The more that people are prepared for emergencies, the less they depend on the government, and this also allows resources to get to those who maybe can’t prepare as well, such as the elderly. My heart goes out to those in China!


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