Hoarding: A Condition More Serious Than The Need For Toilet Paper


Hoarder room packed with stored boxes, electronics, files, business equipment and household items.

Haidyn Fritz, Writer

In recent weeks, the toilet paper supply and demand market has been plummeting and rising respectively due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Of course, this is ridiculous and not necessary, but the American race has been known to panic in pandemics the way a fearful child panics at a Halloween party. But, the reality behind hoarding is far more serious than the bazillion memes making light of the matter.

Hoarding is identified as a mental illness (as well as a highway advertisement billboard) and shouldn’t be joked about, but it’s quite ironic and humorous in retrospect. It often stems from panic itself but then can lead to claustrophobia. The recent toilet paper demand begs the question: What else may the masses hoard?

Anxious people are showcased in movies, TV shows, books, and the like, all going to the extremes that audiences tell themselves “I’d never do THAT!” Take Aunt Josephine from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (book 3 The Wide Window), for example. She lives reclusively in a very peculiar house with a plethora of grammar dictionaries before (spoiler alert) ultimately going outside of her comfort zone and being fed to leeches. Or, maybe in a more literal approach, look to the TV show Hoarders. All 10 seasons depict real-life hoarders and, while not always humorous, there are a few gems in there. For instance, Season 6 episode 4: One guest hoards bottles of human waste (absolutely disgusting) and the other preps for the end of the world. The latter is quite similar to current situations, ironically.

In all, hoarding is a two-sided coin. On one hand, people can laugh at it and hopefully help the person come to his or her senses so that they can laugh, too. But, when it’s you who’s the hoarder, it’s a necessity to live or thrive. That being said, let’s leave with a question: When does collecting become hoarding? When does a grandmother collecting baby squirrel paraphernalia become less of a hobby? Asking for a friend.