Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Stockpile Syndrome

Many generations of my family grew up poor in rural Italy before my great grandparents immigrated to America. As my mom often puts it, "We hail from peasant stock. If you ever need to carry big buckets of water on your shoulders, trust me, you will be able to do it. It is in your blood."

Jealous?

Perhaps because of this impoverished heritage, my mom's side of the family believes strongly in stockpiling. They also believe strongly that vegetarians eat pork, chicken, and fish, but that's another post for another time.

These people stockpile everything: garbanzo beans, paper towels, sports equipment, silverware. My grandmother's basement is basically Costco, just less crowded and with a much wider selection.

Naturally, many of my Italian relatives are proponents of stockpiling favorite items of clothing. Instead of saying, "Nice sweater," my great aunt says, "I hope you got that in every color, Winona!" And it is more of a threat than a compliment, because how dumb would I feel if I only bought one and it ripped and I didn't have five more to replace it and stay looking cute through the cold, hard winter?

I can't decide how I feel about it. On the one hand, it's nice to have your favorite shirt in a variety of colors, and it's comforting to keep a backup pair of those perfect-fitting pumps in your closet. But I've also found that whenever I do stock up on something, it doesn't feel so special anymore, and I lose interest.

So I'm curious to know what you guys think: Do you believe in stockpiling?

p.s. Sally of Already Pretty posted about this topic today too! Crazy, right? Please check out her thoughtful and thought-provoking post on buying multiples as well!

60 comments:

Kelly said...

My nana, bless her heart, stockpiles cans of baked beans. Her theory is you can always live on baked beans if nothing else in the world survives. She's also Italian so maybe this is just what they do!

lopi said...

Yes, I'm a firm believer in stockpiling. Especially when said item is on an insane sale and I know I'll never find it again. And if I really need it (and well, there's no point in buying it if I don't need it in the first place, or that's what I'm supposed to say anyways) then I'm gonna wear it and all four of its identical copies. And that's coming from personal experience.

Stevy said...

*waves* Long-time reader, first-time commenter, and I love my copy of Closet Confidential and am thinking about buying it for my mother for her birthday.

Anyway, I stockpile like whoa, because I'm plus-sized, and I never really believe that pretty things in my size are a renewable resource... I always think that maybe the next time I come by that particular rack it'll all be shapeless polyester again.

Lawgirl said...

My fiance has stockpiled enough food, water, and firearms/ammunition (plus things to make water safe, MREs, table top stove, etc.) that we are fine when the world ends.

Yes, he was born before Pearl Harbor. :D

Tara said...

Well, if I choose to spend quite a bit of money on an item, I expect it to last. And if I buy a cheapo version of something then I know it won't last but don't care enough to buy five of it "just in case"... If I find something great I buy it in maybe two colours just to be on the safe side!

SewSweetStitches said...

Oh wow I've never thought about it, but totally! My thing is cleaning and household supplies. I get nervous if there's less than a dozen rolls in the closet of my favorite brand of paper towels. What if we run out, and are forced to buy a NON-favorite brand? And who likes to run out of trash bags? Gotta have several boxes of those. Oh and lysol concentrate, and dish soap, toilet paper... ok, I'm a freak!

Elise said...

I too come from a stock piling family. Our big thing is you can never have enough toilet paper. When my great aunt died and my mom went over to help clean out the house with her sister they found literally hundreds of rolls of toilet paper in the closet.

Growing up we'd have "just in case" TP in various locations: my mom's purse, random compartments in the car, etc.

As for clothing I stock pile every once in a while. Usually it's something like a bunch of tanks to wear under things that happen to be on sale for $3. Those I'll buy all at once in various colors.

I also have one style of Nine West shoes in four different colors...but that's a whole 'nother story.

But if something looks great on you, wouldn't you want more than one so you could incorporate something fabulous into your outfit more often?

I say it's okay to stock pile, but not okay to horde. So pick and chose what you'll stock pile and don't collect just any old thing.

bestie said...

I’m not much of a stockpiler myself. The most I’ve “hoarded” was a dress in 3 different colors, but that was mainly because I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) decide on just one with such a limited time available to me. But you’re right, in a way it does remove the item’s “specialness”, because I wore all 3 dresses exactly once and never again, even though I was completely enthralled by them upon purchase. It’s sad, really, and I don’t think I’ll be doing it again. But it certainly works for some people!

Starling said...

There's a part of me that does - the part that grew up in the deep south with a family of stockpilers (my family and yours have a lot in common). I still tend to stock up on basics - the tanks I use for layering, a flattering cardigan or two, a jean style that I know works well on me. Special items? Not so much. I learned my lesson after I bought a great sweater in two different-but-similar shades. I wore them like crazy for a little while, but I haven't worn them in over a year. I wound up giving one to a friend. I'm hoping that inspires me to wear the other one again.

EvaNadine said...

funny that you + sal are posting about buying multiples at the same time.
http://www.alreadypretty.com/2010/03/on-buying-multiples.html

personally, if i like the cut of something, i will buy it in every color i like, assuming i can afford it. i do at least make the effort to space out my wearings of said items. (the top im wearing today, i actually have in 4 colors!)

Sal said...

Holy moly, Winona. Great minds think alike. I JUST posted on buying multiples today. WEIRDNESS!

Reyna said...

Stockpiling is a new word for it! I'm a strong proponent of food storage. My parents have always had enough nonperishable items to feed our family for a few months in case we need it. This has really come in handy when we were hit by hurricanes and were without power for over a week. It was also great when my dad lost his job. Between food storage and our vegetable garden, we had no worries about food!

Holly said...

I've occasionally bought more than one of a well loved item but I usually find that by the time the first one wears out, I'm not that in love with it anymore. How fickle!

On the other hand, there are a few things I've had that have worn out and I've cursed myself for not having the forethought to buy a second (and third) one. I can't win!

First time commenter but longtime lurker. :)

Mrs. P said...

i can't stockpile my food. #1- my pantry isn't big enough and I don't have anymore room to put it in the house. maybe if i get a bigger pantry.... #2, i see it as "wasting" money. I buy what I need for the week and that's it. Stock piling is not wasting money I know that- but we are being tight on our money right now. Why spend extra on food when we can pay off our debt?

Katy Mary said...

Usually with tops I will grab a couple of different colors or my fav jeans I will buy in dark & light but I don't go crazy with making sure I have so many incase somethiing should happen to it. If it gets ruined it's just an excuse to shop & find something new to love!

Liv said...

While I also hail from peasant stock the only things I really stockpile are tanks,tees and the occasional pair of well-fitting jeans. As for the rest I have fashion ADD.
http://idlefascination.blogspot.com/

Happy Lisa said...

If I find a pair of $40 jeans I absolutely love, I will buy 2 pairs, but that's about it. With jeans, I can wear the same pair for years, but shirts, dresses and skirts I get tired of after a year and want new ones.

Lorena said...

Nope, stockpiling equals to wearing a uniform for me.
Maybe 2 of the same is ok, if i just cannot live without it.. but not more.

Brooke said...

"They also believe strongly that vegetarians eat pork, chicken, and fish, but that's another post for another time." Reminds me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding: "You don't eat no meat?!? It's okay, I make lamb."

Yeah, stockpiling sounds great until you begin wearing the same outfit over and over, only in different colors. That's when I start feeling like I'm straight out of a Gap ad. The only time I stockpile is when Target has cute, affordable and comfy shirts. That way I can justify if those shirts eventually become gym shirts...

-h said...

I don't stock pile clothing. I use to buy basic black or white tees in bulk, but that is when I was building a wardrobe. Now I don't need to do that anymore.

Lara said...

omg my family is from Serbia. You should see my dad's basement and garage! Exact same mentality. If you need something though, you know you can find it in the basement!

I only stockpile when it's a clothing basic I have a hard time finding in the first place - like the perfect tank top or V-neck tee that is the perfect length and dips down juuuuust right. Especially white which I always ruin and black which always fades.

(Oh, and stationary and gift wrapping supplies. I have a small problem with that.)

Heidi Rose said...

Haha, great moment about your heritage.

Really, I agree with you. If I had a bunch of something, it would be less special, and of course, if I buy it in different colors, there will always be the one that I like the best (I'm thinking of a soft and warm blue top right now).
HOWEVER, if it is the material that you like, because it's super soft or extra warm; then yes, buy at least two.

L E A H said...

if i find a great cheap shirt i'll sometimes buy more than one color.. and i don't keep anything in my closet i prob won't ever wear again.. i sell it all at buffalo exhange! simplicity is key..

i love the quote, "the things you own end up owning you".

Michelle said...

I can see your side of things. On the other hand, if I find a piece of clothing that actually fits me and looks decent without alterations or anything, it's a small miracle. So if I find one of those pieces and have the option, I would totally buy it in every color I would wear. Or if it comes in one color, buy two. Or maybe three.

(can you tell I've been frustrating by a lack of options lately?)

closet365 said...

I stockpile. Or rather, I hoard. It does me very little good, however. Mostly I just spend a bunch of money on stuff I never wear, because I'm "saving" it. Shennigans. Sigh.

closet365.wordpress.com

Claire said...

Stockpiling tinned food, yes! Stockpiling limited edition tights or sweets bars, yes!

Stockpiling particular items of clothes, no. For the reason you mention. I like having a *personal relationship* with my garments, and mistaking an item for any of its four brothers just messes all that up.

(Stockpiling, say, pink skirts of different types, that I can get behind. Just not so much on purpose as by happenstance. I like pink skirts!)

Katie Ann said...

I found a perfect scoopneck 3/4 sleeve shirt at Target that was double-lined on the front (no tank top underneath!), and I bought one in every color and perhaps a couple duplicates. Same with a cute ruffle-front blouse from Old Navy, that I have in like 5 colors. Though I did buy a "replacement" pair of sandals last year (shortly after buying the initial pair) because I loved them so and knew I'd want a back-up when they eventually wore out. (And I was contemplating it recently with a new pair of wedges, just can't afford it quite yet.)

So yeah, I totally get the stockpiling. But I'm a substitute teacher, so I can wear the same basic boring professional attire everyday because I'm almost always at a different school day to day and no one notices that I wore that blouse in two other colors earlier that week...

Vanessa said...

I've stockpiled once, as far as I remember: I got several colors of the same cheap-but-cute dress from F21. I basically wore them nonstop all summer-- and even into the fall with cardigans. I sometimes wish I stockpiled more often because my absolute favorite dress that fits like it was MADE for me is getting old and I don't know how much life is left in it. When I put it on now I always wonder why I didn't foresee this get two.

echidna girl said...

Your comment about vegetarians was hilarious and I could so hear my own aunts in my head.

Chelsea said...

One time I bought these sunglasses. They weren't expensive and I loved them. I wore them everyday. Then I came across another pair and I bought them, just in case, since I loved my pair so much. One day mine would have to fall apart, or break, or get lost, you know? I needed to have a back up. That day that I bought the backup pair? That is the day I lost my original pair. When I told my friend Dana she just told me to never buy a back up car or house or something. Since then I haven't quite felt like stocking up. It is just admitting that something is going to go wrong with what you have. (Though I might go out an buy another pair of those cheap oxfords from Payless. I always wear through my shoes super quick.)

lisa said...

If I find a basic of something I know I'll wear all the time (the perfect nude cami to layer under tops and dresses for warmth, black leggings, a flattering top, tank tops), I'll buy two. I also tend to have extra unopened tubes of mascara and skincare products around because I'm secretly afraid I'll use it up one day and not have time to immediately go out and buy another lol.

Laura said...

I stock pile on certain things. I buy bulk when I get around the house items (paper towels, cleaning supplies etc.) and I also stockpile up on craft supplies when I find something I really love. But as far as clothes go, can't say that I have. I guess I've never had enough money to do that. Lol.

lorax said...

I suppose I believe in stockpiling for basic items that I layer. For example, camisoles or solid t-shirts.

http://lesadventuresdulorax.blogspot.com

Kelly said...

I do "stockpile" basics like colored camisoles or my favorite undies. I've been burned too many times when I go back to the store and realize that they don't make my favorite style anymore and OMG if I had known that I wouldn't have been so rough with these what will I do now nothing will ever be so perfect!!!!

ahem.

But I've stopped buying multiples of more distinct clothes. When I wasn't into fashion as much it was fine because I didn't care if I wore the same style sweater for a month straight. But now I know that I would get sick of both of them too fast.

I do have a big problem with stockpiling toiletries. When I find a lotion or a hair dye or whatever that I like, I just buy gobs and gobs of it so I never have to run out. But that has backfired too - I recently sold 15 boxes of hair dye on eBay because I decided that wasn't the shade I wanted anymore. So I'm trying to be much better about this!

Coco said...

Hmm. I don't stockpile multiples of clothing items (maybe I should...like when I find jeans I like?) but I stockpile random items so that I always feel like I have something new.
I can't be the only one who does that...right??!?!?

WendyB said...

I do stockpile black t-shirts! Instead of getting three great t-shirts in different colors, I'll get them all in black. And I have to get my favorite red lip color in multiples in case it gets discontinued. All the good colors get discontinued.

Dao said...

I think I inherit it from my grandma, too! I stockpile on soap and body wash, the essentials.

Nina B. said...

Does your grandma's basement have samples, too???

Rosie Unknown said...

I consider stockpiling but I change shape so often that it doesn't seem worth it. Also, it gives me an excuse to shop :)

FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com said...

I HATE stockpiling but I see the advantages of it

For instance, I wish that I had a spare pair of the perfect trouser jeans I bought 5 years ago, that are now faded and torn. *sigh*

Nicola said...

I don't mind stockpiling basics--in fact, I just bought the same pants in black and chocolate brown--but it depends on how much detail the garment has. Polka-dot blouse with ruffles? One. Button-down/oxford-style shirt? Eleven.

Also, I work in higher education, where there isn't much emphasis on fashion or clothes rotation, so I could probably wear a full-length, sequined, peacock blue 1950s formal gown (with crinolines) twice a week and it wouldn't be noticeable or even comment-worthy. Sadly, I have no such garment, or I'd be tempted to try.

I also stockpile soap. No other toiletries, just bar soap.

Chocoholic said...

Sometimes, yes, I do stockpile. If I find a comfy bra, I buy more than one of it. If there are t-shirts and tanks I like, I buy them in multiple colors, sometimes more than one of a color if it's a color I wear often. Items that are basics I tend to buy multiples of. If it's a unique item, I don't.

Anonymous said...

As a homeschooling mom, I want simplicity in my life.

You bet I stockpile. (groceries, school books, office supplies, kids' clothes, and, yes, my clothes.)

Last time I bought skirts, I bought 4 identical in style but different colors. Now that some are wearing out, I wish I'd bought even more.

Jeanne Anne said...

Being one of 7 kids my mother always had enough food for us and all of our friends. My mother has no children living at home anymore but weird thing is if you go to her house she still has a full pantry, she also has 2 extra fridges out in her gararge filled with meat & such. I wonder if she knows we are all grown now...

~Jolene'sMemoryKeeping said...

my husband believes in stockpiling. Anytime I buy a cute pair of shoes or a really nice pair of jeans he asks if i want another pair in different colors....i found it weird at first but now it's just an excuse to wear the same outfit a variety of ways.

Littlekobaby said...

Well I like Lolita fashion, and it's hard to find in certain sizes (like a US size 6 in jeans) so when I find a skirt that fits I tend to buy a bunch in different colors, that way I can coordinate with anything!

J. Qi said...

I don't stockpile clothing per se (though I still have blank notebooks left from middle school). I just get a lot of very similar but vaguely different things in the same color.

This is completely unrelated to your actual post, but in order to avoid randomly creepily adding you, I thought I'd mention that you're hilarious, and I'm therefore adding you.

Lesa said...

I don't stockpile clothes, but because I live in south Florida I stockpile a lot of food that you can eat without cooking. My family all make fun of me, but they will be begging for my cold baked beans, tuna fish and battery powered fan when the next storm hits!

Fashion Nerd said...

I'm a stock-piler too, but only of food (although I do have a lot of clothes, the only ones I have doubles on are black cardigans for some reason. I think I must have gone through a phase at one point).

It must be genetic though - my mother's pretty big on buying food 'back-ups' in case you run out of something before you can get to the supermarket again. And that's why I have five 'spare' bags of pasta and over ten litres of 'spare' long-life milk in the cupboard.

Emily said...

I'm only a believer when it comes to tights and toothbrushes.

kathryn-louisa said...

I come from a stockpiling (Italian) family too, although it's not something I've really inherited. I do, however, have a particular dress in just about every colour because it looks perfect thrown on over leggings and I just couldn't decide between all the wonderful colours (and they were only £8 each!)

x

http://sparklesmiledance.blogspot.com

jennine said...

haha, i wish i did stock pile, but usually i'm so into getting more variety, i'd rather buy something different than a few of the same.

HOWEVER, i think it's kind of neet to have some kind of uniform! so if i did stockpile, i'd buy a million of the same dress, and only wear that.

Mabel and Zora said...

I am third generation Italian and my fiancé is first generation so needless to say we have a very large extended family! The stockpile syndrome manifests it's self it different ways for different people! My Uncle's garage is full of canned soda! He will never be without! My sister has shirts in every color you could buy them in and backups of her favorites! My fiancés mother does home canning and has an entire lifetime of vegetables and tomato sauce in her canning room! The food I get but I am of the mind that when that special piece of clothing or shoe falls apart it is your time to go out and get something brand new and just as wonderful! Why would you want the same shirt again and again for the rest of your life! Boring!

Katie said...

I have bought 3 pairs of the same black skinny jeans, the first in a size that became too big, so I bought 2 in a smaller size because I had worn them so much, and then I got a giant hole in the crotch in a 4-wheeling accident, so luckily I had a backup...but now those are wearing out and I wish I had bought another pair!

roselizabeth said...

i am currently stockpiling thin mints and my favorite headband.
i stockpile things that aren't always for sale, and things that are hard to find (i.e. cute headbands that sit comfortably on my huge noggin). and girl scout cookies.

this headband rocks my life. you can find it at claire's for quite a bit less than the urbanoutfitters version.
http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=1043546

hope505 said...

It's pretty late to comment, but I'm for it! Buying multiples, I mean. Yes.

Rowedna said...

Hi! I am a long time lurker and first time poster, the one who made the Tshirt design from a while back...

I have to say that the only thing I stockpile is contact lens solution! I buy it at Costco when it's on sale and I buy it to the limit :P sometimes even past the limit, if I can sneak it!

:P I'm not sure basics count! After all, they are pretty much all different...

Leah said...

i believe in stockpiling but with limitations. stockpiling is okay for bras, underwear, t-shirts, jeans, sneakers, trousers, blazers, sweaters, button downs and work clothes. but that is all!

Maria said...

I guess besides stockpiling being a matter of financial resources and storage space, it might be a good thing to keep an extra version of a beloved item.

For example, I actually do get another item (though mostly in a different color) which I own already if I can snatch it up on sale and I already know that I loved its predecessor.

Like, first I got a black cat, had it for a year, liked it, went for a little tiger one, too (...just kidding - I got it because kitty one really didn't like being alone so much, so kitty two had to move in and now it's all fluffy happiness. ;o)).

But it did work for me with skirts, too. ;)

theowlsarenotwhattheyseem said...

i know this is an old post, but i had to comment, because, for one thing, i love the look of those shirts piled up in the photo! they look like sweatshirts made of towel material, and i want one. actually, i want a stockpile of them. i wish i knew what they were and where i could get them.

i don't stockpile multiples of the exact same item, but people probably think i do. i have a thing for loeffler randall almond-toe flats. a few years ago they weren't that popular, so any time one popped up on ebay for under $50, i bought them. i now have that exact shoe in many materials and colors (probably 15 pairs or so) and i don't really regret it. i wear them enough, and now they are more pricey, so i'm glad i stockpiled when i did! ~joelle

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