After watching the Extreme Couponing show last night I was struck by the differences in the people on the show. I think that I have just realized what sets stockpilers (preparedness) apart from hoarders.
The first coupon shopper they interviewed had filled two rooms of her house with groceries and dry goods. These two rooms were organized and attractive. But she loved the "rush" of shopping so much that she couldn't stop; she was beginning to fill her husband's den with bags of groceries and was just piling them anywhere. This room was completely disorganized.
She went on to describe how she will miss family gatherings and time with her husband in order to go shopping. You could see clearly that she had stepped over the line from stockpiling to benefit her family, to becoming a hoarder.
To me a stockpiler is a person that shops wisely and uses coupons to build a store of groceries and dry goods for their family's benefit. If the economy causes loss of income or a natural disaster hits, this family would be prepared. The family can easily find the items they are looking for because the stockpiled groceries are so well organized. In this case the family is put first, before shopping.
A hoarder is someone that shops in a haphazard manner; often on impulse. When they get their items home there is no designated place for storage. Often the shopping bags are just piled on top of other shopping bags that have never been unloaded. This family is not able to use their home effectively and comfortably. They are not able to find an item they need because the stockpile is so disorganized.
Just look at these two photos; it is easy to see the difference between the stockpiler and the hoarder.