Hoarding, and Other Post-Pandemic Oddities
Growing up, I always heard about how my grandparents’ generation was very frugal because they grew up in the depression and went from having a lot to having very little. In many ways, that feels like a trait that defined their generation. As we’ve emerged from the pandemic I can’t help but think that our generation is experiencing something similar (changes in habits, weird behaviors) stemming from the time spent in lockdown. It’s affected everyone differently but I think some things are universal.
There are more serious things (my social anxiety is still sky high) that we don’t need to get into today. But there were also weird and slightly silly things that eventually went away. For example, I couldn’t do at home workouts for a while. I am back to working out at home now that I don’t have a gym in my building. But I am careful to mix it up between indoor and outdoor workouts so that I don’t get that stuck inside feeling. Certain foods (the Allison Roman shallot pasta that I made several times for example, her chickpea stew too) were weirdly triggering for a while. I made a lot of curry and pasta during lockdown. And I still don’t eat much of either.
I have become… a bit of a hoarder?
I have always lived in smaller spaces and had had strict rules. Only one of this type of thing, only one of another. You buy something, you get rid of something else. I’m not a big cook so my pantry always had just the bare minimum. A box of pasta, a jar of sauce, good olive oil and vinegar for salad dressing, a few cans of chicken soup if I got sick… snacks, of course.
When the pandemic hit and in those early days the grocery stores were out of food and there was no toilet paper, all of those rules went out the window. I remember when we could finally get groceries, lining the bottom of my (clothing!) closet with boxes of pasta, cans of soup, sauces,, etc. I remember buying enough ingredients to make the aforementioned Alison Roman shallot pasta for weeks, if it came to it. Don’t get me started on toilet paper. I found this company that delivers boxes of bamboo toilet paper and would have two cases at all times. For one person, living alone. My old apartment in Brooklyn was large for a one bedroom. But it didn’t have a ton (read: any) storage space. The toilet paper was also piled up in my closet (this time, under my formal dresses which of course were not being used).
It is a little bit ridiculous but those days were so uncertain.
Knowing that I had enough pasta and toilet paper was one thing I could control.
When I moved to Charleston, my last apartment had a ton of storage space. Loads of kitchen cabinets and two really big closets. Even post-pandemic, I found myself filling them to the brim with food and other provisions, “just in case.” It wasn’t until I moved into the house last month that I really took stock of my new hoarding tendencies. Did I really need all of that lipton onion dip mix? All that pasta? 4 jars of sauce? (Don’t get me started on the wine and cases of seltzer!!!)
I must be prepared at all times.
I won’t be dramatic enough to say that I constantly think about another lockdown (I don’t), but there is this weird part of me that always wants to be prepared. This goes hand in hand with hoarding but I find myself constantly thinking, “Well, if we get locked down again, at least I will have a treadmill.” “At least I will have outdoor space.” “At least I will be comfortable here.” I think about this probably too much. But the reality is that I spent all that time cooped up in a Brooklyn apartment by myself and the thought of doing that again is pretty much unbearable.
How about you? Any new habits/personality changes/etc. to report?