Scarcity obsessions and associated compulsions (OCD)

We are trying to name and notice some of our obsessions and associated rituals. We might try ERP (exposure/response prevention) on our own to free us from some shackles.

Here are some:


The bath towels fit in two piles (side-by-side) in the drawer. We arrange them so that no similar colors come up side by side. Otherwise, with 3-4 towels hanging from the shower rod, people will be confused as to whose towel is whose.

When deciding which clothes to wash, we have a hierarchy (based on scarcity):

  • Spouse’s and Younger Child’s underwear first (because their supplies are limited for whatever reason)
  • Older Child’s active wear (limited in supply)
  • Pants of any kind (always smaller supply than shirts)
  • Our clothes are usually last on hierarchy because we do not value us. One exception: our pajama bottoms get priority because we cannot sleep well without pants. The feel of sheet or blanket on our legs is sensory torture for us.


When serving the scrambled eggs we make every morning (without exception), we dish out individual pieces of egg to various people based on their composition: too much spinach goes to us (Younger Child doesn’t like), extra ham goes to Spouse, and everything in between goes to Younger Child (who sometimes does not eat the eggs). Older Child, when home, gets fried eggs 🍳.

One of our themes (obsessions) is not using what we deem scarce resources—which is almost everything. Consequently, it has taken us years to put enough seasoning in food we cook because we view spices as scarce. When we overcome this obsession, our food is more flavorful. Truth be told, while other family members rave about the liberal use of seasoning, it’s frequently too flavorful for us.

Perceptions of Scarcity also influence us to ration cutlery/silverware and dishes. If we use a knife and then put it in the dishwasher or dirty sink, and then need another knife, we berate ourselves! We feel inefficient and foolish. Sometimes we remember what T-1 would say: it’s just a ___ (knife, fish, fork).

6 thoughts on “Scarcity obsessions and associated compulsions (OCD)

  1. I know I have some major scarcity obsessions! Hoarding medicine, food, and other stuff like that, buying way too much of that kind of stuff and never being able to use it all before it goes bad, etc. Always afraid I’m going to run out of something essential or not be able to get it when I need it. The pandemic craziness did not help!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I didn’t know that scarcity could be an obsession like this. I think I might have a problem with that, too. Thanks for giving me the word for it 🙂

    Ugh, I hate the feeling of sheets on my legs, too! I always wear pajama bottoms and a long sleeved top to sleep.

    Nice job naming and noticing all that! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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