July 29, 2019


Collecting is a very common form of a hobby in this country. Many collections are started when people are young children or teenagers and they grow over time. Hoarding behavior is different from collecting behavior and can be distinguished primarily by the following:


1.Excessive acquisition of items, even some that might seem to others to lack monetary or sentimental value

2. Intense attachment to belongings

3. Clutter that prevents living spaces from being used as they are meant to be

4. Interference or distress with day-to-day activities


Increased attention to hoarding has led some researchers to look at other signs of hoarding. Here is a list of some commonly shared experiences from people that hoard.


1. Difficult time deciding if something is valuable, useful, or meaningful

2.Feeling it is impossible to get rid of any belongings or items that have been acquired

3. Clutter has filled living spaces so much that they are not useable

4. Worry over accidently getting rid of something important that is mixed into a pile of things that are not useful, valuable, or necessary for the individual

5. Accidently losing important things like money, bills, prescriptions, and other significant documents within the clutter

6. Difficult time turning down free items, even if they are not needed (like advertisements handed out on the sidewalk or mailed to the home)

7. Persistently shops sales items to “stock up”, even if there is no money, space, or need to do so

8. Not inviting visitors to the home because of worry of what they might think of the excessive clutter

9. Fear of losing belongings

10. Feeling emotional distress over everything that is in the living space

11. Emotional pain when trying to get rid of belongings to make necessary space for repairs or for use of living space

12.Refusing to let people into the home to make needed repairs

13. Inability to maintain a safe and habitable space after a clean out.


For more information on why getting rid of clutter can be so physically and emotionally difficult for hoarders, please visit the Hoarders911 page at


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