What is Hoarding—and Why Do People Do It?

  • A shot of a dictionary page showing the definition of hoarding
Simply put, hoarding is the persistent difficulty getting rid of possessions, regardless of their actual value. It occurs in an estimated 2 to 6 percent of the population and is more common among older adults.

Hoarding can be a problem in many ways. It can create an unsafe living environment, cause social isolation, and lead to financial troubles.

Hoarding is a diagnosis in and of itself, but it’s also more commonly seen among people suffering from other disorders such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Different Types of Hoarding

Experts have identified a few common types of hoarding, including the following:

• Shopping hoarders. For many people, shopping offers a quick high. The problem is that piles of used items (and bills) can launch a vicious cycle. Before long, the only “positive” emotions in a person’s life stem from shopping and social isolation sets in. The ease of online shopping and eBay often exacerbate the problem.
• Collectors. There’s nothing wrong with maintaining a collection. But collecting crosses over into hoarding when a person can no longer control his or her possessions and they begin to interfere with everyday life. For example, boxes piled up in front of doors or in the kitchen.
• Food hoarders. Children who grow up facing poverty or hunger can struggle with food hoarding later in life, even when food and money are plentiful.
• Information hoarders. What starts out as a quest for knowledge sometimes turns into endless stacks of books, magazines, newspapers, and journals.
• Syllogomania (trash hoarding). Objects have no apparent value at all, yet the resident cannot part with them.
• Animal hoarding. This often starts out as a desire to “save” animals, but can quickly morph into animal neglect when there are simply too many pets to care for.

About StorageMart

People who struggle with hoarding can be helped.

There are also times when a person’s only problem with clutter is that they simply do not have enough storage room for possessions that are truly useful and valuable.

At StorageMart, our clean and affordable self storage units can be rented on a month-by-month basis, which means you won’t get locked into a long-term contract that you may not need. Check out our storage unit guide or rent a unit online today.

We all know how good it feels to live in a clean and organized home (and science backs that up). Self storage allows you to have the best of both worlds—the home you want without the bigger home (and bills) that you don’t.

About Sarah Little

Sarah Little, Marketing Director at StorageMart, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. She serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association, a non-profit group dedicated to improving the lives of children.

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