Most of us have a little hoarder inside us and it’s fashionable these days to declutter, downsize and strive for simplicity. Whatever you call it, most of us find it hard to toss out junk and embrace a minimalist lifestyle. Why? Blame it on your inner hoarder.

Granted, most of us aren’t pathological hoarders and won’t wind up on TV with stuff piled to the rafters. But we may hang on to more possessions than we should and have trouble emptying drawers, tossing papers and parting with “treasures” that slipped off our radars long ago. Here’s a look at the psychology behind hoarding, how it differs from collecting and ordinary clutter, and how to keep untidiness to a minimum.

Hoarding 101

You’ve probably watched TV shows like “Hoarding: Buried Alive,” a weekly journey into the troubled lives of people who stuff rooms so full of junk, including garbage and even animals, that no one can walk through. This is called hoarding disorder, and it’s a form of mental illness.

The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) estimates that 2 to 6 percent of Americans suffer from this compulsive need to acquire things. It outlines six criteria that characterize the disorder, including extreme psychological distress at the thought of parting with possessions, excessive clutter that may cause health and safety issues, and impaired ability to function normally.

Hoarders also can suffer from feelings of isolation, loneliness and depression, and may face family and marital issues, as well as health, legal and financial problems (many hoarders go into debt and are sometimes evicted from their homes).

Read on to find out more about this interesting story!


Remember, if you or someone you know is suffering from hoarding, you can contact us at for help.

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