Imagine your home is so filled with stuff that moving around it is almost impossible. Every bit of space is piled high with books, pictures, DVDs and newspapers so you can’t even get into some rooms – not even the bathroom or kitchen. There’s nowhere to sit and no room for visitors.

That’s what life is like for those with a hoarding disorder and their close family and friends. It’s a recognised mental illness, an uncontrollable desire to acquire and keep an excessive number of objects and it’s thought to affect between 2-6% of the UK and US population. So why do some people hoard? And why is it so difficult for them to get rid of some of the many thousands of items that clutter their home?

Mike Williams meets Stephen whose apartment is so swamped with possessions that his young children can’t stay. He hears how the extreme hoarding habits of one American father led his teenage daughter to make a suicide bid. And, on a positive note, there are lessons for compulsive hoarders on how to resist the urge to acquire more things.

Scroll down to hear about how hoarding has affected Stephen’s life in more ways that one…

The contributors for this are as follows:
Bill Barry and Stephen, Tenants, Liverpool Housing Trust
Randy Frost, Professor of Psychology at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts
Heather Mattuozzo, Founder, Clouds End
Fabio Gygi, Anthropology lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University
Kimberly Rae Miller, author, ‘Coming Clean’, a memoir

Presenter: Mike Williams
Producer: Sally Abrahams

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

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