Hoarding Disorder

Definition of hoarding disorder:  the extensive collection of objects followed by difficulty discarding them for aesthetic reasons, or because of an object’s emotional value or consideration of its possible usefulness in the future.

The consequence of hoarding objects is accumulation of objects in living spaces, leading to limited space, poor hygiene and feelings of embarrassment.

Items that people hoard can also be those of abstract nature, like hoarding of digital items. Hoarding becomes a “disorder” when it starts to interfere with relationships and functions of daily life.

Many people with hoarding disorders have tremendous difficulties with relationships. Partners and family members suffer from problems associated with the syndrome like cluttering of the living space. As a result of the behavior, hoarders live lonely lives, and are often suffer depression.

Hoarding is a chronic syndrome, and individuals live with this lifelong. With age, the situation can get worse. Support from others and professional psychological aid, where available, help individuals get on well with their lives despite difficulties.

Check out my Hoarding test here.

Questionnaires to evaluate hoarding disorder

The Saving Inventory-Revised (SI-R) by Frost et.al (2003).

Compulsive Acquisition Scale (CAS) by Frost et.al (2002).

A major contributing factor in hoarding disorder is the need for control over possessions.


Frost, R. O., Steketee, G., & Kyrios, M. (2003). Saving Inventory–Revised (SI-R).

Frost, R. O., Steketee, G., & Williams, L. (2002). Compulsive buying, compulsive hoarding, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Behavior therapy33(2), 201-214.

Frost RO, Steketee G, Williams L. Compulsive buying, compulsive hoarding, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

van Bennekom, M. J., Blom, R. M., Vulink, N., & Denys, D. (2015). A case of digital hoarding. BMJ case reports.

To what extent is hoarding affecting your life?

Hoarding syndrome is identified through the observation of 3 characteristics:

  • difficulty discarding,
  • excessive clutter,
  • excessive acquisition.

“… it is clear that what a man calls me and what he simply calls mine the line is difficult to draw. We feel and act about certain things that are ours very much as we feel and act about ourselves.”

William James (1890) in the principles of psychology, p. 291.

Read more about Hoarding Disorder here.

Here is a test to evaluate the extent of the behavior in an individual. The purpose of all tests on this site is for education. Do not use this as a diagnosis of any sort.

If you or any person feels like the hoarding limits your daily function or affects your relationships, do seek the services of a licensed psychotherapist.