What is Hoarding?
The acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be of useless or of limited value.
Hoarding often presents as living spaces that are so cluttered that they cannot be used for their intended purpose. This can often cause significant distress or impairment in functioning (e.g. can’t use kitchen or bathroom, problems with landlord, fights with family).
Harm Reduction Information
What is a Harm Reduction Approach?
- Severe hoarding has put the individual living in the dwelling, or living in the shared area at great risk
- The risk of harm is high not only because the living environment is unsafe but also because the person lacks the physical and mental capacity to live in a highly cluttered environment safely
- This interaction between an unsafe environment and poor functional capacity defines severe hoarding
(Tompkins & Hartl, 2009)
- Ensuring the person is kept safe and healthy
- Making sure that high risk areas are identified and attended to
- Providing for a new system to maintain organization and safety
- Stopping the acquiring all together
- Curing the individual
- Conducting large scale cleanups
Learn More About Hoarding
People hoard for many reasons, including:
- Mental Health conditions: Depression, Personality disorders, Psychosis, OCD
- To avoid fear, scarcity and/or maintain the feeling of control
- We feel powerful and capable or protecting ourselves by owning possessions
- Just in case the item MUST be saved because it could be useful in the future
- Grief based; sentimental – the items mean a lot to that person
- Trauma and loss
- Craft Supplies
- Sentimental Items
- Bodily waste