Hoarder disorder: 18 signs you’ve got it, or getting it.

by | Success ideas for work and life

There are hoarders who have to get into bed through the ceiling because the bedroom is too full to walk in through the door. And that’s probably not you. There are hoarders whose yards are piled high with old washing machines, car parts, photocopiers, toilet pans and the ten lost tribes of Israel. They are mentally and or emotionally ill. And that’s probably not you either.

You probably don’t think you’re a hoarder, and maybe you’re not. Yet!

The hoarding disorder has been listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association. You’ve seen it demonstrated on TV shows.Perhaps you are not yet TV show material.

You might be a hoarder regardless of scale

I’m not talking to the people who are unwell. I’m talking to you to see if you have the disorder on a smaller scale. Here’s why:

  • It starts small and can build to become a serious disorder. None of the notorious hoarders went out one day and bought 9 tonnes of assorted junk to bring home. They built up their disorder over years, probably starting with a wardrobe of clothes or a ball of rubber bands.
  • An attachment to stuff renders you inflexible. You become less willing to move house, office or take up new job or relationship options.
  • It is harder and slower and less efficient to locate items you need when you have to hunt for them like a hungry chook.
  • Being confronted with your own untidiness is depressing and distressing.
  • You are less likely to welcome other humans into your hoard-filled personal space and when you do you have to be embarrassed by their disdain.
  • It symbolises that you are stuck in lots of life’s segments.
  • You are expressing a sense of personal inadequacy or lack, whereby you’re saying your life will be incomplete without all your things.

18 dead set indications you’re a hoarder and may be heading for a serious case of it.

    1. You have to prise your clothes apart to fit another hanger in your wardrobe.
    2. You say if you had more drawers, a bigger cupboard, more wardrobe space, or a bigger bedroom, office or shed you’d be able to store everything neatly. You really would.
    3. You are keeping clothes you bought fifteen years ago that don’t fit anymore, just in case you lose weight.
    4. You are keeping clothes that went out of fashion more than two years ago because everyone knows fashions come around again (even though they never have).
    5. You can’t get into a room or you can’t close a cupboard door or drawer because there’s stuff in the way.
    6. You’d like to start hoarding but you need to clean out the garage first.
    7. You get uppity if someone tells you, you’re a hoarder.
    8. You keep telling critics that it might be a mess but it’s not a problem because you know where everything is. (you’re somewhat of a liar about other things too!)
    9. You haven’t seen the inside bottom of your handbag or briefcase for years.
    10. Your car looks like the locker room of a high school soccer team.
    11. You can’t throw out ticket stubs or printed programmes from shows or movies you saw decades ago.
    12. Your kitchen cupboards are full of Tupperware and picnic plates that might come in handy one day but they never have and never will.
    13. You have stacks of lumber or iron or tiles or plaster or bricks because they are bound to come in handy the day you throw them away.
    14. Your toilet and bath/shower are heavily stained. What? Are you hoarding mould and p*#?
    15. You keep piles and piles of newspapers and magazines, just in case you need to start a fire, wrap something …
    16. You have more pets than the average.
    17. You keep your children’s furniture and baby things as emotional keepsakes long after their saleable date.
    18. When a visitor comes, you locate the easiest chair to clean up and you have to move a stack of magazines, the washing, gran’s knitting, the dog’s flea cream, a dinner plate from last week and a half eaten bag of Doritos onto the floor – and an old Game Boy cartridge you lost a year ago.

How can you stop hoarding before it’s too late?


Give stuff away.

People are going barefoot and coatless while you are waiting for your shoes and coats to come back into fashion. I just now set aside ten unread books that I will never read. I will do more over the coming weeks. (I’ve hoarded hundreds, not because it’s a carefully curated collection – although it actually is very well classified by the Dewey system – but because I think you will think I am an intellectual if you see my library.) They are going to the local pre-loved-books shop. I have many of them in iBooks and Kindle anyway.

Have a yard or garage sale

You will see what small value other people put on your treasures. They won’t buy them and you’ll still have to dump them – or re-hoard them.

Throw stuff away.

Sometimes it’s the only answer. Call the hard rubbish collector and be done with it. It only hurts for two minutes. A week later you will have forgotten you ever owned it.

And one more for laughs. Give your stuff to another hoarder

You’ll always be able to go get it back if your life collapses because you haven’t got it anymore.

Come on hoarders

Tell me what you’re hoarding and how far gone you are. Can you suggest other reasons why someone you know has become a hoarder? Scroll down and leave a comment. I’d love to add another few signs to the list.

PS If you are really stuck and want help, call The Lovely Christine or complete one of her auto emails and see if she can help you to get unstuck.

More posts from Colin Pearce

How to manage your stress

How to manage your stress

To listen to this week’s BE SO GOOD PODCAST Episode #014: Go Here To watch the same BE SO GOOD PODCAST Episode #014 on You Tube, go here Graham Agnew is the guest in Episode 014 Graham Agnew is a leader. He has a visionary style. He also has an acute understanding of...

read more
How to lead your ‘distributed’ team

How to lead your ‘distributed’ team

Jerry Crockford maintains he is not an expert on distributed teams (who is?) but the experience he shares will be helpful to leaders of groups in a large system or any small business. When I interviewed him for BE SO GOOD PODCAST Episode 012, he was at pains to say he...

read more
Get off the top of the wardrobe

Get off the top of the wardrobe

      Aim high and shoot well. In today’s BE SO GOOD PODCAST 011, I encourage you to get specific about your own life—your goals and intentions, so that it will never be said of you that you aimed too low and pulled up short of who you could have been. Too many people...

read more