What is Hoarding


  • A person that hoards collects and keeps a lot of items, even things that appear to have little or no value to most people.
  • These items clutter the living spaces and keep the person from using their rooms as they were intended.
  • These items cause distress or problems in day-to-day activities.

Clutter is different than hoarding

  • The Hoarding Task Force works with individuals to help achieve their set goals. This can include mitigating the legal consequences of hoarding, re-establishing the usefulness or environmental quality of their housing, or negotiating family relationships.
  • Based on principles of Harm Reduction, we recognize that even if one does not fully stop a harmful behavior, one can still make meaningful and significant improvements in their quality of life. By reducing the severity, impact, and harm caused to an individual, even small improvements in behavior can make a big difference.

Signs of Hoarding Behavior:

• A person has difficulty making decisions and/or categorizing items

• A person has an intense fear of making a mistake, losing an item, or losing memory

• A person has diminished cognitive capacity and/or physical limitations

Why Hoarding is a Problem:

• Fire hazard

• Public health hazard

• Infestation

• Fall and tripping hazard

• Access obstructed for emergency rescue

How do I have a conversation with my friend or family member who is ready to talk about hoarding?

When a person seems willing to talk about a hoarding problem, follow these guidelines:


• Be patient

• Be a cheerleader

• Start with small steps

• Help with the hauling

• Work in one small area at a time

• Help maintain focus on the tasks at hand

• Stop new items from being brought in to the home


• Pass judgment

• Argue with the person

• Make decisions for the person

• Remove any item without permission