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How to Know If You Have a Hoarding Disorder

What is the difference between a pack rat, a collector, and a hoarder? Find out which one you are with this guide.


  • Step 1: Look at your free space Look around your home to see how much space can be called "cluttered". If the answer is "most," it may be a symptom of a hoarding disorder.
  • TIP: If you can no longer use your kitchen, dining area, and other living spaces because of all of the stuff, you may have a hoarding problem.
  • Step 2: Rule out collections Rule out the possibility that you are just a collector if your keepsakes are strewn about. Collectors typically keep their items well organized and proudly displayed.
  • TIP: If a you have a collection that's out of control, keep only your favorites and those with a high market value.
  • Step 3: Tap into feelings Ask yourself how your excess belongings make you feel. Hoarders are often embarrassed by the mess, but they can't seem to do anything about it because they have deep emotional attachments to their things.
  • Step 4: How hard to discard Consider whether you have a hard time discarding or giving away items that have very little use or value for you in the present or near future.
  • Step 5: Consider relationships Ask yourself whether your clutter has caused rifts in your personal relationships, or has gotten you into trouble with neighbors and city officials.
  • Step 6: Get help Seek help from a professional if you have the symptoms of a hoarding disorder. It may be the first small step in getting your life cleaned up.
  • FACT: A South Carolina woman was convicted of animal cruelty after hoarding 300 dogs.

You Will Need

  • Clutter
  • Collections
  • Emotional attachments tostuff
  • Something to discard
  • Professional help

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