What’s the difference between amassing a collection from a full life and a hoarding problem? Obviously, if there is rotten food or pests, you know that there’s a problem. What about more subtle signs? How do you know if someone close to you is a hoarder?

5 Signs of a Hoarder

5 Signs of a Hoarder


Hoarding can be a symptom of any mental illness. The most common mental illness hoarding is connected to is obsessive-compulsive disorder. Someone can have a compulsive need to hoard.

If any of these signs sound familiar, you may need to have a conversation with your loved one.

1. You Aren’t Invited into Their Home

Is there someone in your life that prefers to meet you at your home or somewhere else? Do you never go to their home? This can be a sign.

Hoarders usually know that they have a problem and don’t want people to see it. They will give you a variety of excuses and reasons not to go to their house.

If you haven’t seen a loved one’s home in a while, it may be best to try to peek into it.

2. Always Going to Garage Sales and Swap Meets

Are they constantly buying new things? Do they talk about yard sales they went to all the time?

If this sounds familiar, invite them to do something with you when you think they are going to a yard sale. See if they will hang out with you instead of rummaging.

3. Putting Every Scrap of Paper in Their Purse or Pocket

Hoarders need to keep everything, we mean everything, even scraps of paper that have no value. What does your loved one do with movie ticket stubs, old cereal boxes, brochures, or any other thing you would consider trash?

4. They Never Get Rid of Anything

You do occasional spring cleaning. You get rid of clothes you don’t wear anymore, books you don’t like, gifts that you aren’t a fan of.

Does your loved one do this? Hoarders struggle getting rid of their possessions.

The difference between a hoarder and people who are just messy is how much they have. Things like newspapers, magazines, paper, plastic bags, and the like are a big sign.

Again, people who hoard don’t want to show off any of their items.

5. They Get Upset at the Idea of Getting Rid of Anything

Again, hoarders have a compulsion to keep things. They may believe that they will be valuable in the future or claim there is sentimental value.

They will come up with excuse after excuse to not get rid of anything.

If they get angry when you try to help them get rid of what you consider garbage, then there is a problem.

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