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Hoarding vs Clutter

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Martin Boonzaayer

August 5, 2022

If you or a family member have a cluttered house, you might find yourself questioning whether or not it is hoarding vs. clutter. Is there a difference between the two? And how can you fix the situation? First things first, understanding if you are, in fact, dealing with hoarding will help you develop an action plan to address the clutter. 

What Is Hoarding?

Hoarding is considered a compulsive disorder characterized by the inability to discard or part with possessions due to an inherent need to save them. While we all have sentimental items we don't want to part with, hoarding takes this further. It can directly affect the quality of life by creating difficulty navigating into rooms, uninhabitable living conditions, and dangerous stacking that could hurt the person living within the home. 

Hoarding vs Clutter
Three children are playing in a dirty cluttered room.

What Is Clutter?

While hoarding can sometimes include rooms filled floor to ceiling with items, clutter is more so accumulated items that don't have a place, full shelves, or a generally messy space. Clutter is simply messy or disorganized spaces. It is still liveable, just not tidy. Clutter might take days to weeks to clear out, and hoarding could take weeks to months. 

What Types of Hoarding Are There?

There are several different types of hoarding, though most people assume hoarding falls under one category. 

Shopper Hoarding

As the name implies, shopper hoarding is when chronic shoppers hold onto every item they buy whether or not they have a use for them. They may purchase several items during sales, the shopping network, or even hoard common household items like vacuums and soaps.  

Paper Hoarding

Paper hoarding is when all paper items are saved from bills, letters, invoices, and magazines to unusable, stained papers.

Food Hoarding

Food hoarding is where a person might have a full pantry and fridge, yet they still continue to buy more food. They might struggle to let go of rotten food and will continue to stockpile food even if they have more than enough.

Trash Hoarding

When someone has trouble discarding garbage or waste, they may be trash hoarders. With trash hoarding, there might be piles of their personal trash. However, they might also take trash from other homes and businesses as well. Some trash might harm their health and attract vermin and insects, which can make the home uninhabitable and unsafe.

How Can You Fix Hoarding?

Since hoarding is primarily a mental health disorder, psychotherapy can be a huge help, along with cognitive behavioral therapy. It's important to reach out to a therapist or mental health professional with hoarding experience. Finding the root cause of hoarding is important to help require the brain and behavior. Once the mental health aspect of hoarding is addressed, you can move on to the process of cleaning the house. 

You can look into local organizations for hoarding cleanouts, or if you need to sell the home, our specialist can help. We will buy the home as-is, handle the cleaning out and save any items that are important to the homeowner. We can also arrange for items to be sold, giving you the cash. It's not easy to sell a hoarder's home, but if it comes down to clutter vs. hoarding and you are experiencing the latter, we can help. We offer moving assistance, buy the home as-is, and work with compassion and discreteness while also offering fast closing and a fair cash offer. 

Hoarding vs clutter

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