identify hoarding behavior

Many have seen the sensationalized version of unlivable hoarding that airs on reality TV. But hoarding isn’t always that. It’s estimated that two to five percent of the American population exhibits some hoarding behavior, and that can manifest itself in different ways. Today in the blog, we are going to talk about a few ways to identify if someone you love is suffering from hoarding and how Spaulding Decon San Francisco can help.

Collecting vs. Hoarding

The term “hoarding” is often thrown around as a way to comment on someone having a lot of stuff. But it is important to note that there is a distinct difference between being a collector versus experiencing hoarding tendencies. A collector will have their things neatly organized and displayed, and they will be able to easily locate the items they’re looking for. A hoarder tends to have unorganized piles of miscellaneous items, and they have difficulty keeping track of their belongings.

Unusable Space

We often picture hoarding as a home filled to the brim with stuff, rendering it completely uninhabitable. In reality, these extreme cases are uncommon. It is more likely that one room of the house is unlivable, chairs are unusable, or hallways lined with things and difficult to navigate.

Difficulty Parting With Items

Someone who is suffering from hoarding behavior will have extreme difficulty parting with items, even things like newspapers or bottle caps. It is often linked to a fear of it having future value. They can see limitless possibilities for keeping an item, but will never actually put it to creative use.


Hoarding can lead an individual to isolate themselves from loved ones. The clutter can cause feelings of shame, or they don’t want others to witness the accumulation. It’s also often linked to feelings of anxiety and suspicion when others are touching their belongings.

Spaulding Decon San Francisco Can Help

Hoarding is a mental illness that can severely impact the quality of life of an individual. If someone you love is experiencing a hoarding situation, we can help. Our team is compassionate, discreet, and highly trained in hoarding clean up. We can help restore the home and connect you with resources for counseling. Call us today at (925) 790-1777.


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