What is hoarding?

We all have that one drawer where all the odds and ends go, the shed that always needs to be sorted out and we’ve all said “I’ll keep that just in case I need it in the future” but at what point does this become hoarding?

Hoarding is defined as acquiring or saving lots of things regardless of their value.

If you hoard, you might:

  • Have very strong positive feelings whenever you get more items.
  • Feel very upset or anxious at the thought of throwing or giving things away.
  • Find it very hard to decide what to keep or get rid of.

But hoarding is more than simply gathering too many things. It has now been recognised as a mental health issue – one which can cause significant problems and safety risks for those who hoard and also for people who live with them and care about them.

How to recognise potential hoarding

The following can be signs that someone is hoarding

  • Compulsive buying and acquisition of free items and the following accumulation.
  • Experiencing anxiety while attempting to discard possessions because of the perception that everything is valuable and might be needed in the future.
  • Congested living space and embarrassment associated with it that can lead to isolating behaviour.
  • Struggling to manage everyday tasks, such as cooking, cleaning and paying bills.
  • Hoarders often feel embarrassed and tend to isolate for fear of judgement.

What is the safety risk with hoarding?

The risks posed by hoarding extend beyond the individual, there is a risk to property and neighbours too. Fire risks are increased by hoarding, not only the potential for a fire but also a person’s ability to evacuate safely in the event of a fire. Hoarding can create unsafe living conditions that can become dangerous and which could become a public health risk. It can also lead to hoarders not leading a ‘normal’ life due to several factors, including isolation.

What can Housing Solutions do to help you?

We will work with you to assess the level of support you need

·       We will set clear, realistic and achievable goals to support you

·       We will work with partner agencies to provide help and support to you

·       We may offer support through the local fire service, to ensure they understand how to help you in an emergency (i.e. a fire)

·       We will have regular contact with you to support you and check in on your progress to reduce the risks as possible, making a safer environment for all parties

·       If you would like us to, we can explore further options to assist you with accommodation more suitable for your needs

Housing Solutions are here to support you and the best way to access this support is to reach out to us, if you or your neighbours need support, please contact us, to understand how we can help

Who to contact

If you have concerns about hoarding please call the contact centre on 01628 543101 or email contact@housingsolutions.co.uk

More information and support is available from the NHS: