12/01/2014 11:42 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Are You a Hoarder?


Co-authored by Monica Matys, Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between collecting, clutter and hoarding? A leading panel of experts recently considered the difference. They also looked at what to do if you or a loved one has hoarding disorder.

Hoarding disorder is a condition where a person has persistent difficulty parting with possessions, regardless of their value. This results in the accumulation of possessions that can congest living areas and even pose a significant safety risk. Experts say there are some important differences between collectors and hoarders, including:


- feel proud of their possessions
- keep their possessions well organized and maintained
- find joy in their possessions and are willing to display them for others
- attend meetings or conferences with others who share their interest
- budget time and money for their possessions


- feel embarrassed by their possessions
- have their possessions scattered randomly often without any functional organization
- have clutter that often results in the loss of functional living space
- often have debt, sometimes extreme
- feel ashamed, sad or depressed after acquiring additional items

Hoarding disorder can start very early in life and often gets worse over time. If you have this condition, or suspect that a loved one might be affected, watch the Speakers Series webcast for more information on treatment and community resources.

Read more health tips from Sunnybrook experts.