Hoarding is defined as obtaining and refusing to throw out items that would normally appear to be worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary. When these items accumulate, living spaces become significantly cluttered and can no longer be used for the activities associated with that space. For example, bathtubs serve as storage for dishes. Living rooms only have narrow pathways between piles of clutter. Beds are covered with food wrappers, books, and clothes. Refrigerators are completely filled with spoiled food. Animal waste is present under the clutter. Hoarding can also be dangerous if it puts the individual or others at risk from fire, falling, poor sanitation, and other health concerns.
Hoarding can be a contentious issue among family members adding stress and frustration to an already sensitive issue. While the exact underlying causes of hoarding are unknown, there are some underlying factors including OCD and ADHD.