Are You Collecting or Hoarding?

People often ask how they can recognize if their, or their loved-ones, collection of items is a symptom of hoarding disorder. This is a good question, because collecting and hoarding are not the same.

Here is the difference between collecting and hoarding.


  • are proud of their belongings
  • like to showcase them and show them to people visiting their home
  • display items in a specific area of the home
  • take good care of their items
  • enjoy seeing the collection
  • visit exhibitions where they can find items to add to their collection


People who hoard

  • are embarrassed or feel ashamed of the amount of stuff
  • avoid inviting people over
  • have stuff all over the place, spaces look disorganized
  • have so many belongings that keeping them clean is no longer possible
  • feel anxious, and experience lots of unresolved emotions
  • often compulsively pick up any item, not just from a specific category


In this blog I describe the 3 key features of hoarding disorder as indicated by experts. Check this “Collecting, Compulsive Acquiring or Hoarding Behavior” Factsheet to fully understand the difference in more detail.

The most important about hoarding disorder is to understand that intervention is needed; hoarding is progressive and will not go away by itself.

Contact me if you want to talk and get your questions answered about hoarding disorder or compulsive acquiring.