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Published: February 25, 2021

Is Hoarding and Collecting the Same Thing?

Perhaps you have a lot of hoarded items in your home, but you thought it was considered collecting all along. At what point does it qualify as hoarding?

There are many key characteristics of hoarding and collecting, which can help you differentiate between the two. Read on to find out what they are…


Collecting does not mean a person is living with hoarding disorder (HD).

According to the International OCD Foundation, “In contrast to people with hoarding disorder, collectors keep their possessions well-organized, and each item differs from other items to form interesting and often valuable groupings.” Collecting is known to be systematic, and it doesn’t induce the clutter, financial distress, and impairment that hoarding is known to cause. When someone is a collector, items do not take over their living space.

Examples of collections include coins, stamps, antiques, sports memorabilia, rocks, artwork, rare books, and more – which are typically acquired through carefully planned searches. Collectors are usually proud of their collections, and they’re known to display or arrange them with care.


Hoarding disorder (HD) is very different from owning a collection or multiple collections.

As the International OCD Foundation states, “A major feature of HD is the disorganized nature of the clutter – in most cases, the living spaces can no longer be used for everyday living as they were intended. Moving through the home is challenging, exits are blocked, and normal routines within the home are difficult.”

Homes with hoarded items are disorganized and filled with clutter that impedes upon living spaces such as the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. Unlike collecting, hoarded belongings don’t align with any particular hobby or theme, and they’re often random and excessive in nature. It’s common for hoarded stuff to have been acquired from the side of the road, giveaways, discount stores, and more.

While collecting often brings the collector joy, hoarding tends to be the opposite. Hoarding is known to have negative impacts, and discarding possessions can cause a lot of distress for someone who hoards. Hoarding can also affect finances, work, and relationships.

If you or someone you love struggles with hoarding, you’re not alone. Although it can be challenging to break free from the cycle of hoarding, it’s important to seek the help you deserve. Find out how you can offer someone who hoards support here.

Want to discover how UnderCut Junk Removal can help you clean your home? Find out about our hoarding cleanup services at undercutjunkremoval.com, or call us for a free estimate at 516-317-6203.

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