Hoarding disorder Little Miss Organised Australia

The Ins and Outs of Hoarding Disorder

A hoarding disorder may be the reason you are struggling to let go of your stuff.

The persistent difficulty of getting rid of or parting with goods because you feel the desire to keep them is known as hoarding disorder. When you consider getting rid of the objects, you could feel distressed. You progressively accumulate or keep a lot of items regardless of their true value.

Hoarding frequently results in cramped living spaces with only a few narrow passageways squeezing past piles of debris. For example, the countertops, sinks, stoves, workstations, or stairs would be piled high with clutter. 

Some places might not be usable for what they were designed for. You might not be able to cook in the kitchen, for instance. When there isn’t any more room within your home, the mess may begin to accumulate in the yard, garage, cars, and other storage locations.

Characteristics of Hoarding Disorder

1. Persistent Difficulty Discarding or Parting With Possessions

The initial indication of hoarding disorder is the excessive saving of random items. Clutter may accumulate over time until there is no more living space. This occurs gradually, so it could go overlooked until someone mentions how congested a space has grown.

2. Extreme Acquiring Behaviour

Even when they run out of space or don’t need the objects, people with hoarding disorders keep accumulating things. It may take some time before others realise that someone is hoarding since those with hoarding disorders usually keep the items in their houses.

3. Clutter Causing Significant Disruption to Daily Life

Disruptive clutter can result from hoarding disorders. This can negatively impact your quality of life in a number of ways. It can lead to stress and embarrassment in your interpersonal, family, and professional life. Additionally, it may result in hazardous and unsanitary living circumstances.

Differentiating Hoarding Disorder From Simply Having a Lot of Belongings

Hoarding disorder Little Miss Organised Australia 2
Hoarding disorder Little Miss Organised Australia 2

The symptoms and causes of hoarding and collecting are different.

Saving certain goods, such as comic books, money, or stamps, is typical of collecting. These would be carefully chosen and usually organised in a certain way. This kind of collecting generally has no detrimental effects on your daily life.

Hoarding does not involve organising objects in a way that makes them simple to use or access. Items of little or no monetary worth, such as scraps of paper or broken toys, are frequently hoarded by those who suffer from hoarding disorder. Their daily lives are also badly impacted by hoarding.

Listen to the interview on hoarding disorder to learn more: 



Susie: It’s Luke and Susie with you for Faith Family Culture. I’m excited to catch up with our next guest, mostly because she always just brings that reinvigoration into getting things organised in our life.

Luke: Lately she’s been trash talking to me. That’s what you love, too.

Susie: Well, I just like her support, but I also like that we’re going to be talking today about a subject I’ve started seeing. You know how videos sometimes pop up on your screen, and I seem to be getting a lot about boarding at the moment.

Luke: Anything?

Susie: I obviously clicked one hoarding video and now they’re coming up all the time. But this is what we’re going to talk about.

Luke: Susie has often accused me of hoarding when it comes to my old technical equipment and my computer cords. Little Miss Organised Bonnie Black is with us right now. Hoarding, how big an issue is it? And what’s the difference between someone just keeping some stuff that might be useful and actually hoarding?

Bonnie: That is a great question. So the studies have shown that hoarding actually affects 2 to 5% of the population, but researchers believe it could be even higher because it’s a bit of a shameful condition that a lot of people do not like to talk about. So the difference between someone who has hoarding disorder and, you know, your great aunt Mildred, who’s got a lot of stuff in her house, is people who have hoarding disorder is they generally have an inability to let go of things. Whether it’s rubbish or otherwise. They have a constant need to acquire. And then the third factor is that that clutter and that hoard of items starts impacting their daily life. So you might go to someone’s house and they can’t use their shower because the shower is too full of clutter. Or maybe the electricity has had to be switched off because it’s a rented property and the landlord wasn’t allowed in to go and fix it or a tradesperson couldn’t get in to fix it. So it’s when it starts impacting daily life in some way, that that’s kind of that third key point to click it over into hoarding disorder.

Luke: So I think it’s fair to say that my box of kettle cord sous. Doesn’t do any of that. 

So it’s okay.

Bonnie: That’s just a bug there for Susan.

Susie: It really is.

Luke: I did throw out some old telephone cabling that there is no way, in any way, shape or form I’m ever going to get to use that again.

Susie: How hard was it?

Luke: It was a little pang. Is there any circumstance where this might come in handy? Even if there is, I could just buy another one.

Susie: Is that a part of the clue, if we’re prone to hoarding, that it hurts to let go of stuff? Or is that just a natural response?

Bonnie: I think it’s a bit of a natural response because people who have hoarding disorder, it’s more than just I don’t really want to get that. It couldn’t feel like your arms being ripped off. So I had a client years ago who was never able to have children, and she had this couple of hundred soft toy collection. And I asked her, are there any that you feel like you could let go of? And it was a big process and it took like probably an hour until she could finally pick three and the goodbye ceremony to say goodbye to those. And she said to me afterwards, I feel like I’m giving away my children. So it’s much more than a pang.

Luke: Yeah.

Bonnie: For me, it wasn’t ripping a limb off. It was just a little leg hair.

Luke: Just little leg hair. Yeah.

Bonnie: Which our swim and do all the time.

Susie: If we are recognising ourselves as having potentially this disorder or we know someone in our life who we love and care about who is experiencing this, what would you suggest as the best thing to do?

Bonnie: So first thing of all is to actually have, if it’s a friend or a family member that you think they’re kind of struggling with is to sit down in a safe space, have a conversation with them. And it’s got to be a conversation that doesn’t have any agenda brought into it and it’s got to be in a neutral place. That kind of thing about, I recognize that there’s a lot going on. How do you feel about your home? Because often we have our standards that we put onto others and that person may not be feeling like it’s actually a problem. So if it’s for a friend or family member having that conversation, just getting it started is a really good thing. If it’s for yourself and you recognize, hey, actually with those three traits apply to me, it’s good to go online and look up some resources. So there’s a few different resources that we have in Australia, which is really good. We have things like our Little Home organised podcast where we’ve done a couple of episodes with Dr. Randy Frost, who is a world leading research into a hoarding disorder. We’ve got a couple of episodes with Lee and Beck Chua, and Lee’s actually a recovering space invader. And there’s another website called Hoarding Home Solutions where you can go and do an online course. But one of the coolest things that’s actually coming out in the next couple of months is the Buried in Treasures workshops, which have been around for a few years now. And there’s a book that goes along with them. And basically it’s like a group kind of therapy setting where they go through a chapter of the book together each week over 16 weeks. And these have always been very fast and very difficult to get people connected into, sometimes because of the cost. And there’s just not a lot of them running. But Lee and Beck Chua from Mutual Support Consulting, they have actually just managed to run a couple of trial groups over the last six months going virtual and they are going to be starting some Australian time based groups. So that’s a really great resource for people who are wanting to get involved and get on top of their hoarding disorder and maybe have some access to a really supportive of environment that’s going to help the process go a lot smoother.

Susie: What was that called again?

Bonnie: So mutual support consulting. Or if you look up our little home organised podcast, we’ve just done an episode with Lee and Beck called Buried in Treasures and we talk about it a little bit more in there.

Luke: Make sure you check out that podcast. Little Miss Organised, thank you so much for your time.

Bonnie: Thank you for having me.


It’s important to keep in mind that hoarding is a mental health issue and is not caused by a lack of effort or motivation. As with any mental health issue, getting expert assistance as soon as symptoms start to show will lessen the impact on your life. A mental health specialist can assist you in controlling your hoarding-related thoughts and actions.

Even if you haven’t completely gotten rid of your clutter by the end of treatment, you will have a greater knowledge of the issue. You will have a strategy to assist you to organise your belongings and keep from returning to your old behaviours.

Having a well-organised shed can have numerous benefits, such as improving your productivity, reducing stress levels, and enhancing your overall quality of life. By implementing effective organisation strategies and decluttering your space, you can create a more efficient and peaceful living environment. If you’re struggling with shed , be sure to check out the article about shed organisation for helpful tips and advice to overcome common challenges.

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