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Tape Hoarding

Hoarding is the act of engaging in excessive acquisition of items that are not needed or for which no space is available.[1]

Human hoarding[edit]

A cartoon of two women with the above panel having a woman hoarding and the below panel having the two share resources via rationing
An anti-hoarding, pro-rationing poster from the United States in World War II

Civil unrest or the threat of natural disasters may lead people to hoard foodstuffs, water, gasoline, and other essentials that they believe will soon be in short supply. Survivalists, also known as preppers, often stockpile large supplies of these items in anticipation of a large-scale disaster event.[2][3]

Other items commonly hoarded include coins considered to have an intrinsic value, such as those minted in silver, or gold, as well as collectibles, jewelry, precious metals[4] and other luxuries.

According to previous[5] studies, Anthropomorphism, or the propensity to attribute human characteristics to non-human items, has been associated with hoarding. Additionally, the findings stated that younger individuals had more substantial hoarding and anthropomorphizing cognitions and behaviors, and women demonstrated stronger early anthropomorphizing behaviors compared to men.[6]


The first documented case of hoarding was in the Collyer Mansion by the brothers Homer and Langley in 1947, New York. Their mansion became an attraction in 1938 because of the extreme level of accumulation and fortune found in their residence after their deaths.[7]


Apartment of a compulsive hoarder

Individuals who meet the diagnostic criteria for hoarding disorder experience feelings of anxiety or discomfort about discarding possessions they do not need. This discomfort arises from an emotional attachment to possessions and a strong belief that their possessions will be needed in the future. Possessions will take on a sentimental value that outweighs their functional value. This is no different from someone without hoarding disorder; the difference lies in the strength of this sentimental value and in how many items take on a sentimental value. For this reason, when discarding items, hoarders may feel like they are throwing away a part of themselves.[8]

In severe cases, a house may become a fire hazard (due to blocked exits and stacked papers) or a health hazard (due to vermin infestation, excreta and detritus from excessive pets, hoarded food and garbage, or the risk of stacks of items collapsing on the occupants and blocking exit routes).[9] Thus, hoarding affects more than just the owner of the objects, as the state of a hoarded house can have a negative effect on all occupants and even neighbors. Furthermore, individuals with hoarding disorder may have a quality of life as poor as those diagnosed with schizophrenia.[10] Eventually, the disorder increases family strain,[11] work impairment,[12] and the risk of serious medical conditions.[13]

Hoarding disorder begins at an average age of 13 years old.[14] The general consensus is that men and women are equally prone to hoarding.[15] Hoarding can run in families, and it may be possible genetics play a role in developing hoarding behaviors.[16] Also, this behavior can be developed due to life circumstances such as difficult losses, depression, financial crises, and living small which make it difficult for people to get rid of their belongings.[14]

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,[17] the criteria for hoarding disorder boils down to five main points. Firstly, the hoarder experiences difficulty parting with items regardless of the item’s value. Secondly, the hoarder feels a need to save items, and when they do part with them, this leads to strong distress. This, in turn, leads to objects cluttering the home to the point that living is compromised and rooms can’t be used for their intended purposes. If the house has not fallen into such a state, it is only because of outside parties intervening. Fourthly, the hoarding has compromised the hoarder’s life in a clinically significant way, including an inability to maintain a safe living environment. Lastly, the diagnosis is only given if another psychological diagnosis doesn’t fit better and there is no physiological reason to explain the hoarding. For an exact quote of the diagnostic criteria, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is available to the public.[18]


There are no medications currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating the symptoms of hoarding. Although, some medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), can be used off-label for individuals diagnosed with hoarding disorder.[19]

The primary treatment for hoarding disorder is individual psychotherapy. In particular, cognitive behavior therapy is regarded as the gold standard for treating the disorder.[20]

In literature[edit]

In the Divine Comedy, those who hoard are depicted as sinners locked in eternal battle with wasters. Overseen by Pluto (the former god of wealth now turned into a demon and that speaks in gibberish) they have to push heavy boulders (representing money) in opposite direction, each time the two lines of sinners meet they accuse and insult each other. The hoarders and wasters have been condemned to Hell for being unable to practice moderation with money.[21]

In William Shakespeare’s play Coriolanus, Caius Marcius and his followers hoard grain, only sharing it with those they deem worthy.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hoarding disorder - Symptoms and causes". Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 2023-10-05.
  2. ^ Preppers, once mocked, say they were ready for coronavirus crisis
  3. ^ Doomsday preppers' advice on how to prepare for the coronavirus
  4. ^ Palmer, Barclay. "A Beginner's Guide to Precious Metals". Investopedia. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  5. ^ Burgess, Alexandra M.; Graves, Lucy M.; Frost, Randy O. (June 2018). "My possessions need me: Anthropomorphism and hoarding". Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. 59 (3): 340–348. doi:10.1111/sjop.12441. ISSN 0036-5564. PMID 29608213.
  6. ^ Neave, Nick; Jackson, Rachel; Saxton, Tamsin; Hönekopp, Johannes (2015-01-01). "The influence of anthropomorphic tendencies on human hoarding behaviours". Personality and Individual Differences. 72: 214–219. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.08.041. ISSN 0191-8869.
  7. ^ "PDF.js viewer" (PDF). library.oapen.org. Retrieved 2023-10-05.
  8. ^ Frost, Randy (1995). "A Cognitive-Behavioral Model of Compulsive Hoarding". Behaviour Research and Therapy. 34 (4): 341–350. doi:10.1016/0005-7967(95)00071-2. PMID 8871366.
  9. ^ "Hoarding", Mayo Clinic, 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-19.
  10. ^ Saxena, Sanjaya; Ayers, Catherine R.; Maidment, Karron M.; Vapnik, Tanya; Wetherell, Julie L.; Bystritsky, Alexander (2011). "Quality of life and functional impairment in compulsive hoarding". Journal of Psychiatric Research. 45 (4): 475–480. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2010.08.007. PMC 3009837. PMID 20822778.
  11. ^ Tolin, David F.; Frost, Randy O.; Steketee, Gail; Fitch, Kristin E. (2008). "Family burden of compulsive hoarding: Results of an internet survey". Behaviour Research and Therapy. 46 (3): 334–344. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2007.12.008. PMC 3018822. PMID 18275935.
  12. ^ Mathes, Brittany M.; Henry, Alastair; Schmidt, Norman B.; Norberg, Melissa M. (2018). "Hoarding symptoms and workplace impairment". British Journal of Clinical Psychology. 58 (3): 342–356. doi:10.1111/bjc.12212. PMID 30548281. S2CID 56484725.
  13. ^ Tolin, David F.; Frost, Randy O.; Steketee, Gail; Gray, Krista D.; Fitch, Kristin E. (2008). "The economic and social burden of compulsive hoarding". Psychiatry Research. 160 (2): 200–211. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2007.08.008. PMC 3018686. PMID 18597855.
  14. ^ a b Steketee, Gail; Bratiotis, Christiana (2020). Hoarding: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-094639-5.
  15. ^ Rodriguez, Carolyn (August 2021). "What is Hoarding Disorder". American Psychiatric Association.
  16. ^ Rodriguez, Carolyn. "Expert Q&A: Hoarding Disorder". American Psychiatry Association.
  17. ^ American Psychiatric Association (2022-03-18). "Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders". Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR ed.). American Psychiatric Association Publishing. doi:10.1176/appi.books.9780890425787.x06_obsessive_compulsive_and_related_disorders. ISBN 978-0-89042-575-6.
  18. ^ "DSM-5 Hoarding Disorder Criteria". doi:10.1176/appi.books.9780890425787.x06_Obsessive_Compulsive_and_Related_Disorders.
  19. ^ "Hoarding disorder - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic". www.mayoclinic.org. Retrieved 2023-10-05.
  20. ^ Gilliam, Christina M.; Norberg, Melissa M.; Villavicencio, Anna; Morrison, Samantha; Hannan, Scott E.; Tolin, David F. (2011). "Group cognitive-behavioral therapy for hoarding disorder: An open trial". Behaviour Research and Therapy. 49 (11): 802–807. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2011.08.008. PMID 21925643.
  21. ^ a b Chang, Ryan (November 14, 2022). "Historical Portrayal of Hoarding Disorder in European Literature and Its Relationship to the Economic and Personal Circumstances of the Authors". Cureus. 14 (11): e31025. doi:10.7759/cureus.31025. PMC 9629820. PMID 36349076.

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