By Ardenis Perez Illustration Juliette Borda

Hoarding is persistent difficulty with discarding or parting with possessions. Common signs of this disorder include an inability to throw away belongings or severe anxiety when attempting to do so, and cluttered living spaces that make areas of a home unusable.

What causes hoarding is unclear, but genetics, brain chemistry and stressful life events may play a part. It can develop on its own and may also be linked to other conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression.

If you or someone you love is a hoarder, consult a health care provider for the best form of treatment. Visit and for more information.