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What objects make up a Hoard?

Anything and everything can be hoarded. As each person is individual so are the items they choose to hang on to. Common objects include clothes, photographs, crockery, furniture and even animals. A hoard tends to have some personal significance, value or perceived usefulness although, in extreme cases, people keep apparently bizarre items such as faeces and urine – even these will have personal relevance.

Items can have direct or indirect significance. Direct significance might be ascribed to an item bought or acquired in person, perhaps received as a gift or inherited. Indirect significance can be tied to an object by association and has no direct link to the individual. A concert programme can be collected as a reminder or memory of someone having mentioned the event.

The home is the most common environment for a hoard, although they can be found anywhere that a person with the disorder has access. Garages, storage facilities and offices can be used. Often, friends and family are implicated in hoarding behaviours by providing the temporary relief of additional storage space, resulting in their own environment becoming cluttered.

Clutter prevents maintenance from being undertaken due to the inaccessibility of areas that need repair and the reluctance of workers to enter affected premises. In the long term, this often leads to further damage. Many sufferers live without heating or hot water when the boiler breaks down and they cannot get a repair carried out. As a result, they rely on other means of heating, such as a bar or blow heaters, which can themselves present a further hazard as they can cause fires by igniting the clutter. The risk of fire also affects others living in the home, neighbours and the property itself. The hoarding of food also poses a danger through vermin infestation.