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Hoarding behaviours can
be caused by a range of factors
and affect people in different ways.

About hoarding

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), hoarding is a medical condition characterised by the accumulation of possessions due to excessive acquisition of or difficulty discarding possessions, regardless of their actual value.

Hoarding behaviours can be caused by a range of factors and can affect people in entirely different ways. Often, people don't even know that they have a hoarding disorder until it becomes a problem.

What are the characteristics of hoarding?

Hoarding safety tips

Fires in homes where hoarding takes place are more hazardous to the occupant, their neighbours and firefighters.

Your local fire and rescue service will offer free safety visits for people with hoarded homes.

Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Concerned about someone with hoarding behaviours? Help them with this advice:

  • Plan and practise the escape from their home in the event of a fire and encourage them to keep this route clear of possessions
  • In the event of a fire, advise them that they must not attempt to put it out themselves. They should get out, stay out and call 999 without stopping on their way out to collect possessions
  • Encourage them to make it a priority to keep their cooking area clear
  • They must not place items on, or close to, heaters, lamps or other electrical equipment
  • If they smoke, make sure they use a proper ashtray that won’t burn and that it is placed on a flat, stable surface so that it can’t tip over easily
  • Newspapers and mail stored in bulk are highly combustible and will cause a fire to spread rapidly. Encourage them to sort
    mail and newspapers on the day they receive them and recycle them on a regular basis
  • Check whether possessions are stored on stable surfaces and that items aren’t stacked to a height that they become unstable – they could fall over blocking their escape
  • Make sure they have working smoke alarms and that they test them every week
  • If they use candles/tea lights ensure that they use heat resistant holders that hold them firmly and that they are
    placed on a flat, stable, heat resistant surface. They must keep candles/tea lights away from anything that can catch fire, and never leave them unattended.

Our hoarding support group

We run a hoarding support group, with Hoarding Disorders UK, a not-for-profit community interest company. This group provides a safe place for people with hoarding behaviours to meet once per month. They are currently meeting over the phone.

At our hoarding support group, you can:

  • Learn practical ways to cope with hoarding habits
  • Share ideas and experiences with other people affected by hoarding

Anyone affected by hoarding or who knows someone who hoards is welcome to attend a support and advice group. The group is non-judgmental, confidential and supportive, giving advice and practical solutions.

How to join our support group

Our hoarding support group meets on the second Wednesday of every month from 7pm to 8pm. You don't need to book your place in advance.

You can join by entering these details into your phone when the session starts:

Dial: 0800 026 0579
Pin: 688606

The next meetings will be on these dates:


Wednesday 11 May 2022, 7pm - 8pm

Wednesday 8 June 2022, 7pm - 8pm

Visit the hoarding support group website

The characteristics of hoarding

Know someone with hoarding behaviours?

If you're concerned about someone you know who shows hoarding behaviours, it's really important to approach them sensitively and without judgement. If you need some help with this, we have put together a useful guide on some of the 'do's and don'ts' of talking to someone with hoarding behaviours.

How to talk to someone with hoarding behaviours [pdf] 148KB

Important documents

Try to keep all these documents in an easily accessible place (if you have them):

  • Annual tax returns
  • Birth certificate
  • Car information
  • Divorce papers
  • Driving Licence
  • House deeds, mortgages, bills of sale
  • Insurance documents
  • Marriage certificate
  • National Insurance Number
  • NHS Number
  • Passport
  • Pension Documents
  • Year-end statements for investment

Useful links

Hoarding Disorders UK

Hoarding Disorders UK is a not for profit Community Interest Company. They aim to provide practical hands-on support as well as expert advice to those affected by the varying levels of hoarding disorder. We also work closely with Hoarding Disorders UK to provide the hoarding support group.

Visit the Hoarding Disorders UK website

Hoarding UK

HoardingUK is the only UK-wide charity dedicated to supporting people affected by hoarding behaviours.

Visit the Hoarding UK website

Help For Hoarders

As featured on BBC One, Help For Hoarders provides information, support and advice for people who hoard and their loved one's. There are plenty of useful resources on this website that can help you to better understand hoarding disorder.

Visit the Help For Hoarders website

Clouds End

Clouds End is the first social enterprise to work with people with hoarding issues in the UK. Their services are available to anyone looking to tackle a hoarding situation that is causing a problem.

Visit the Clouds End website