The 5 Negative Effects of Hoarding on Your Mental and Physical Health

guy feeling stress

From the outside looking in, it may be hard to understand why someone would choose to live in a cluttered home to the point of being unsafe. But for those who suffer from hoarding disorder, it’s not a choice—it’s a compulsion. And while it may seem harmless enough, hoarding can have some severe consequences for your mental and physical health. Here are five ways hoarding can affect your health and well-being.

1. It Can Weigh You Down Emotionally

Cleaning up a hoarder’s home is no easy feat. And even if you’re not the one doing the cleaning, living in or near a hoard can be emotionally draining. The anxiety and stress of constantly being surrounded by clutter can lead to depression and social isolation. If you feel you or someone you know is suffering from a hoarding problem, don’t hesitate to seek help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with hoarding, seeking help is important. Numerous options are available for those who wish to declutter their homes and lives, although it could seem like a big task. Professional organizers can offer guidance and support, and specialized hoarding cleanup services can help with the physically challenging task of sorting and discarding items. In addition, many online and in-person support groups are available for people struggling with compulsive hoarding. These groups provide a safe and supportive environment where members can share their experiences and offer advice and encouragement to one another. By seeking help, individuals struggling with hoarding can begin to regain control of their lives.

2. It Puts You at Risk for Injury

When a home is cluttered with items, there’s an increased risk of trip-and-falls, fires, and other accidents. Studies have shown that hoarders are more likely to die in house fires than non-hoarders because their homes are so crammed full of stuff that it’s difficult to move around safely—or escape quickly in an emergency.

Hoarding can pose a serious risk to those who engage in the behavior. Hoarders frequently suffer injuries because they must dig through mountains of junk and waste to find anything. This can lead to slips, trips, falls, and cuts from sharp objects. In extreme cases, hoarders have even been known to become trapped under collapsed ceilings or walls. In addition, the condition of a hoarder’s home can attract pests like rats and cockroaches, which can also cause injuries. These pests can carry diseases that can be passed on to humans and bite or scratch people. As a result, hoarders need to get help in order to keep themselves safe from injury.

3. It Takes a Toll on Your Physical Health

Living in unsanitary conditions can put you at risk of developing respiratory problems, skin infections, and other illnesses. And if you have pets, the risk is even greater; animal hoarders often keep dozens—sometimes even hundreds—of animals in their homes, which can lead to dangerous levels of bacteria and parasites.

One of the most common diseases associated with hoarding is respiratory problems. The combination of dust, mold, and animal dander can create a hazardous environment to breathe in. Hoarders are also more susceptible to skin diseases due to close contact with contaminated surfaces. In addition, hoarders are at an increased risk for falls and other injuries due to the cluttered condition of their homes. If you or someone you know is struggling with hoarding, it is important to seek professional help. Many resources available can provide support and assistance in dealing with this disorder.

4. It Can Hurt Your Relationships

If you are living with a hoarder, chances are your home isn’t the most welcoming place for guests. And that can take a toll on your personal and professional relationships; many hoarders have lost jobs because clients or customers refuse to do business in their homes. If you think your hoarding habits might be driving a wedge between you and your loved ones, it’s time to get help before things get worse.

If you are struggling to cope with your loved one’s hoarding problem, here are a few tips that may help:

Try to understand the reasons behind their hoarding behavior. In many cases, hoarders are dealing with underlying disorders such as anxiety or depression. You can be more understanding and patient if you realize the root cause of their behavior.

Encourage them to seek professional help. If your loved one is willing to seek treatment for their hoarding disorder, there are many counselors and therapists who specialize in helping hoarders overcome their condition.

Set boundaries and stick to them. It is important that you set clear boundaries with your loved one and be firm in enforcing them. For example, you might tell them they cannot bring any more items into the house until they have gotten rid of some clutter. If necessary, you may need to limit your contact with them until they can control their hoarding problem.

Although it can be difficult to deal with a loved one’s hoarding problem, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Many resources and support groups are available to help hoarders and their loved ones cope with this condition.

5. It Can Destroy Your Finances

Hoarding is not just costly in terms of your physical and emotional health—it can also wreak havoc on your finances. Compulsive shopping habits coupled with difficulty throwing things away can lead to serious debt problems, not to mention eviction if you are renting or foreclosure if you own your home. If you are struggling to keep up with your bills because of hoarding habits, seek out professional help before it’s too late.


Hoarding may seem harmless, but it can have severe consequences for your mental and physical health. If you think you or someone you know may be struggling with hoarding disorder, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. It is better to take the proper remedy as soon as possible before it becomes unmanageable.