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H - Hoarding

Since 2006, 14% of fatal fires in the UK have involved people who exhibit hoarding behaviours. Hoarding is defined by services across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire as:

“the excessive collection and retention of any material to the point that living space is sufficiently cluttered to preclude activities for what they are designed for […] Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.”

This can include inanimate objects, pets, and even “data hoarding,” a relatively new phenomena for keeping data collection equipment such as computers or electronic storage devices.

The CHARLIE-P score should reflect the hoard in the home environment, using ratings from the Clutter Image Rating (CIR) tool.

Score 1 2 4 8 10
Descriptor Rare Unlikely Possible Likely Almost certain
H Hoarding 1-2 CIR 3 CIR 4-5 CIR 6-7 CIR 8+ CIR

Clutter Image Ratings - CIR

The Clutter Image Rating Scale (CIR) was developed to help individuals and professionals alike determine where to draw the line. The images below represent rooms in various stages of clutter — from completely clutter-free to very severely cluttered.

A series of 9 images showing a room getting progressively more cluttered

Why do people hoard?

The reasons why someone begins hoarding are not fully understood.

It can begin as a symptom of another condition. For example, someone with mobility problems may be unable to clear the huge amounts of clutter or people with learning difficulties, or people with developing dementia may be unable to categorise and dispose of items.

When does hoarding become a problem?

  • When the environment becomes a fire risk
  • The person is unable to access rooms or exit the property
  • They become upset if someone tries to clear the clutter and their relationship suffers

Where can hoarding help be found?