Hoarding, sometimes referred to as hoarding disorder or compulsive hoarding syndrome are all phrases that point to the same problem. Individuals who excessively collect items and/or animals so much that it interferes with their ability to conduct a normal, successful life. How it affects a person may be different from individual to individual, but the end result is that it affects their ability to conduct day-to-day activities, including family, work, social life and even health.

Our hoarding removal service can help you not only get your space back, but your life back too.

Severe hoarding causes very real safety and health hazards. The collection of newspapers, magazines, food, old clothes and other items may cause fires while animal hoarding can spread contagious diseases.

Levels of Hoarding

Although not commonly used by clinical psychologists, criteria for the five levels of hoarding have been set forth by the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) entitled the ICD Clutter Hoarding Scale. Using the perspective of a professional organizer, this scale distinguishes five levels of hoarding with Level I being the least severe and Level V being the worst. Within each level there are four specific categories that define the severity of clutter and hoarding potential:

  1. Structure and Zoning;
  2. Pets and Rodents;
  3. Household functions:
  4. Sanitation and Cleanliness.

Level I Hoarder

Household is considered standard. No special knowledge in working with the Chronically Disorganized is necessary.

Level II Hoarder

Household requires professional organizers or related professionals to have additional knowledge and understanding of Chronic Disorganization.

Level III Hoarder

Household may require services in addition to those a professional organizer and related professional can provide. Professional organizers and related professionals working with Level III households should have significant training in Chronic Disorganization and have developed a helpful community network of resources, especially mental health providers.

Level IV Hoarder

Household needs the help of a professional organizer and a coordinated team of service providers. Psychological, medical issues or financial hardships are generally involved. Resources will be necessary to bring a household to a functional level. These services may include pest control services, “crime scene cleaners,” financial counseling and licensed contractors and handy persons.

Level V Hoarder

Household will require intervention from a wide range of agencies. Professional organizers should not venture directly into working solo with this type of household. The Level V household may be under the care of a conservator or be an inherited estate of a mentally ill individual. Assistance is needed from many sources. A team needs to be assembled. Members of the team should be identified before beginning additional work. These members may include social services and psychological/mental health representative (not applicable if inherited estate), conservator/trustee, building and zoning, fire and safety, landlord, legal aid and/or legal representatives. A written strategy needs to be outlined and contractual agreements made before proceeding.

Courtesy Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD)

 While most people believe that cleaning someone’s hoard without consent would be in the best interest of the Hoarder. In fact, it only makes the psychological situation even worse. For each unique type of situation you can find additional resources below.

Types of Hoarding

Who Gets Hoarding Disorder?

How is Hoarding Disorder Treated?


When Stuff Takes Over

The Way to Help a Family Member