The Brookline Hoarding Task Force defines hoarding as the collection of materials to the point where an individual’s quality of life and the functions of one’s living space is diminished. Detectable signs of hoarding include blocked egresses, non-functioning toilets, and fire hazards due to an abundance of material. Other signs include infestations, collected spoiled food, and squalor.
Hoarding conditions may present a nuisance or safety hazard to the surrounding community due to potential fire hazards, odor, or pest issues. Some individuals present extreme cleanliness and organization in addition to their hoarding behavior. Hoarding is not exclusive to the elderly population; it is observed in a full range of age groups, education levels, and mental health states.