News

Why do people hoard?

Loneliness is one of the main reasons behind a hoarder's behaviour, said Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist running his own practice.

"People who are lonely tend to display hoarding behaviour as they project relationships onto objects rather than people."

He said that hoarding can affect anyone, regardless of age.

"Hoarding is a psychiatric condition which is insidious and gets worse as years go by.

"People typically think of hoarders as elderly people who live alone but that's not true.

"It can affect young people too."

Dr Lim said there is little neighbours can do to help a hoarder.

"The very nature of the condition means that talking to the hoarder probably won't be of much help.

"The best thing to do is to report (the issue) to the authorities so that they can get proper mental help for the hoarder."


RECENT HOARDING CASES

Toa Payoh (February 2015)

A mother and son pair were such serious hoarders that their clutter spilled over to the unit two storeys below, which belonged to the woman's mother-in-law.

When the authorities tried to clear the flat, the pair created such a scene that they were both arrested. A total of 10.5 tonnes of trash was cleared.

Sengkang (October 2014)

Filling the storeroom and three bedrooms within a year, a man's hoarding got so out of hand that he had to climb over piles of items to get to the kitchen. It took volunteers 10 hours to clear his four-room flat.

Jalan Bukit Ho Swee (March 2014)

An elderly rag-and-bone woman accumulated so much junk along the common corridor that her neighbour was afraid it would be a fire hazard. The clutter was eventually cleared by the Tanjong Pagar Town Council.

Serangoon (February 2014)

A woman's hoarding caused the door of her three-room flat to be completely blocked. She spent most of her time outside her home and used the public toilet below her flat.