What is the difference between Clutter, Collecting, and Hoarding?

Clutter and collecting may be confused with hoarding.

  • Clutter: Possessions are disorganized and may accumulate around living areas.
  • Collecting: Possessions are part of a larger set of items. Display does not impede active living areas in home. 
  • Hoarding: Possessions become unorganized piles preventing rooms from being used for their intended purpose

Clutter Image Rating Scale

The Clutter Image Rating Scale is used to figure out the amount of clutter in an individual's home. This tool can be used as self-assessment or by professionals; home visits may be difficult to conduct due to travel time, institutional rules, cost of travel, safety concerns, or individuals' unwilling to allow others into the cluttered home. 

How to use the scale

  • There are nine photographs of increasing severity for the four primary rooms in a living space.
  • Select the picture from each set that best matches the appearance of the corresponding room in their home


"Validation of the clutter image rating in older adults with hoarding disorder"

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