Signs Your Child Might be a Hoarder

I’ve recently come to the realization that my daughter is a closet hoarder. As in, she literally hoards things in her closet, like Ariel with her hidden trove of treasures.  

It started innocently enough with her moving a few of her favorite toys from the play room into her room. Within a few weeks, the floor of her room had morphed into a labyrinth of various toys, making the 8-foot walk from the door to her closet nearly impossible. It was then she decided her closet would become her cavern of wonders.  

Perhaps you, too, have a miniature hoarder that is currently developing and unfolding right before your very eyes, yet you are blissfully unaware. Luckily for you, I’ve prepared a list of signs that indicate your child might be a hoarder.

 1.  As you work to complete a brand new 500+ piece puzzle, you notice several pieces missing. You search under the table, rug, chairs, and cats, only to turn up some old skittles. You begrudgingly finish the puzzle and start a new one only to discover that, in fact, that puzzle is also missing pieces. You convince yourself to never buy another puzzle off Amazon again. Approximately 4 months later, you discover all of the missing puzzle pieces hidden in a pot in the oven of your child’s play kitchen. When confronted, your child simply responds with a devilish grin. Sure, this isn’t quite hoarding, but it’s an early indicator of what’s to come.

2.  You often notice your child rush into their room and shut the door.  When you inquire about what is happening, your little bundle of joy quickly comes to the door and prevents you from opening it the entire way. When asked, “whatcha up to?” they quickly respond with, “just playing, momma!”  This is a lie, they are not playing, they are stashing and organizing. Either way, you get some quiet time and no one dies, so this is a win-win as far as I can tell.  

 3.  You’re in a store/park/(insert any public place here) when your child asks you to hold their “treasures.” He/She hands you a part of a broken pen, a paper clip, and the back part of a security tag. You start to question how they acquired such items and the accompanying germs that undoubtedly went along with it, but decide it doesn’t really matter. A few weeks later, you discover them once again neatly placed on your child’s closet shelf. While you’d prefer to trash them, you know you will only be greeted by a fiery wrath if your daring act is discovered. 

4.  Your child suspiciously questions you when they discover you’ve been in their room, especially if they notice fresh vacuum lines. They fear you have infiltrated their secret stash, and moved things slightly from their intended places. After several rounds of interrogation, they seem satisfied with your responses and allow you to continue on with your day. It’s at this point you give up all hope and cross your fingers that this is “all just a phase.”

Writer’s note: While this is meant to be in good humor, I realize hoarding is a serious mental health issue, and I would never want to downplay that.  My intent is not to offend or hurt anyone, but shed a little light on the curious nature of my daughter in a relatable way.

Stephanie lives in Shawnee with her husband and two crazy redheaded children, Jack (7) and Allison (4). When she’s not working full time as an aviation meteorologist, or trying to stop her kids from fighting, she enjoys running, knitting, attempting to bake, cheering on the Huskers (#GBR!), and catching up on her DVR. You'll often find her dragging her kids and husband to breweries around KC in search of the best IPAs the city has to offer. You can follow her day-to-day snippets on Instagram (@stephavey).