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Compulsive Hoarding and Nomad Lifestyle

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Great Question from Budapest: I need some help to create a fictional character.
What happens if someone with compulsive hoarding disorder doesn’t have a home? E.g. nomads, adventurers, people living in a trailer or on the street? Do they find a place at any cost, must cope with their disorder or do they try to carry all their stuff?

Compulsive Hoarding and Nomad Lifestyle

Answered by on -


To understand the essence of hoarding it is about not letting go. Like any other disorder it is frequency and intensity that make it pathological. We all hold on to things we like, which is normal. But when we hold on to too much of something it becomes pathological. I’ve known homeless hoarders who collect garbage and keep it with them in the spaces they inhabit — and people who live in trailers and hoard TV guides and newspapers. Adventures may hoard their trophies of places they’ve traveled, experiences they’ve had, or wild animals they’ve snagged.

However, I believe your question has an outlier. A nomad, by personality and character does not want to hold on to anything. They don’t hold on to relationships or places to live. If you wanted to make the nomad a character challenged by hoarding behavior you might experiment with him on the move with all of his stuff. A severely cluttered Winnebago perhaps?

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Compulsive Hoarding and Nomad Lifestyle

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Compulsive Hoarding and Nomad Lifestyle. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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