Digital Hoarding: How is it Done and Everything Else to Know

We’re familiar with the term “Hoarding”. Isn’t it? Well, it’s an obsessive compulsion that bounds individuals to take hold or possess excessive quantities of items from their surroundings. In simple parlance, a hoarder is a person who collects large quantities of any product or commodity, stores it, and then sells it at a higher price in the future.

We’ve often heard about shopping hoarders, fuel hoarders, food hoarders, or anything that a person stores in bulk quantities. Be that as it may, hoarding is an offensive practice and is treated more like a mental disorder if you ask the psychological experts.

Digital Hoarding
Image source: Center for Research and Evidence

Have you heard about Digital Hoarding? It’s a relatively newly discovered practice where individuals tend to keep possession of digital items like emails, images, videos, articles, or almost any electronic material. Well, yes, hoarding has made its way in the digital world as well. In this post, we will be learning all about what is digital hoarding, how is it done, types of digital hoarding, and everything else wrapped around the subject.

Let’s get started.

What is Digital Hoarding?

What is Digital Hoarding
Image source: MEL Magazine

Call it e-hoarding, cyber hoarding, or digital hoarding. There are various ways to address this practice where an individual conducts an excessive acquisition of electronic items. Simply, mass storage of any digital artifacts whether pursued intentionally or unintentionally can be referred to as digital hoarding. This clustering of digital items can be a medical condition where a person is bound to keep large quantities of data stored on their devices.

Why is it Done?

Why is it Done
Image source: The Daily Beast

Unable to fathom why individuals do so? Digital Hoarding can be intentional or non-intentional. Wondering how? Let’s understand it with the help of an example. Your inbox must be flooded with a lot of emails, right? And same goes with our smartphone where we tend to store thousands of images and videos and don’t feel an urge to delete them? Digital clutter can exist anywhere, be it your inbox, files, and folders, old documents, images, audio files, or even browser tabs. A cluttered desktop is also a common example of digital hoarding.

Also read: 10 Best iPhone/iPad File Managers To Organize Data (Both Free & Paid)

Types of Digital Hoarders

We have categorized digital hoarders into 4 different types, as per their characteristics. Which one are you? Want to find out? Read on.

Types of Digital Hoarders
Image source: Medical Xpress

1. The Collectors

Collectors follow the most naive practice of digital hoarding where they acquire, possess, and manage digital data in a  very organized and systematic manner. They do have an intention of hoarding digital artifacts and they most certainly know what they are doing.

2. Accidental/Unitnential Hoarders

Accidental Hoarders are the opposite of “Collectors”. Accidental or unintentional hoarders are highly disorganized and they collect and store items haphazardly with absolutely no control over them.

3. Hoarder by Instruction

These are majorly spotted at workplaces. A hoarder by the instruction is someone who will do everything on behalf of orders of the company or an individual.

4. Anxious Hoarders

Here comes the most serious kind of digital hoarders. Anxious hoarders face some serious troubles in losing any digital data, even if it’s irrelevant. They are unable to get rid of emails, images, documents, or almost anything, and face serious anxiety when it comes to deleting it.

Also read: 5 Easy Techniques To Keep Data Safe

An OCD Gone Wrong!

Here’s a recent piece of news related to Digital Hoarding that crawled up the headlines. There was a story discovered of a middle-aged man who took around 1000-1200 pictures every single day from his smartphone phone and digital camera. These pictures were then further processed, edited, and categorized into various folders and stored on external hard drives.

An OCD Gone Wrong
Image source: Live Science

Well, to some people this gesture may sound insane and some individuals can also debate that it’s simply a collection of a few digital items. His case study was even published in the British Medical Journal which reflected that the man suffered from stress and anxiety. An obsessive compulsion of pursuing this act, again and again, can surely be an example of Digital Hoarding.


Here was all about what is digital hoarding, types of digital hoarders, and everything else to know wrapped in a nutshell. If you think you’re practicing digital hoarding or if you know anyone else who follows the same, then we advise you to tackle it immediately. It will help you in reducing your anxiety and stress once you get rid of this obsessive compulsion of possessing digital data in bulk quantities.

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