Conversations In English Why Do We Hoard Ep 284

A photograph of a woman with her eyes closed standing in the middle of a huge collection of old books, with shelves stacked to the roof. The topic of hoarding was discussed in todays English language lesson.

📝 Author: Hilary

📅 Published:

🎈 Updated On:

💬 2342 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 12 min

📥 Download 7.6 Mb

Conversations In English

In today's listen and learn English lesson we pick an interesting topic, today it is all about why people hoard, and then we hold a conversation in English on the topic. This English lesson type is probably one of our most powerful learning techniques.

Why is this English language lesson format so successful? Why do 350,000+ people listen to these lessons every month?

  • It’s powerful because it’s simple, all you have to do is listen and understand the words you hear.
  • You get everyday English conversation, just the same as a native English speaker would use.
  • It comes in a story format which means you are hard wired to store this information in your longer term memory.
  • It’s interesting which makes it more likely you will listen to the audio several times, and this repeat spaced repetition listening will help store that information in your memory more securely.
  • The English vocabulary used is everyday English, but it’s also simple English using the words a native English speaker would use.
  • You learn something more than the English language, today you also learn about hoarding. You can use this to help you in your English conversation practice with people at work or in college or school.
  • The quality of the audio is high, so it’s easy to listen to details in the pronunciation.
  • We design the speed of the conversation for English language learners, it’s slow but not too slow.
  • We explain any difficult words and we spell these words to help you if you need to look the word up, and you get a full and free transcript of the audio.

Lot’s of people find acquiring English in this way just works for them.

Most Unusual Words:


Most common 2 word phrases:

Can Be7
A Psychological7
Hoarding Problem5
People Who5
The Person4

Listen To The Audio Lesson Now

The mp3 audio and pdf transcript for this lesson is now part of the Adept English back catalogue . You can still download and listen to this lesson as part of one of our podcast bundles.

Transcript: Conversations In English Why Do We Hoard

Hi there and welcome to this podcast from Adept English. In order for you to be good at conversations in English, you need to practice listening to discussions in English to improve your understanding. If you would like to understand better how to use our podcasts to improve your conversations in English, then sign up for our FREE English language course, the Seven Rules of Adept English. The course comes to you in seven parts, so that you can hear daily English conversation with me for seven days. The course shares with you lots of different secrets, which will make language learning much easier and help you move towards fluency. Unusually for us, it’s also got video of me talking to you! not

What is ‘hoarding’?

Let’s learn English together today, with one of those interesting English conversation topics. So I give you different topics to listen to will help you learn everyday English. So here goes with an interesting topic. As I’ve said to you before, my main job is as a psychotherapist. This means that I see people who are having difficulties, psychological difficulties of different kinds. And I offer them what’s called ‘talking therapy’ - so that means therapy, a kind of treatment to help people to get better and ‘talking therapy’ means that we do it through talking, through discussion. So lots of people have low mood – that means they feel sad.

{{ quote(body=“Your home is living space, not storage space.” author="Francine Jay")}}

Other people feel anxious – that means they worry a lot, they’re scared, frightened of all kinds of things. But one of the problems I sometimes come across in my practice is that of ‘hoarding’. So vocabulary here. ‘To hoard’ is a verb, spelt H-O-A-R-D and ‘to hoard’ means to store things up, to keep things, long after it’s necessary, long after they’re needed.

Animals do it!

So you would use the word ‘hoard’ sometimes of animals, who might keep a store of food, to take them through the winter, the cold winter months. So some animals, we might think of squirrels – there’s a difficult word to pronounce perhaps - S-Q-U-I-R-R-E-L-S, ‘squirrel’ or shrews – they hoard their food for the winter. And that’s probably quite sensible. In the days before supermarkets, when food was not as easily available as now, then keeping a store of food to take you through the winter months was very sensible. In some places in the world, you might die if you don’t do that.


A photograph of a squirrel eating a nut. During the English lessons conversation it was mentioned that animals hoard food for winter.

©️ Adept English 2019

Hoarding can be a psychological problem

But hoarding of the type that I’m talking about is a psychological problem, a psychological disorder, so an illness of the mind if you like. People can sometimes have difficulties throwing things away, putting them in the rubbish bin, letting possessions go. And the trouble is, in modern life, our ‘stuff’, S-T-U-F-F, our stuff, our possessions mount up – like a mountain, perhaps! We accumulate more and more things as we get older. So actually, even if you haven’t got a hoarding problem, it can still mean that your house gets fuller and fuller of stuff and there are things that you don’t really have space to store, which make your house untidy. And this can be because you just haven’t got around to dealing with it, you haven’t made time to address the problem.


But for some people, hoarding is a much more serious problem. So this is when it’s a psychological disorder. It affects 2.5-5% of people, it’s estimated. And it’s related to OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – if you’ve come across that? Some people can find it incredibly difficult to throw anything away. So they will keep items, possessions which were important or useful years ago, but they no longer are. People might keep things which are broken or things which have parts missing, ‘just in case they come in handy’. To ‘come in handy’ means ‘Ooh’ to be useful again’. If something ‘comes in handy’, it means suddenly they find a use for it. But for the typical person with a hoarding problem, for the typical hoarder, it would be really difficult to justify, to give sensible reasons for owning most of what they have. It’s stuff they don’t need, often which has little value – it’s just that they can’t throw it away.

What’s behind hoarding?

So what’s going on in the minds of people who hoard? Well, there are no set rules for someone’s psychology, everyone’s different. But my experience of people who hoard is that it tends to happen when the person remembers happier times in their life, which were a while ago. Perhaps their life doesn’t feel so good now, but the items that they keep, or at least some of them, can’t be thrown away, because the person isn’t ready to let go of that time.

Buy an Adept English Course

Perhaps because it felt better then than it feels now. Often people who have a hoarding problem are also very stuck in their lives. It might be that they don’t go out, sometimes they’re very isolated, they don’t see many people. And sometimes people with a hoarding problem find it hard to look at the future. The need to keep their hoard, all their stuff, takes over and stands in place of more positive things psychologically. In a phrase, hoarding happens where people find it ‘difficult to let go’, difficult to relinquish the past, because they don’t feel positive about now, or about the future.

Consequences of hoarding

And hoarding can be a very difficult problem for people to live with. If someone is a serious hoarder and they have a serious hoarding problem, there may not be a single area of their house which isn’t full of stuff. All the rooms are full, the halls and the corridors are full of stuff. There may even be rooms in the house, which are completely filled, so that no one can go into the room. It can be incredibly difficult for family members of hoarders, people who live in the same house. It sometimes breaks up relationships.


It also means that homes can be very hard to keep clean or that actually the house is impossible to clean. And then other problems start. It’s not uncommon for there the be infestations – so an infestation is when you get animals or insects living with you in your house, lots and lots of them, that you don’t want. Ugh. Sometimes hoarder houses can be dangerous to health in this way.

Can hoarding get better?

So what to do about this problem? Well, first of all it must be recognised that it is a psychological problem. It’s something that can be treated, and it can get better. And that usually happens at two levels. The first and most important is the psychological level. So the person has to have support, and probably some kind of therapy, to help them realise why they need to hold onto stuff so much. What is the loss that they’ve suffered in their life, what is the sad event that they’ve experienced, which makes them hold onto things? It’s very common for the person themselves, the hoarder themselves to not know the answer to this immediately – until they start to work on it in therapy. And the second level of treatment for people who’re hoarders, when they finally decide to address their problem, finally decide to clear out their house, they need practical help from someone else.

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

Someone who’s kind and patient, who’s willing to work with them to reduce all the stuff. But this someone just also be someone who is firm, someone who can challenge the hoarder if they feel that they’re falling back into old habits and keeping things. It can really be a wonderful thing to see someone in a clean and clear house, where all the stuff has gone after years and years of hoarding. The problem can often be fixed. It’s not something that people have to live with.


So hopefully that’s an interesting topic for discussion about a psychological issue, a psychological problem which is interesting to think about and gives you practice for conversations in English at the same time. It’s giving you everyday English in conversation, so that you can improve your understanding. Listen to this podcast a number of times to improve your English skills. Look up any words you don’t understand, then listen again once you can understand it all. By doing this, you’ll also be improving your spoken English conversation.

Anyway, enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

PS: Virtual Hoarding

There is a fine line between being a hoarder and being careful not to waste. A good example is our digital life here at Adept English, every audio clip, every video, every image and every text document gets stored away, we rarely throw anything away, and the size of all this data is huge.

Adept English is not hoarding it’s just being careful not to waste anything that may “come in handy” at some point. I would say most people fall into this hoarding category, they do it because they don’t have the time to spend on de-cluttering their lives. They do it because the cost of hoarding is relative low, it’s just space right?

"I have a hoarding problem because my mom is from a third-world country. And she taught me that you can never throw away anything because you never know when a dictator is going to overtake the country and snatch all of your wealth." Author: Ali Wong

I literally have hundreds of photos on my mobile phone, I rarely delete anything, I just let them pile up! When it comes time to get a new phone, the new phones tend to just have more space, so I can move everything over and keep piling new photos on. I dread to think of the time I would need to delete old photos.

So thinking about it I suspect there are far more virtual hoarders in the world.



The voice of Adeptenglish, loves English and wants to help people who want to speak English fluently.
🔺Top of page

TAWK is Disabled

Created with the help of Zola and Bulma