Background: This project aimed to explore the experiences of people who compulsively hoard and how they make sense of their own hoarding behaviours. Method: A total of 11 compulsive hoarders were recruited and interviewed using a simple semi-structured interview format, designed for the purposes of the study. The resulting transcribed interviews were analyzed using interpretive-phenomenological analysis. Results: Four super-ordinate discrete, but interacting, themes were found: (1) childhood factors; (2) the participants' relationship to their hoarded items; (3) cognitive and behavioural avoidance of discard; and (4) the impact of hoarding on self, others and the home environment. The themes as a whole described people entrapped in massively cluttered physical environments of their own making. Efforts at discard appeared consistently sabotaged by cognitive/behavioural avoidance, thereby creating maintaining factors of associated personal distress and environmental decline. Conclusions: The results are discussed in the context of the extant evidence concerning hoarding, the distinct contribution made by the current results and the identified methodological shortcomings of the research approach.