I’m fascinated by the show ‘Hoarders’.

If you haven’t seen this show, it is an hour long look into the miserable life of a hoarder.

It seems there are 3 types of hoarders.

  • Those that can throw nothing out and life in a house full of garbage.
  • Those that have a shopping addiction and have a house full of things they’ve never used or worn.
  • Those that pick up garbage and bring it home, thinking they can ‘recycle’ it or fix it up,

And sometimes the people featured are all of the above.

These people are very very mentally ill by their hoarding.  They don’t see their clutter, can’t smell it, and don’t acknowledge that their hoarding is a problem.

The show features a therapist and a clean-up crew.  They are called to help when the hoarder is faced with an ultimatum.  So far I’ve seen hoarders who have had their children taken away, a couple hoarders who were facing eviction, one that was facing a divorce, and another who’s house was about to be condemned.

Tonight we just watched a husband and wife who had their children taken away and put in the custody of their grandparents.  The wife was the hoarder.  Every room was stuffed with trash and clutter.  Some of it was waist high or higher.  The entire kitchen was full and every surface covered.  There were barely paths through the trash.  There was dirt, mold, and mice feces everywhere.  The woman was unable to throw away anything.

These therapists have found that they achieve the best results when the hoarder acknowledges their hoarding, and makes the decision to start throwing their stuff out.  If they simply come in and remove all the junk and clean it up for the hoarder, the hoarder will focus on the resentment and the loss of their stuff and will feel victimized.

This woman on tonight’s episode wanted her children back, but could not throw out anything.  She was up in a dump truck that was waiting to be filled with her stuff, her house was full, her yard was full, and her driveway was full, but she jumped into that truck and took out a 7-11 plastic slurpie cup because she didn’t want to part with it.

Because she was faced with a tight deadline and wanted her children back, the therapist and clean-up crew simply removed the garbage and put everything else in a storage facility for the woman to sort through later.  A cleaning crew cleaned the house.

At the end of the show the update on the screen said the authorities were not convinced she had addressed her hoarding and did not return the children.  Six months later the couple filed for divorce, she moved out, and the father regained custody of the son.

This show fascinates me, and drives me to clean 😀

I’m sure there is a little hoarding instinct in me.  I’m a pack rat. But over the last few years, after moving a few times, and now having a nice house I want to keep clean, I am getting really good at having pitching sessions.  I don’t want my house overrun with stuff.  I crave cleanliness.

I wonder how these people started hoarding.  Were they born like that?  Did they have a tramatic event?  A period of depression?

How do they think it is okay to live in a garbage dump? Some of the houses are full of feces. One didn’t have a working toilet.  In that one the clean up crew found the flattened carcasses of 2 cats under the trash.

Most of the houses featured on the show are cleaned out with shovels.

Yes. Shovels.

Hoarders is on A&E. You can watch full episodes at http://www.aetv.com/hoarders/