new series on hoarding

bspoffordAugust 8, 2009

On another thread, someone mentioned a new series on A&E on hoarding. I went to their website and checked the schedules. It should be very interesting. This appears to be a spin-off from 'Obsessed'.


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I don't like that show about hording. I watched it once and it made me so, so sad. It was about a lady in NYC whose apartment was litterally stacked top to bottom in every square inch with stuff. She was sleeping on a pile of clothes in a corner. She was obviously mentally ill, too.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 6:23AM
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bsp, thanks for mentioning this. I'm going to check out my local listing. I think it's good to have shows like this to educate people about the fact that hoarding is a mental illness and not just someone being lazy.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 10:03AM
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It is and it isn't. Mental illness, I mean. The most extreme cases probably are, but many hoarders do function quite well in life. My husband hoards, but he is not mentally ill.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 1:29AM
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scarlett, I would go so far as to say your husband is not actually a hoarder, but more of a clutter bug or collector. There is a difference. My DH loves to hold on to crap that he will never use, but I wouldn't consider him a hoarder. He also functions very well in life and is very neat, clean and orderly in his clutter. If that makes sense. He can also throw things away without getting distaught over it. I'm the one who is most distraught when I find all the stuff that needs pitching. LOL

A true hoarder cannot function in life because they are consumed by their sickness. People who are extremely messy or dirty are not necessarily hoarders either.

It is a complex issue and a very sad one for people who are crippled by their hoarding and the most extreme cases involve animals because they not only hurt themselves but inflict undue pain and suffering on helpless animals. The people they depict on these shows have mental problems. Just talking to them you can tell they are out of touch with reality.

I've personally dealt with animal hoarders and believe me they are definitely "out of touch" with the real world.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 2:29PM
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I just watched the first show. Wow.

I want to go clean something and empty out my referigerator.....

Barbara, left sort of speechless...

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 12:13AM
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I taped the show and finally watched it. Wow! Well I'm glad to hear Family #1 (with the kids) has so far managed to keep their newly cleaned up house uncluttered. AND that they didn't lose their kids to CPS. But wow, walking down the basement ON a slope of laundry! I'd be tempted to hook up a machine outside and start washing there, just to get at THAT problem.

The Food Lady, well, that was just gross! She seemed to think she was charmingly eccentric, though, making little jokes about her rotting pumpkins and squashes. I keep wondering where she gets the money to keep buying more food for her disgusting refrigerators? It seems she was jobless.

Gee, one fly in the house bugs me, I couldn't live with a whole horde of them!

When they brought the first "organizational expert" in, I kept thinking what they really needed was HAZMAT!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 7:12AM
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I saw the guy whose mother (an MD) had died a couple years earler. He was so pathetic. He obviously missed her terribly and needed some kind of counselling. He deliberately junked up his mother's bedroom so no one could get in. Makes me want to clean-clean-clean! I don't want to be like "those people".

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 10:33AM
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I've been thinking about these two situations since I watched the show. I also watched some of the previews of the next couple episodes. A couple of things keep bugging me... In one of the previews it shows the 'clients' standing there while others go through stuff, or using a snow shovel to shovel debris into garbage bags. What is the thought process for this? I know there is trauma associated with parting with this stuff, but where is the ownership on the client's part? I have read that unless there is treatment of the client's mental issues, the place will become the same mess it was before. I guess I would like to see more responsibility taken by the client instead of just standing by and watching the crap go out the door.

I guess where I am really going with this is what appears to me to be a lack of real mental health treatment for these people. Or maybe it happens, but we don't see it on TV. It is after all a tv program.....

The other thing is 'we have two days to correct this'. Are they nuts?


    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 11:42AM
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Photos are what woke me up to my clutter problem a few years back. I saw for myself the progression of clutter and how it had nothing to do with how much space I had, as I sickly filled up any space I received no matter how large. It have everything to do with not wanting to accept reasonable limits on living a balanced life.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 6:53PM
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I also tuned in. How sad and troubling. The woman hoarding the food scared me. How she hadn't killed herself is beyond understanding.

I have an x-sister in law who is a hoarder. Back when she and my brother, who is now deceased, were married, she kept a very cluttered house, but 30 years ago there wasn't a name for it except "bad housekeeper." As years went by her mental illness became apparent and caused their divorce. Hoarding was only one of her many problems.

I can remember she would have boxes packed with stuff lining all the walls in every bedroom and they were 3 high. When they moved I noticed boxes never got unpacked and every room was overflowing with stuff. Again, we always just labeled her a bad housekeeper. Never realizing the full extent of her mental illness.

I also remember how she would pack the refrigerator and freezer to the brink and when you opened the freezer, frozen food would literally fall on the floor. She would throw it away and just buy more. When she wanted to cook, she'd go to the store and buy what she was cooking that day amid all that food in the fridge and freezer. True insanity.

The one really strange thing about her that I remembered, among all her clutter, was her obsession with keeping the bathroom emaculate. Isn't the funny? In all her chaos a clean bathroom was what mattered to her. If my brother took a bath and forgot to wipe down the inside of the tub, all hell would break loose.

I also remmeber how she would shop for clothes. She could fill a department store with her extensive assortment of clothing. I always thought she was such a sharp dresser, but now I know at what price that happened.

My poor brother was married to her for 30 years and never realized why they could not afford to buy their own home when between them they made enough money to buy a very nice home. She handled the money so he had no idea what she was doing with all the money. He was such a trusting soul and whatever she did was fine with him.

I wonder if her children, who maybe see shows on TV today about hoarders, recognize that there mom is one. I also wonder if they grew up to be like her. I know one child roomed with another one of my niece's and it lasted only a month because the daughter of the hoarder was too dirty and messy to live with. So I guess she did inherit the hoarding gene or just is too lazy. Time will tell which it is.

My brother came from a very clean and neat home so I'm sure it took a lot for him to live like that. It of course made my mom crazy to see her son living in all that clutter, but she couldn't say anything. My poor brother would keep the house livable for the kid's sake, but it took it's toll on him physically and psychologically. I'm sure all that stress for so many years took it's toll on his health and attributed to his death at the early age of 55, from cancer.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 11:44PM
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I admit I watched it, but I feel a little bit guilty about it.
Sure, it is interesting, but these folks are mentally ill. Do you feel that they are being exploited and that by watching it, we are contributing to, in fact making that exploitation possible? I do think it was well done - much more documentary than reality show look and feel, but I'm just sure that it was all that educational. It was mostly sad.
I'm not trying to stir the pot here, I'm sincerely interested in others' thoughts.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 4:19PM
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It is very sad, but I think even people who know hoarders will get a better understanding and realize this is a disease and may be able to get someone the professional help they need.

If this show had been on 30 years ago we would have realized my brother's wife was a hoarder and maybe her mental illness would not have worsened as the years went by. No one realized she was ill. Just thought she was lazy and ecsentric.

I, and I'm sure others, don't get any entertainment value out of watching the show. It makes me sad also and I talk to the TV the entire time. I feel compelled to watch it, yet it upsets me so much I can't sit through the entire episode. Last week I only saw the last half and when it re-ran I thought I wanted to see the beginning, but 2 minutes into it I realized I didn't. Just too much sadness.

I think shows like Jerry Spinger and others that encourage people or trick people into making asses of themselves is exploitation and I never watch them.

The only other reality shows I watch are those of the animal rescue shelters (and I tend to watch just the endings when they show the good outcomes) and a new show on E network entitled Guiliano and Bill. The little hostess of E-news and her new husband take you on their journey. They are so enjoyable and it's wonderful to see young people enjoying each other and life and not have the need to use the "F" word or scream all the time!! They are a breath of fresh air. They come on Tuesday's or Wednesday's if I remember correctly and then rerun during the week.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 12:25AM
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I too feel no guilt about watching this show. I find it pretty educational, and in some way I think it validates a lot of us that don't have perfectly organized lives. A thought that runs through my mind when watching some of the episodes is simply realizing just how close to the edge I have come a number of times, and being able to realize that and step away from the edge with decisive and effective action. There are surely no easy answers as to why some go over the edge and some don't. How does one realize they are over the edge, and how do they get back? I keep hoping that issue is effectively dealt with for these people.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 12:38AM
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I've noticed in both episodes that a death seemed to be connected with the beginning of the hoarding behavior in two of the women. It was a father they were close to in each case. These are pretty messy hoarders. Even if hoarding is compulsive to these folks, why doesn't the resulting MESS bother them?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 3:59AM
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dis, you are right, in many cases of hoarding I see it brought on by death. Saw that with friends I went to school with as a child. The Dad died and the mom and 2 daughters seemed to transform into different people. I went to visit them a few months after the dad passed and was shocked to see they couldn't even get to their sink or tub for the trash and filth. Before Dad died the house was neat as a pin.

How many people think the people in last night's episode will do better? I think the gentleman maybe has a grasp on things and will try to do better and maybe even succeed. Although he may have just been all talk. He was very intelligent. I was hoping someone would give him a hair cut and a shave. That would really make him feel like a new man. His apt. looked amazing after they finished with it.

On the other hand, the lady in the other episode was not getting it at all and when they said she just up and left it all that tells me her collecting will resume in her next place also. She tried so hard but something kept pulling her back. I don't think her "therapist" was very good, did you? She just looked like she didn't know what to do to help the woman confront her emotions.

I love to throw stuff away so watching someone wanting to hold on to "things" is difficult for me. Although I realize they have real issues and can't help their feelings.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 11:36AM
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