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October 7, 2015

A&E's Hoarders - And I thought MY place was cluttered

by Jane Boursaw, posted Sep 8th 2009 2:01PM
Hoarders on A&EWhen it comes to hoarding stuff, I've gotten better over the years, but I'm still a fairly impressive pack-rat. For instance, I've got boxes of newspaper clippings in the basement dating back to the 1980s, when I wrote for the local daily paper.

Do I need this stuff? No, but it's part of my history, so I hang onto it. Maybe at some point in the distant future, I'll make a bunch of nice scrapbooks and pass them on to my kids. Then they'll have to figure out what to do with it. Isn't that how it works? People just keep handing their stuff down through the generations, and no one knows what to do with it. Eventually, no one even knows who it belonged to in the first place, and maybe it'll get tossed out.

But I must say, after watching A&E's Hoarders, I feel downright neat and tidy.

We're talking some major OCD issues with some of these folks. According to the show's official Web site, "each 60-minute episode of Hoarders is a fascinating look inside the lives of two different people whose inability to part with their belongings is so out of control that they are on the verge of a personal crisis."

The episode I watched featured a woman named Shirley with lots and lots of cats, living (and dying, apparently) amidst the clutter of her house. When all was said and done, animal control removed 70-some cats from the home; many of those were dead, some to the point of being skeletons. I'm no expert, but this woman must have no sense of smell whatsoever.

The other hoarder in this episode was Jake, a 21-year-old with severe OCD issues. This poor guy was a virtual prisoner amidst the garbage in the two-bedroom home he shares with his alcoholic dad. I can't imagine living in such filth. For one thing, it seems like you'd be sick all the time from germs and bacteria and who knows what else.

What I loved about Jake is that a therapist came in and worked with him on the emotional issues that caused him to keep every plastic bottle and snack wrapper that came into his house. With some of these types of shows, professional cleaners come in and make a clean sweep of things, but then the residents are left to try and figure out how to continue keeping the place clean. The therapist helped Jake figure out why he lived like that.

Hoarders is riveting TV, and hopefully, it'll help viewers who have OCD and hoarding issues. New episodes air Monday at 10 PM EST on A&E. Have you checked it out yet?

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Aaaaah! Life in a disaster area! My poor folks.

September 18 2009 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Agreed Jane, this is riveting television - truly "reality" television in every sense of the word. I watched all three hours of this and the show you comment on was the least interesting of the three. The professional people that try to help these folks out must be up for sainthood because they are truly patient and kind to them. One gentleman featured said his mother eventually died because of her hoarding and it inspired him to get in there and keep as many others from having it happen to them as he could. Just amazing.

My father suffered a stroke about a dozen years ago and ever since he has hoarding tendencies. It is so difficult to deal with people who are unwilling or unable to deal with what can become such a debilitating disease. I watch this show mostly so I can be encouraged to be patient with my father and to have some sort of answers to talk to him about all the stuff he's collected. It is not an easy task and I appreciate A&E for airing such compelling television.

September 09 2009 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't normally watch reality TV, but caught one Hoarders and was hooked. I guess it's the humane way the people are treated, ie, as the troubled souls they are. There's some real sympathy for their disease and it's not played for laughs or ridicule, but as sad reality.

There's also the so called train wreck effect.. you can't quite look away, no matter no horrible the homes are. I found myself wondering how they got that way, how did they manage, will they ever be able to move beyond and lead normal lives? Some of the people are more sympathetic than others, but all face a daunting future without simple answers.

It's compelling TV.

September 08 2009 at 2:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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