View Full Version : Hoarders tv show?

3-21-11, 12:38am
I've seen this mentioned here a couple times --- do a lot of you watch this show for inspiration of 'what not to do'? :)
I haven't seen it yet, might see if it's available on hulu or something.

Float On
3-21-11, 7:12am
I watched it on-line on the A&E website but they pulled the videos off of there after the season ended so I'm watching storage wars on there now.
TLC-Buried Alive (hoarding) is also something I've started watching. Some of it is downright gross - I'd suggest not eatting a snack when you sit down to watch any of those shows.

3-21-11, 8:29am
No, I can't say I watch it for what not to do, because I think there's huge difference between my lifestyle and theirs (although don't look in my garage with having 4 grown kids who use it as a way-station). I just don't think of myself ever getting to that point. These are people who might have a normal job, but come home and have to literally climb over papers and boxes and knick-knacks to get in the door.

However, it seems that many of them live normally and have a normal home until they reach a trigger point in their lives--like losing someone, and then it becomes a self-destructive pattern in much the same way drinking or drugging would.

So, if I were in that situation where I found myself hoarding things to fill a void in my life, I guess it's not what I WOULDN'T do, but what I WOULD do--which is seek counseling.

3-21-11, 9:21am
I have watched it a bit, mostly to get some insight into how people get into and stay in that situation. I have a few people in my life who aren't nearly as bad as on the show, but have some of the same things going on.

3-21-11, 9:54am
I have watched nearly all the episodes of both these shows, so I can better understand the psychology and thinking patterns of the hoarders, and also to keep me in line with my own acquisition of "items," aka crap! It was helpful to see the trigger events in my own life that got me started trying to fill an empty space inside by filling up a physical space with posessions. It also helped me recognize my own states of anxiety and attachment when I was letting go of a bunch of stuff in order to downsize for a recent move. When I was trying to declutter, I watched those shows avidly. Thank God I never got to the point of being a candidate for the show, but I really do have much more compassion and empathy for people now who have these problems. Watching multiple episodes of a show like this makes it easier to see the phenomena as a fairly predictable psychological pattern that can occur in all kinds of people, rather than just singling people out and condemning them for their weirdness, laziness, dirtiness, or whatever other epithet is thrown out.

When I was (still am, in fact) trying to lose weight, I watched loads of shows about morbid obesity. ("Heavy" is particularly useful.) When I was getting out of debt, I watched "Til Debt do us Part" and "The Suze Orman Show" for guidance and inspiration. When I was working with teenagers with addiction problems, "Intervention" was mandatory viewing. All these shows have been very, very helpful to me. I watch them enough so I have a basic understanding of the patterns, thought processes, and behaviors involved, and then try to spot them in myself and remedy them. It works!

3-21-11, 1:01pm
I watched it for awhile after discovering that someone from my past had fallen into a hoarding life.....just trying to understand how such a thing could happen to someone I remembered as being orderly and not overly attached to stuff......after watching some of the shows, like Selah, I had a lot better understanding of the underlying emotional issues and thought processes that caused such a thing.

The person from my past was in the midst of a marriage that was ending, had some medical issues, money issues, etc., and a tendency to haunt yard sales and auctions even in the best of times, and the things happening in his emotional life just pushed him over the edge. I found it helpful in understanding the behavior, that's for sure. Although, once I grasped the "why", I didn't watch it any more, maybe because it just felt so sad to see how helpless so many of the people were to being able to change, and concern that the same thing would be true of the person I'd known.

3-21-11, 1:10pm
I watch mostly because I can see how DH might have got into this plight if not controlled. His sister live alone and is close to it, both of their parents tended to be that way.
Peter Walsh has a new show on the OWN network that seems to be for those that are not as bad. One show was a real hoarder and the rest seem to be more were the people
have just way, way too much stuff and some circumstance in their lives have put them over the top. Some seems to be more like we became in our last house with its unfinished basement
were mostly the house looks great but the basement had become a storage unit. (My niece named it a Jekel and Hyde House). Some of these people seem have their more hidden rooms like this
as in the spare room and masterbedroom....It seems to me he does too much in too short of time and I would like to see some of these people in a year. I do like that he uses most of their own
things to decorate and they are not rewarded with a totally remodelled house.....

3-21-11, 11:34pm
THe people on hoarders seem to tend to have one of two basic problems going on. (or maybe both in some cases) First they're depressed/lonely and view their possessions as things that give their lives meaning, either just because they posess them or because they were previously the possessions of now deceased loved ones. Second, a lot of them seem to have a perpetual fear of not having enough. So they buy and/or save and/or dig through the neighbor's trash to find, stuff that they think they will need at some point in the future. There are definitely mental issues going on with pretty much all of them.

Personally I'm pretty certain I'll never end up like that. Yes, I hate to throw stuff out that I might want some day. But I also HATE shopping and am not at all into bringing home junk found in the trash/garage sales/thrift stores, etc. So the stuff I have that I don't use is all stuff that I used at one point (like the large box of formerly useful computer cables and other extraneous computer stuff that I hold onto.) At this point, though, I've let go of a lot of stuff since we've moved every couple of years now ever since I met SO.

I have a friend who definitely qualifies as a hoarder. If I had to guess I'd say that she's part of the perpetually somewhat depressed category. Every place she's ever lived has turned into a mess like on the shows. But then every few years she'll move and leave all but the bare bones of her possessions behind. A month or two in her new place and it starts all over again. I don't understand it but her good qualities far outweigh this one negative, especially since it's not like she expects, or asks, anyone else to help her deal with it. As such I just chalk it up to the fact that people are interesting. As long as my friends' interesting aspects doesn't make my life miserable I don't mind tolerating them.

3-22-11, 12:56am
I've seen a few of the shows but most are too extreme to be comfortable watching. Some of the people, but certainly not all, seem quite disturbed. But then the tv people do want extremes to make things more interesting.

At the beginning of the program they say there are 3 million hoarders in the US so we all must know some hard-core hoarders, but just may not know it. Secrecy and shame seem to be components of it. And many people seem to have orderly houses, yet have a closet or two, or a 'back room', basement, or garage that is completely over-run with too much stuff. Maybe that's just normal. I don't really know. LOL, what is 'normal' anyway?

My mom had mild hoarding tendencies, as do I. Some of the behavior is learned, some I think is genetic - and I think frugality can be a factor for some people too. The old 'that will come in handy some day', or 'It would cost XXX to replace that' or 'I can fix that' and then never do.

I still keep too much stuff but at least I am aware of my tendencies. I have to be careful to not bring too many things into the house, and to be mindful to keep getting rid of things I really don't use. I realize I'll never be perfect about acquiring or getting rid of stuff, and that helps.


3-22-11, 7:46am
I think the 'may come in handy someday' is likely correlated with a scarcity mentality, as opposed to an abundance mentality. Focusing on scarcity vs. abundance is something many of us do (hoarders or not) and shifting that perspective can have huge positive application in all areas of life.

Float On
3-22-11, 8:44am
I just checked and they did put season 3 back on the website again.
I don't hoard, infact my husband gets upset because I'd get rid of almost everything. Clutter and stuff really bother me. I am interested in the psychology of why some people hoard and some people can't keep.

iris lily
3-22-11, 9:05am
I just recently skimmed a book on hoarding, can't think of the title. Too many of the stories are alike and if you've read one you've read them all. But one person I couldn't get a handle on. She wanted to record our culture, and she recorded tv shows. Her house was fulld of VHS tapes.I mean jammed full of them. I didn't understand that particular obsession.

My relative who is a hoarder has been hoarding since childhood, and so I don't know that the usual explnations apply to him. He is extremely visually orientated and things speak to him visually. He likes, ironically, Scandanavian design with its clean lines.

pony mom
3-22-11, 10:18pm
I love watching Hoarders---makes me feel so neat and organized!! I always feel bad for the pets that some of these people own. If the house is unhealthy, imagine how unhealthy it is at ground level. There was one house on in the past that had a decomposing cat or two buried in the piles of junk. So sad. It's tough understanding how they can become so attached to food wrappers and empty bags. You'd have to put me in a hazmat suit to get me into one of those homes.

3-26-11, 4:48pm
I think the 'may come in handy someday' is likely correlated with a scarcity mentality, as opposed to an abundance mentality. Focusing on scarcity vs. abundance is something many of us do (hoarders or not) and shifting that perspective can have huge positive application in all areas of life.
I would agree. I have known a couple of hoarders who grew up in the deprivation of the Great Depression.

But they did not hoard everything.... just one or two particular categories.

My mother was one. She had this obsession with coat/jackets for a while. She bought/collected 400 (yes, four hundred) used fall and winter coats back in the 1970's, when she was stay-at-home mon with 4 young children. All these coats were used, but nice high end stuff bought from thrift shops etc, bought one or two at a time. . She brought them home and just jammed them in the attic and never used them.

I never quite realized how bad her problem was until I cleaned up my parents house a couple of years ago and found them all. Many coats still had the original used price tags on them, (between $10 - $40 each). I figure she spent maybe $6000 -$8000 in the 1970's on this compulsion. This is like $40,000 today. No wonder my family had no extra spending money as a kid, and I always wore hand-me-downs.

She also hoarded newspapers/magazines, but nothing else.

3-26-11, 11:16pm
Some of the people I can see going down the slippery slope esp with the unfinished project type of thing. My BIL is like this, though now it's becoming a problem since he would potentially like to move for a job but the prospect of cleaning out his house is sort of overwhelming him. Other people on the show, I have to wonder how they don't have a point when they think "this is too much, I need to find help". A couple of them haven't been able to reach the toilet, for example. That's the point when I suppose a person would think "not right" and do *something*. Piles of junk is one thing, but piles of human waste is quite another, and there is a crossing point there. However, if there are mental health issues then that point might not be as recognizable as I would think it should be. Anyway, I watch it for the gawk factor (like rubber necking at a car accident) and to be inspired to organize and to not buy unneeded stuff. I tend not to have sentimental attachment to stuff so would be less likely to be a hoarder but I also get lazy about cleaning stuff up so if I have too much it's not well-organized.

4-19-11, 11:02am
I watch these shows. I'm mostly interested in the way the professional people involved in the clean up motivate the hoarders. It's very interesting to see these people actually figure out where to start on a seemingly insurmountable task. I think you can apply that kind of mental motivation to a lot more than just hoarding. A lot of us have things in our lives that seem impossible to solve or complete. I draw inspiration from the "one room" or "one box" at a time approach.

4-19-11, 1:19pm
I haven't watched the show--the promos are enough. It seems most of the people featured are depressed or overwhelmed by circumstance.

What I don't understand is why we seem to have different criteria for what constitutes "hoarding." If you have more cottage cheese containers than you will ever use, you're a hoarder, but if you have more houses than you can reasonably use, you're Oprah. If you have a living room stacked with newspapers you'll never read, you're a hoarder, but if you have a mahogany paneled library full of books you'll never read, you're a scholar in a smoking jacket. Amassing unspendable amounts of money or buying up all the silver you can get your hands on, or cornering the market on some rare commodity is classic hoarding, but we celebrate those who do it--in fact they run our world--while the woman with a closet full of Payless shoes is considered a legitimate object of scorn--or if we're feeling charitable, pity. It's an interesting, if predictable, double standard.

4-19-11, 1:56pm
What an interesting point, JaneV........and really food for thought. Because it's correct......one form of hoarding is not only acceptable but admired, yet another is despised, yet they are really two manifestations of the same condition.....never feeling that you have enough, fear of loss, attaching an emotional value to objects whether they be shoes or money.......

What a good insight......I'm going to be rolling this one around in my mind all day. Thanks!

Float On
4-19-11, 2:04pm
Ditto what loosechickens said - very good insight Jane.
But there is a difference in pride isn't there? The care of whatever is hoarded - be it estates or gum wrappers?

4-19-11, 2:31pm
I'd no more watch hoarders for what not to do than I'd watch obese people to remind myself not to take a second portion. I don't have the metabolism to become a hugely obese person anyway and if I was trying to lose a few pounds, it would be better just to focus on myself and whether my choices were good for me. Yes I find inward focus on one's own goals to be psychologically healthy and making comparisons psychologically unhealthy (not that I never do it, mostly around money, but :)).

Now I AM pretty messy but ... I don't have the other characteristics needed to become a severe hoarder. I don't like shopping very much. Ever been out shopping for stuff (not food so much, I mean we've got to eat), and realized: this stinks! So you want to buy something and you can't EVEN FIND a clerk that is free to get you the electronic from the backroom or something. You spend 15 minutes just waiting around for help, when you just want to make a purchase. And you think: omg do I hate shopping, I hope I don't have to buy anything again for a long time, etc. Or you just want to buy something and the clerks at the counter have to take your whole life history first, and you often lie to them, but you think: I would do anything to avoid coming back here! Etc..

"At the beginning of the program they say there are 3 million hoarders in the US so we all must know some hard-core hoarders, but just may not know it. "

considering that it would take several planets to support the world population if everyone lived like Americans there definitely some living in glass houses and throwing stones going on here ....

Jane's comments are also interesting.

Float On
4-19-11, 2:47pm
considering that it would take several planets to support the world population if everyone lived like Americans....

Somewhere there is a photo shoot of people and their possessions. I'm going to have to search for that. The American ones you can barely find the people in their stash of stuff on their front lawn and then other countries the entire family and their few possessions can fit on a rug in front of their shelter.

4-19-11, 2:56pm
My quick take on it is that it's the disorder that offends us, not the possessions so much. If you have a well-organized stash--or better yet, a staff to manage it and tidy up--you're home free, as far as I can tell.

4-19-11, 7:46pm
re: Jane's first comment --
I don't think it's a double standard: it becomes hoarding when it negatively affects your quality of life.
The hoarders on the show are endangering their health and safety with their possessions, whereas people with multiple houses or oz's of silver or whatever aren't.

re: Jane's most recent comment --
Yep, I think that's it. Also I think an organized collector is different from a hoarder in the diversity of what they accumulate. A collector may have a crazy amount of legos, or hummel figurines, etc, but a hoarder would have the legos and the hummels and the canned food and the kitchenware and the clothes etc etc etc.

4-20-11, 8:42pm
Yes, I've watched a few of the shows on the Internet..they bring up conflicting emotions in me. Morbid fascination is one, uncomfortable squirming, pity, sadness and frustration are others.

And as others have commented, yes, I too, feel relatively normal in comparison. I don't hoard, but my piles of books tend to grow until I get the urge and take the excess to the Friends of the Library or the used book store.

I love books, it's sometimes hard to pare down my 'collection' to an amount that fit in the bookcases, but that's my goal. I always think I'll want to re-read many of them, but with new ones coming out all the time, it's like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon.