I have a new obsession.

(Really? Are you surprised?)

I had heard friends mention the A&E show Hoarders before but I had never seen an episode until recently. Thanks to the miracle known as DVR I was able to record a mini-marathon and watch them at my leisure. I was instantly intrigued, appalled, saddened, uncomfortable and my gag reflex was on an all time high before the first commercial break.

I could not. stop. watching.

Now I find myself with a few burning questions and observations:

*Is that show for real? Really? Are they real people or actors?

*If they are real, how did this compulsion take over their lives where they are practically buried in stuff, more and more STUFF, trash and/or filth (of the animal or human variety, or both).

*Was it one traumatic event, childhood incident or a series of life disappointments that triggered their condition?

*How do they function in that environment? Even barely function?

*Some families have lost custody of their children because of their attachment to their stuff and seemed like making the choice between the two was impossible.

*Do they ever do follow-up shows? I worry that I might never know how their recovery (or lack thereof) is going.

*Since there is an entire show based on this, um, predilection, and it's in like it's second (or third?) season, there must be people dealing with this condition everywhere. Is this true? Like could there be a hoarder on my street?

*What are the therapists, organizers, 1-800-JUNK people and the cleaners really thinking as they work? Now that could be a show.

*Does this compulsion strike all economic classes? The shows I saw mainly focused on lower income families in danger of having the city condemn their property. I guess wealthier people might never agree to be on the show in order to keep their addiction secret.

*All of the people seemed honestly surprised that their homes had gotten into such deplorable conditions, they said it all happened little by little.

*Can something just snap inside of us and we start exhibiting these tendencies out of the blue?

I am fascinated by this show. And highly disturbed.

And I no longer feel guilty about my craft room. Or my housekeeping.

So there's that.

Have you seen Hoarders? What do you think?


  1. I know exactly what you mean! I am also fascinated by this. And it is a real thing. Steve had a business partner who was a hoarder. Even after only living in an apartment for a matter of weeks he would have the floor piled 2 feet high with papers and magazines and trash. There would literally just be a path from one room to another.

    I am also fascinated with the Animal Hoarders show.

    Yes, sadly it makes me feel better about myself, too.

  2. all (or most) of your questions can be answered at www.televisionwithoutpity.com Go to forums, then candid reality shows, and you'll see a whole list of shows to choose from (including hoarders). Beware - this site can be as additive as the show you are watching!

  3. It's sad but true. I have had to report patients to elderly protection for this as well as animal hoarding.

  4. as with any addictions, the impulses that cause hoarding are different for everyone who suffers from it. living in addiction, there are few "choices;" you sometimes can't see the forest for the trees.

    i had a good friend who was a hoarder. we were friends for over three years before i ever saw her house. i ended up there one night (i was not invited, there had been a miscommunication about carpooling with her daughter), and it was so startling!! she was mortified, and i'm sure there was a look of shock on my face that i couldn't hide. our relationship was never the same.

  5. I also watch it with sick fascination. I think the fact that people face losing their children makes it very clear that this is a mental illness issue, which is so sad.

  6. Me too, I'm also fascinated with this show. I'm really stunned that they are willing to be filmed.

  7. I have gotten sucked into this show multiple times and usually spend the whole time mouth breathing and shaking my head. It is so disturbing to think of people living this way, yet clearly there's an illness involved.


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