Whether you are a hoarder, have hoarding tendencies, or are just cluttered, I recommend you watch an episode of the new show, Hoarders, on A&E.
New episodes air on Monday evenings at 10 p.m., while repeat episodes air on weekend afternoons. Each episode features two separate hoarders, and gives them assistance via a professional organizer or a therapist that specializes in hoarding. The show provides an up close and personal snapshot into the world of hoarding — a world that has remained very much unseen and off limits to the general public in the past.
The most famous example of hoarding is the Collyer brothers. In fact, the brothers compulsive hoarding was so extreme that there is a syndrome named after them, ‘Collyer brothers syndrome,’ a fear of throwing anything away. The brothers were found dead in 1947 in their Harlem brownstone where they had lived as hermits, surrounded by over 130 tons of clutter that they had collected over several decades. Their clutter included newspapers, books, furniture, musical instruments, and many other items, with booby traps set up to protect against intruders. Experts surmised that the brothers accidentally fell into their own booby traps, got trapped, and died. A very tragic example of what compulsive hoarding can do.
You will see this type of extreme hoarding on Hoarders. It can be very unsettling, and you may feel voyeuristic at times (I do not recommend watching this show while eating by the way!). Yes, it is reality TV and some of you may not be into that genre. But I still think you can benefit from watching. Here’s why.
You will hopefully come away with a better understanding of the extreme grip clutter can have on a person, and the effect of all of that clutter on his or her quality of life, space, health, and relationships. You may recognize yourself, realize that you are indeed a hoarder, and decide to get help (visit the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization). Or you may realize that someone you know is a hoarder and encourage him or her to get help. At the very least, you will probably feel much better about yourself and your efforts to get organized and live a less cluttered life.