I love TV shows about hoarding. Representatives show up at the home of an individual who is a hoarder. Hoarding can mean that stuff covers almost every inch of every surface – floors, counters, furniture. Often stuff is stacked floor to ceiling.
Initially an expert comes through and identifies that, yes, as suspected, reported, claimed by others from family to neighbors to law enforcement, there is a problem. Duh! Then the professional has a serious talk with the hoarder. The pro tries to isolate a reason the hoarder should agree to let go of a portion of their hoard. They need to do this because a) they are about to be evicted or b) someone’s health/life/ability to keep their children is at risk.
While the hoarder seems to initially agree to let go, when the pro returns with the cleaning experts and around 10-12 people who have agreed to assist in the process, all hell is about to break loose. After watching countless episodes, I have come to expect nothing less because hoarders see value in everything including what most folks view as trash.
How do the experts on hoarding shows think they can help individuals who have hoarded their homes into a neat freak’s worst nightmare restore cleanliness in two days? The answer seems to be “shovels.”
This is where this post gets confessional. I, too, have a tendency to collect. I don’t mean I have a problem getting rid of trash. I mean I have more than can fit “neatly” in my small historic cottage. My home has closets built for folks with 1950s wardrobes and not twenty-first century abundance.
I have done much already. I have emptied an offsite storage area. I have emptied my clothes from my closet at my childhood home. Papers that stacked up in multiple boxes during my stint in graduate school are gone. The improvement is huge. I am close to finished, but I am not there yet. Most scary, this journey has taken me four years. I’m now down to letting go of good stuff I will probably never use (based on past experience.) I watch hoarding shows to help push myself to higher heights.
So, the other night as I am making choices, I turn on a hoarding show. As I watch I am able to let go of yarn magazines with projects I will never knit and yarn I bought because I thought was pretty, but matches no project. I’m feeling pretty good about myself as the show ends. I watch as the camera scans the home and I spot an adorable Scrabble board bearing the name of the family. Immediately, I rush to the donate bag and pull out my Scrabble game.
Well, I never said watching hoarding shows was without risk!