I’ve watched shows on TV where people get organizers to come in and clean up their houses.  Usually they’re successful, and the people love their neat, new home.  I’ve wondered what happens after the organizers leave, though.

Today I saw a show for the first time called Hoarders.  It’s on A&E.  These people are the ones who would have failed a “normal” cleanup.  They’ve lived with stuff and garbage piled high for years.  The reasons vary.  One woman took in stray cats.  She felt a real need to feed them.  When the animal control people came in, they found 37 live cats and more dead ones.  Some were just skeletons.  They didn’t do anything to the rest of the junk.  One couple was going to lose both homes if they couldn’t get one cleaned up to sell.  One girl was losing her boyfriend and her relationship with her parents over her junk.  One kid lived with his alcoholic father, who never threw away any of his wine bottles.

I am a lousy housekeeper, even on my best day.  But I cannot imagine living like those people did/do.  Two of them, the kid with the alcoholic dad, and the girl who was losing her boyfriend, seemed seriously depressed to me.  The girl was sleeping 12 hours a day, had a completely flat affect, and had lost her job as an office manager because of her disorganization.  Depression can certainly affect your ability to get up and clean up.  And I understand wanting to take care of animals, although the lady in the show really couldn’t take care of all the cats she had.

But the couple who were going to lose their houses – that is totally incomprehensible to me.  Would you rather be homeless, or throw away your crap?  And a lot of the stuff she was holding on to was crap.  She was completely neurotic.  I just don’t get it.  I sympathize with the first three, but not with her.  I just wanted to reach into the TV and shake her.

It makes me want to go through everything I own and throw most of it away.  I’d rather live in an empty house than one where you can’t walk through the rooms.


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