Are you watching "Hoarders"?

21 September 2009

I’m hooked on A&E Television’s hit documentary series, Hoarders. When I first heard about it (when it was in the production phase), red flags went up. I was afraid the program wouldn’t be respectful to the hoarders who were featured on the show. Or they’d offer unrealistic portrayals or quick fixes.

Then I heard that Dr. David Tolin and my friend professional organizer Geralin Thomas, CPO-CD® were involved and I felt better. I knew them to be consummate professionals.

I’ve been watching since the August 17 debut. To me, it’s captivating TV. Geralin and the other organizers on the show (who so far have included Dorothy Breininger, Brenden McDaniel and Matt Paxton), as well as the therapists involved, have done a great job, all in all. My heart goes out to the subjects, all of whom have problems with hoarding and are facing some sort of crisis.

Unfortunately, the fact that they’re facing a crisis often means they’re not ready to deal with their problem. And if it’s one thing I’ve learned in this business, you can’t help someone who’s not ready to be helped.

The other problem with the show is the two-day limit they put on the on-camera help. It seems somewhat arbitrary to me and it’s just plain not enough time to deal with a major clutter problem. Add to the mix that the client isn’t usually ready to let go of stuff and I feel as though the subjects are being set up to fail.

I hope that in future seasons the producers will allow more hands-on time. And perhaps some therapy in advance of the shoot would be helpful.

The show offers its subjects after care in the form of therapy or organizing services (or perhaps other adjunct services) to the tune of $3000 or six months, whichever comes first. This after care could make a huge difference in the life of a hoarder.

I think this show is making a difference. It’s doubtless helping most of the subjects and it’s raising awareness of this problem. I applaud Geralin and her colleagues, who are doing such a great job.

Tonight is the penultimate episode of the season. Geralin will be featured on the final episode of the season, next week. If you haven’t watched it yet, I encourage you to tune in tonight (A&E, 10 pm eastern).

If you missed past episodes, you can watch them online at A&E’s website. And if you’re interested in reading more about the show and hearing from some of the participants, check out the discussions at A&E’s community center.

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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