About two days ago I started watching the TV show Hoarders off Netflix. As you might imagine the show is about people who have a problem with hoarding. I’ve watched about five episodes and I definitely have noticed some interesting things. At least on a personal level, I think some hoarders are more fascinating to observe than others. I found the episodes where people hoard food or animals to be way more entertaining. It’s because both food and animals, when hoarded, lead to way more shocking discoveries. In one episode, a woman who hoarded food had an unimaginably dirty and filthy home. Rotting food littered her house. They discovered some meat had gone bad and had liquefied into this black liquid in the fridge. That discovery cleared out the house and caused people to nearly vomit. Another hoarder took in cats. When the show brought in people to clean out the house, they found dead cats by the dozens hidden and lost among all the mounds of refuse. They showed kittens who had died just a few short days before. Other cats were left as skeletons, where their fur and flesh had gone could only be guessed at. Other dead cats were mummified, leathery skin stretched over bones in whatever pose they had died in. The kittens were the most shocking part. There was was so much refuse in the house that the cat lady was oblivious to the fact that a new litter of kittens were even in her home.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that there probably is a very fine line that separates people who have the mental illness that causes hoarding and “regular” people. Hoarders often can’t stand to throw away things because of either attachment or some other reason that they rationalize in their head. I’m not a hoarder myself but I can sorta understand their thinking, even if it’s disastrous thinking. I can understand why a hoarder might save a ticket stub to a concert because I’ll do that too. The problem is a hoarder will save the same emotional attachment to a bottle of water they bought at the corner store.

The show also taught me that you can actually get certified as a professional organizer. It wasn’t a surprise when the show brought on psychologists because I expected that as it’s a mental health and behavioural problem. It was a surprise, however, that there is a method to get accreditation as a professional organizer. I bet it helps legitimize the profession of being a full-time organizer.

Lastly, I think anyone who watches the show tries to compare their own lives with those who are on the show. Am I a hoarder? Could I turn into a hoarder? For myself, my apartment gets messy or dirty at times but that can be rectified by myself and in less than two hours. I’ve lived in my apartment for about a year and a half and I’m actually surprised at how very little “stuff” I’ve accumulated. It’s still very sparsely furnished in here and spartan. It’s certainly not fold up chairs and a picnic table in here but there’s no way I’d lose a kitten and let it die in the corner either.

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