Joe, Kevin, and Toren have gathered up so much information on compulsive hoarding in this episode it’s threatening to tip over and crush us all under its weight! Food hoarders, animal hoarders, cosmic-powered hoarders — they’re all here!

Music: “Put ‘Em In A Box” by Doris Day

Caustic Charity: Institute for Challenging Disorganization.




20 Responses

  1. A good episode of hoarders will inspire a wanna leaning spree like nothing else can. I use to have so many hoarding traits until i started watching that show and seeing myself. Now I throw everything out.

  2. Great, now I’m petrified I’m a hoarder! At least it’ll motivate me to clean up a little before a settle back down into apathy. 🙂

    On a separate note, if anyone is familiar with the Australian comedienne Corinne Grant, of Glasshouse fame, it turns out she was a hoarder but got over it and wrote a book. Quite a funny and, at the same time, sad interview: http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2010/10/18/3041212.htm. As you guys say, hearing about hoarders and seeing them for more than a couple of minutes just makes you feel so sorry for them. Poor bastards.

    As another pop culture reference I seem to remember a recent episode of Midsummer Murders (British country detective drama) that involved an old couple who lived with stacks of bundled newspapers 3-4 metres high that they’d have to navigate to get to the front door. Good plot device.

  3. This episode gives me the shivers, more than any other. My mother had been slowly and steadily sliding down this path, and I can see the echoes of this problem in some of my own habits. It’s very hard not to be disgusted and angry with her, because when you approach it logically this shouldn’t happen. It’s interesting all the rationalizing that happens for this behavior, and how quickly others simply walk away from trying to help her (mostly because she manipulates the help people offer into continuing/enabling the problem). One of the biggest issues I’ve had with trying to deal with this has been that you can’t sneak items out, as she’s well aware of virtually everything, and even your best intentions are viewed and unwelcome and threatening. My brother has confessed that he won’t step foot on her property until he’s dead, leaving me the dubious honor of being one of the only family members left willing to deal with this issue.

  4. Growing up as a child, there was an old junk collector. He had two buildings stacked high with junk. His last name was ‘Feltern’ and he had junk piled to the roof with paths to navigate around the place. His place was condemned and torn down so it no longer exists, but I feel like if I were to go in there now, he would fall under Hoarder. Toren may remember seeing the place. He and I and Woods went there one day back in our art school days.

    The thing that sparked this memory was that most people in Abbotsford thought Feltern had a whole bunch of money hidden away in his junk shop. You just had to find where he hid it. He had the occasional break in which only fed into our rumour mill. I think it must be a common rumour that gets attached to reclusive hoarder types.

    ps. A ‘normal’ human has 32 teeth in their head.

  5. I remember living in Oregon as a young lad & my friend offered to find 16 loose kittens at his house.I was about 7/8 so I didn’t know why he needed our help.It turns out is father hoarded things like cars,they were all in the process of being fixed it seemed like.I soon understood why his father needed our help,we had to go under cars in their massive back yard we spent all day looking for them.It was rewarding,we got to look for kitten all day,being a little kid each car was a different “base camp” for me & I got 40$ out of it.I always wanted a big collection like his but if it does get out of control like these hoarders i’d be fucked,my lack of social life would mean i’d be buried by shit in my own home too.

  6. This episode really spoke to me. I’ve been fighting hoarding urges for a wile. My closet is basically fully but decently organized. Same thing for my room. After hearing this episode, I made it a point to scan over everything in my room and discard anything I couldn’t justify keeping, including a broken power cable, about dozen pairs of old headphones, old batteries, a mail order catalog I will never use, random schwag.

    And FWIW I’ve pretty money conscious and rarely a compulsive shopper. Most of the stuff I “hoard” is stuff that I’ve been given, got a good deal on and saw a potential use, that I previously owned for “real use”, or that I’ve salvaged from old devices. Seeing something that still works get thrown out usually gives me emotional pain.

  7. this… was a hard episode to listen to since I live in fear of the day when i will get the call that one of my close relatives will be found dead under a pile of ‘new in box’ stuff from Canadian Tire in the basement, or under garbage they’ve stockpiled so they can burn it later

    Funny thing is when i was younger that relative used to be a real neat freak. couldnt abide mess. now they wallow in it. if not for their partner the house would be unliveable.

  8. I watched all of the hoarding shows pretty religiously, and I think what I related to was the hoarders’ complete lack of hope. They were doing the very minimum they had to do to stay alive. Presumably a maladaptive survival mechanism. The participants on the shows just seem so numb and detached and emotionally void. Fill the void with booze or gambling or drugs or stuff.

    re the cruelty of animal hoarders, I think they become numb to their hoard, they don’t see the reality of the conditions that they are living in, or that of their animals. their intentions were initially good, but they are not even competent to look after themselves, let alone other lives.

    And as far as why there are feces in the bathroom etc, I think sometimes it is a matter of the water being shut off, and sometimes it is a plumbing problem. They couldn’t call in a plumber to fix the toilet so they just sunk even lower. They have very little internal motivation to look after themselves.