The hoarding shows we can’t get enough of have more than one aspect of hoarding wrong, which becomes a serious factor in raising awareness for the situation within communities. The people in the midst of the piles we call clutter are often collectors of items they believe have deep personal value. Collecting these items gives the hoarder a sense of belonging to something, and while people have let him or her down, the collected items will never do that. All the items we see as junk are items that hold personal meaning for the collector.


The Hoarding Lifestyle

This lifestyle has become a circus of curious gawkers addicted to reality showsthat put hoarding situations on display. Most cases that make it to television do so because they are extreme cases that have gone unchecked for years. In fact, there are enough hoarders in America alone to create years of shows, and they all impede the safety of the residents and surrounding dwellings, in cases of apartment hoarding. The stigma that hoarders are a lazy, expensive nuisance to society has been derived from these shows, which highlight the cleanupof the featured homes.


Research is Helping

While those without hoarding afflictions lounge in living rooms and judge, psychologists and doctors are searching for answers to the situation. It has been found that there are more existing hoarders than there are individuals with Alzheimer’s, which is why education has taken a front seat in handling the issue. When hoarding was labeled as a distinct mental condition in 2013, the opportunity to ask for research and educational funding opened up. This was one of the most important steps forward for hoarding, as the general public was now able to receive solid information on the topic.


Turning Away from TV

As research and information is collaborated, professionals are finding that the television version of the hoarding cleanups has no semblance of accuracy. The tendency of hoarders to begin collecting after the cleanup is the norm. Some hoarders never recover emotionally from the removal of the things to which they are so attached, and there have even been some reported deaths after cleanup. Research proves that the way to handle a hoarding situation is not to clean up the stuff, but to clean up the psyche of the affected person. This includes diagnosis and psychological reasons for the hoarding habit. Cleanup is successful only after the mental attachment to the material piles has been removed. The television shows are essentially handling the situation in reverse.


Training in Hoarding

Society has spoon-fed our idea of hoarding treatments to us backwards. We are getting the message that the stuff has to go first. This is wrong. Professionals who want to help a hoarder, or avoid a possible hoarding situation, get training to learn the right way to a cleaner living environment. The first step is to ignore the sensational media, then turn toward research-based trainings. Work against what the reality shows express, and create a better environment based on evidence-based procedures that work.

This article was written by Cassie Steele – a freelance writer from the US.

Remember, if you or someone you know is suffering from hoarding, you can contact us at for help.

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