Myersvision: Hoarders

What’s the opposite of Bigfoot, a hairy loner that lives in the woods and avoids people (but loves grainy, out-of-focus trail cams)?  Probably not pathological hoarders, but maybe that’s close:  they can’t get away from their meddling relations and the government, which imperiously demands their children not live in homes covered in old Chinese newspapers and rat feces. The gall!

Unlike our elusive, hirsute woodland friend, these folks have the opportunity to bask in the limelight—of shame.  If reality television serves any useful social function (debatable), it’s that it occasionally shames mentally-scarred weirdos, making the rest of feel better about ourselves in the process.

At least, I always suspected that was the point of shows with hoarders and morbidly obese people (I wonder how big—no pun intended—of an overlap there is between those disorders?) was for us to shake our heads and thank God we aren’t as screwed up as those people.  As Audre Myers gently implies here, we’re all screwed up (true), and but for the Grace of God, we’d be holding onto broken baseball bats and takeout flyers.

I also can’t criticize Hoarding Americans too much, as my natural inclinations towards packrattery and a weird holdover Depression/Recession Era mentality make me loathe to waste anything—or to let too much go.  I’m especially that way with books, so when I successfully donated a massive cardboard box of old books to the local library, I took it as a good sign that I am not a hoarder, just a slob.  Shew!

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  We all need grace and compassion—even the hoarders.

With that, here is Audre’s review of the A&E series Hoarders:

If you knew me, you would notice that I’m neat. My house is neat. My clothes are neat. A place for everything and everything in it’s place. I can’t handle clutter – even on my desk; paper work gets put away and if I have bills to pay, they’re right in back of my keyboard and I pull them out, pay them, and trash all the extraneous stuff. Neat.

So how in the world am I interested in the Netflix series Hoarders? I chuckle when I tell you that each episode of Hoarders is like a mini horror movie – and I love horror movies! My mind cannot grasp the sheer tonnage of garbage, the filth, the claustrophobia of the hoards. You ask yourself over and over again as you watch the episodes unfold how, HOW!, can people possibly live like that? The answer is – we are all fallen, broken people. There but for the grace of God go I – and you. These people aren’t stupid, they aren’t lazy, they aren’t slobs. It’s amazing, as you watch the episodes, the vast number of these people with IQs above average, people who have made big accomplishments in their lives and the lives of others. Some others are, indeed, uneducated but have made productive lives for themselves and their families.

But something happens. Some event in their lives connects with a tangled wire in their brains and one result is … well, hoarding. Keeping all that stuff around them gives them something they need – they feel attachment to all the million things they own and the very thought of losing one scrap of paper or one shirt or one shoe throws them into mental and emotional chaos. It is the most remarkable thing. You and I sit and watch and shake our heads but for these folks, this is their life, this is how they live, and they know it’s not right, not good, not logical but the ‘tie that binds’ is too tight for them to loosen by themselves.

The reason I like Hoarders more than other shows on the topic, is the professional help they get – a psychologist, a professional organizer, a cleaning crew, and any number of friends and family who show up to help clear the hoard. We see how it does, indeed, take a village. The other thing I like is the post script at the end of each episode that clues us in to what happened after the cameras and crews are gone. Some folks win; some folks just slide back but it’s very moving to watch, either way.

Watch one episode. You’ll find that they become like potato chips – you can’t eat just one. They are compelling, real world, and a reminder that none of us knows what the next guy is carrying.


12 thoughts on “Myersvision: Hoarders

  1. There are clutter hoarders and then there is downright laziness where nothing is cleared. It reminds me of that Friends episode where Ross dates a colleague, goes back to her place and finds absolute filth – food, drink, pets, rubbish, all sorts. I don’t know how anyone could live like that. A cluttered house makes a cluttered mind. I guess Massive Attack were right. With some people, inertia really does creep. 🙄

    I’m of the opinion that if you’re not using it, get rid of it unless it holds some sentimental value. Life is too busy without adding more strain to it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • When I am super busy during stretches of the school year, I am bad about letting certain parts of my home go. It sometimes feels like a reflection of the barely-controlled chaos in my life. Then I will get a fire in me to clean and organize, as I did over Spring Break. I spent most of that week at home cleaning, organizing, etc. I even purchased and assembled another bookcase to aid in the process.

      From Spring Break to now I let some of that mess creep back in, but with it being exam week (in other words, a more flexible schedule) and with the Spring Jam this Friday, I’ve been back into decluttering and cleaning mode. I got a great deal of yard work done yesterday, and my flower beds no longer look like they belong to a haunted house.

      It’s a never-ending process. My goal this summer is to do some major reorganizing and decluttering.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The thing I advise people to do is not overload themselves – they’re defeated before they even begin. If there’s a room that needs more attention than the others, sit in that room and look around. You don’t have to do the whole room right now – pick the corners or piles that are really bothering you. Choose no more than three at this time. Take care of those three ‘areas’. When you’ve completely finished those, leave the room. Take a break, have some lunch, write a major opus, take a walk – do something just for you. After you’ve relaxed and feel refreshed, either go back to that same room or choose a different one and follow the same process. I wouldn’t do more than two efforts in a day – this stuff can get old real quick and you don’t want to stop the process. What happens is, as you go by this little schedule day by day, you walk into rooms that clearer and neater every time you enter them and that’s a nice little shot of ‘atta boy!” You will be amazed how quickly you’ve gotten your home squared away! And you didn’t kill yourself doing it!

        Liked by 2 people

      • That’s a great method! I find that when I undertake a major cleaning/reorganization effort, I’m bad about jumping from one “area” to the next, as I see them as interconnected: “to clean this part I need to move this thing, which requires organizing that area,” etc. I like the idea of silo-ing the cleaning into contained areas.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for the introduction, Port. It’s a measure of your creativity to be able to equate, in some respect, the creature that lives with nothing of its own and the creature that lives with more nothingness than they can deal with.

    I had a friend from church who confided to me that she was having some struggle with hoarding. She invited me to her home and though there were piles round about, it wasn’t that bad. What I didn’t know then was the storage facilities – plural.

    As I was out of work at the time, I volunteered to help her. I said I could use my laundry room to sort through the stuff and she should bring some boxes over and I’d get started. Bless her heart, she brought the first load that equaled nine big boxes.

    There are people, poor things, who keep all the advertising garbage you get in your snailmail box at your door. I can’t understand it, but they do. Tons of that in those nine boxes – quick work getting rid of it. But here’s the thing – I found $12,000 in dividend checks she had never cashed. I found $250 in cash. I found her mother’s death certificate and the mortgage to her mother’s house. I sort of felt like Howard Carter! (the man who discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb).

    One thing holds true: it’s said that a person’s eyes are the window of their souls. I saw that ’empty-eyed’ look in my friend and you’ll begin to recognize it in the eyes of the people who are highlighted in the episodes of Hoarder. Once again – there but for the grace of God go I.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Off topic.

    Good to see that South Carolina banned abortion after 6 weeks. Just saw the story on the BBC and they’re in predictable whiny mode.

    One of the campaigners fighting against the decision made this bizarre statement – ‘women will die.’ Well that’s presuming that very rare ectopic pregnancies will occur in every pregnant woman in SC and, ahem, what about the health of the babies?

    These nutjobs, our BBC included, always shout out for the innocent but have zero issue promulgating mass baby slaughter.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad, too. I’d love to see us go total, but six weeks is better than most States.

      HA! “Women will die.” We can’t make policy for the incredibly rare outside exceptions, which ectopic pregnancies would be, and probably wouldn’t fall under this restriction. I imagine a lot of floozies would start claiming to have ectopic pregnancies. There’s so much dishonesty on the “pro-choice” side, but if you’re willing to commit mass infanticide, what’s a little dishonesty sprinkled onto the wholesale slaughter of the innocents?

      Liked by 2 people

      • There are ways to make sure a pregnancy can’t happen. Condoms, the pill. It’s not like every encounter will lead to a pregnancy but people getting into that position should be aware that there’s more than lust riding on the line. There’s the responsibility. And to all those who say an unborn child is, to quote some of the colourful posters I’ve tussled with on TCW, just a bunch of cells, they might want to look at the odd sonogram or listen to happily pregnant women talk of their baby moving in their bodies.

        The pro choice section that annoy me the most are those who publicly and, in many instances, persistently proclaim that their mission is to protect women and infants. Admirable, I’m sure, but if you advocate abortion for any reason, it cancels out what you stand for.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, it always amuses me that these people can’t remember to pop a quarter in the machine in the gas station bathroom and get a rubber (pardon my crassness). What it means is that most of these floozies are using abortion as a form of “birth control.” Despicable.

        Liked by 1 person

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