Friday, February 08, 2008

Oprah's Interventions

Oprah and organizing guru Peter Walsh worked together for two shows on hoarding. I didn't watch them when they first aired (I don't watch much TV), but last night, I watched the video available on Oprah's website.

These are painful to watch. I feel grateful that I got my wake-up call because it's clearly a case of 'there but for the grace...'. In one situation, the hoarder clearly is trying to fill the space left after her children left the home. What's really sad is how the husband simply let it happen. He lost his home to the clutter and hoarding disease.

I worry that the fix won't stick. Removing the stuff helps, providing that the hoarder is on the path to recovery and wants assistance, but it will just pile up again unless the underlying psychological issues are dealt with. I hope the show is providing counseling because without it, the house will just fill up again.
* * *
Today, inspired by the folks featured on those two shows, I dug out some junk. I have a coat rack in our basement hallway (we leave the house most often by the back door, since I park in the car port and my sweetie parks in the garage--yes, we can get a car into our garage!). Under the coat rack are these bins:

Until just now, they were full of all this stuff:

To make it easier, I dumped all three bins out into a laundry basket. Next, I grabbed another empty basket, a garbage can and a recycling can and went at it. Above, in the basket on the left, is what I have yet to sort. The bin on the right is the keeper stuff. The garbage is full of just plain trash that was in those poor bins. Old napkins and Kleenex, bits of this and that. It'll be at least another hour's worth of work to finish the sorting.


Anonymous said...

I think you should send a link of your blog to Rosie O'Donnell's blog, she's just confessed to, among various things, being a hoarder. I think your blog could be an eye-opener.

PS How about not leaving the baskets under the coat rack? Putting them somewhere else maybe? kcn

Jay Bazuzi said...

Your post reminded me of the article "The Illness Seeks the Medicine" ( When there's an issue in our lives, we will either address it or supress it. For example, consider the abused wife who takes solace in cookies. She hates seeing the fat that she puts on, so one day she decides to quit eating the cookies. As a result, the pain of her relationship is shoved in to sharp focus. At this point, she will either deal with the illness (e.g., leave the abusive husband) or supress the pain again (more cookies, or vallium, or something else).

You talked about people who hoard to cope/supress pain in their lives. If these people try to stop hoarding, they'll fail unless they are able to address the true illness, perhaps by grieving their losses.

Gruppie Girl said...

Wasn't that episode wonderful?

I also love Clean House on the Syle Network.

mamacita said...

Did you see Oprah's follow-up show yesterday? She checked in with that hoarder; her house is still exactly like Peter Walsh left it! She still folds her socks the same way and everything! She said that it's now almost an obsession for her to keep it clean, just as she as once obsessed with getting more stuff.

I saved those two Oprah shows with the hoarding lady. I have watched them a couple of times since, just for inspiration. Now I'm really inspired knowing that the changes stuck for her!