Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hoarders leave behind disturbing mess for families to clean up

By Jill Sell

A large shovel leans against a filthy living room wall, the only object left in the inner-ring suburban home that until recently was stuffed from basement to attic with trash, clothes, furniture and debris.

The shovel was a stark reminder of the most effective way to clean the house of a hoarder.

A rich accountant had lived alone in the home for 60 years, adding every day to his nightmarish living conditions. Pallets of yellowed and brittle papers, mildewed books, junk mail, jigsaw puzzles, about 400 stacked empty ice cream cartons, and mice-infested furniture filled the large but unlivable house.

It was, in other words, a classic example of hoarding, the once-hidden disorder getting intense scrutiny lately, thanks in part to two new TV shows highlighting its horrors.

The shows, TLC's "Hoarding: Buried Alive" and A&E's "Hoarders," focus on the plight of those drowning in their own possessions . . . and trash. Both series uncover the frustration of family and friends -- and the hoarders themselves -- trying to wrap their minds around the unsanitary and overwhelming disorder..." More

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