Oprah airs two episodes on hoarding

We’re a little late to the game on this piece of news, but thanks to a number of readers it didn’t completely slip through our fingers. If you have the chance, set your TiVos to record today’s episode of Oprah. The show is the second in a two-part series on hoarding.

Thursday’s episode, “Inside the Lives of Hoarders, Part I,” introduced viewers to Sharyn and Marvin’s 3,000 square foot home filled to capacity with clutter. In addition to Peter Walsh helping the family discover their home from under the mess, Oprah brought in Dr. David Tolin to help with the psychological issues of hoarding. Oprah’s site provides additional resources on the subject of hoarding, which can be found here.

Today’s episode follows the family as they continue to work on cleaning and repairing the home. This project, initially scheduled to be a two-week process, ended up taking eight weeks and required more than 100 people to staff its undertaking.

Check your local listings for today’s show times.

24 Comments for “Oprah airs two episodes on hoarding”

  1. posted by Cleaning » Blog Archive » Oprah airs two episodes on hoarding on

    […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

  2. posted by Leslie T on

    Thanks for the tip!

  3. posted by Wesa on

    I watched the first part while at the gym (on mute). I think I saw someone pick up a few boxes of food and it took part of the carpet with it. I was horrified. The hoarder was apparently horrified too. I’m definitely going to see if I can’t find the episodes online so I can hear the show.

  4. posted by Marie on

    Wesa, I also saw this at the gym! It was one of those oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-I’m-watching-this-but-I-have-to moments. Can’t WAIT for Part II. Organization + crying + food stuck to carpet = best Oprah ever.

  5. posted by Want to be Anonymous on

    So my question is… what do you do when you are the child of a hoarder? How do you keep yourself from falling into those same patterns?

  6. posted by Erin Doland on

    Wesa and Marie — Did you hear the part where Peter Walsh said that he vomited because of the food that pulled up the carpet? When you make the professional organizer puke, things in the house can’t be good.

  7. posted by Katie on

    I watched parts of this at Oprah’s website, and it was really powerful. It really makes you understand that hoarding is an emotional issue for people… like overeating or anything done to excess.

  8. posted by karen on

    holy cow! what i could accomplish in 8 weeks with 100 people! i’d get my entire neighborhood organized!

  9. posted by Kerry on

    I think I watched the first 15 minutes with my mouth open. I was blown away by the volume of clutter and how fast it managed to become out of control. Can’t wait to see part 2 today!

  10. posted by Mer on

    I thought the episode was heartbreaking. I could feel that lady’s shame coming straight through the TV set.

    But hat’s off to her kids who loved her enough to say… “ENOUGH!!!”

    I was glad to hear she’s in therapy. It would not be enough to just come in and clean out her house. She will need ongoing counseling and treatment to help her deal with her compulsion. Otherwise, she could end back up in that situation in six months.

    Peter Walsh is awesome. I think he said all the right things.

  11. posted by donna on

    I watched part 1 and 2. Yes, this was sad, but I feel that it was even sadder that no one intervened earlier. What a waste of money, 6000 pairs of shoes? Why did Marvin her husband let it go this far. It’s like an illness, like alcoholism,,,it could kill you,,and like the filth, mold and other unhealthy items in her house,,this could have hurt someone. Why did they let people buy this stuff at a sale? Who wants shoes with tags that have been exposed to mice nest, mold, dampness? YUCK. I can’t believe that she bought stuff back to the department stores!! Come on! To think that I could walk into Macy’s and buy a blender that had been sitting in her house for a few years! I’m disgusted! Didn’t anyone in the family know that she needed intense therapy for depression years ago? I hate to sound so critical, but I CAN’T believe that her family let it go that far. What a waste of money too! I also wonder if she ever worked? If she had to go to work every day, and make the money to buy these things, would she have been so wasteful? Maybe she could have put her time and energy into doing something to make this world a better place, such as helping underprivledged children go to camp? How about donating money to special needs children for therapy, and she could be involved in seeing the “good” that she had done in this world.That might help her depression. That poor woman, was depressed for years, and no one, until Oprah and Peter Walsh came into her life,,,gave her any hope. I pray that she does something with her life now, so that she never gets back into this again. I would love to know, as many other viewers are wondering, what does her husband do? They way I figure it, 6000 pair of shoes at $30.00 per pair would be over $180.000.00! And I wonder how much was put into the house to get it back in shape? One last comment, I would love to check back in on her in 1 year.

  12. posted by Marie on

    Donna, the question I felt that was never addressed in Part I or II was– how did this woman afford all this stuff? They said that two tables worth of stuff in the enormous warehouse they had to rent for the rummage sale totaled $60,000 — just for two tables. As for the family, I agree they should have intervened sooner, but I think that she hid it from them pretty well. She said that there were a number of rooms in the house that she had locked and never showed to anyone because of the clutter. Also, did they ever go into the psychological reasons behind her cluttering? Missed that part from the first episode.

  13. posted by Leslie T on

    Wow, that was really disturbing. Agree with all the comments above that this lady needs a lot more than just help with organizing. I’ve read a lot about hoarding, and the evidence seems to be really depressing that it never really gets cured. So I also wonder what that house will look like a year from now. I’m also totally flummoxed by the tremendous waste of money. Talk about the haves and the have-nots! It’s bad enough when the haves enjoy what they can buy with their wealth, but to have people who buy just for the sake of buying when so many go without – it would be sinful if it weren’t so obvious that there is a mental imbalance here. I wonder, too, if there might be a big debt load that wasn’t mentioned. Totally amazing.

  14. posted by Charmaine on

    Amen to Donna and Leslie! I couldn’t have said it any better! Shame on you Oprah … Wasn’t it just enough to help clean and reorganize their life instead of rewarding the couple with lavishing gifts?

  15. posted by another anon on

    @Donna…you can’t force someone to go to therapy. They have to want to do it. My parent is a hoarder, and there’s really nothing you can do from the outside besides try to keep the mess at bay (if you’re near enough to do it.)

    But you can’t prevent someone from spending their money, unless you take legal control of them by declaring them incompetent.

    In my case, trying to intervene meant that my parent just started to distance me, which made it even harder to do anything. If you don’t live in the same household, you can’t even enter into another person’s property w/o their permission, so if the hoarder doesn’t want you there, you can’t go.

    And if you threaten to tell the city, then you’re making the situation 100 times worse, because then the person could be evicted from their home, and then where do they go?

    It’s just really difficult to get that fixed unless the person decides to make a change.

    And the scary thing is, like the other anonymous poster brought up is that when you grow up in that kind of environment…it feels normal. Like that’s the only way you really can live.

  16. posted by Brooke on

    @Want to be Anonymous: There are some resources out there, for example the websites http://www.squalorsurvivors.com/ and http://www.childrenofhoarders.com/bindex.php. Good luck!

  17. posted by Geralin Thomas on

    If you want to learn more about hoarding and see real life examples, on film, I suggest obtaining a copy of “STUFFED” (a documentary film by Arwen Curry and Cerissa Tanner.)

    In addition, do a web search for the late Collyer brothers (they lived in New York)and learn about their lives.

    Another resource: National Study Group On Chronic Disorganization website: http://www.nsgcd.org Search for the clutter hoarding scale.

    Hope this information is helpful.

  18. posted by sheila on

    Is this Oprah episode going to be reaired anytime soon? I missed it and would love to see it. I am a hoarder too.

  19. posted by Stacy on

    Hoarding is very similar to alcoholism where everyone plays a role, and denial is a very strong component. You can’t force someone to get help until they are ready to accept it. The harder you push, or try to reason with them, the more they defend their way of life and the more they push you away. I’m just glad Sharyn was finally ready to accept help.

    *They said she bought a lot of the stuff on clearance, and did not pay full price for all those things.

  20. posted by Cynthia Friedlob, The Thoughtful Consumer on

    I’d like to recommend the following sites for information about hoarding:

    The Obsessive Compulsive Foundation at


    Helping Hoarders at


    Children of Hoarders at


    These sites provide fascinating information even for those of us who have less dramatic problems with our possessions. Those less dramatic problems also can cause quite a lot of unhappiness and frustration in our homes, so it’s difficult to imagine the suffering that hoarding can cause.

  21. posted by Grew up in clutter on

    jeezus!!! i feel sorry for the kids. i’ll never get my mom to come to grips with her issues, but i should probably go see a shrink myself to get some clarity on my own issues.

    growing up in a cluttered house made me frustrated and anxious and nervous. and now, realizing that my elderly mom will never change her ways, i am downright sad. i wish she’d gotten help 30 years ago.

    i probably haven’t been home in 15 years. the last visit depressed the hell out of me and broke my spirit.

  22. posted by along on

    My mom is a hoarder and I grew up in the situation too. I am the youngest of 7 kids and my older siblings never grew up in the environment I did. Dad was military and house inspections occurred in military housing. I lost my dad almost 20 years ago and thank God he did not die in the house..his last wish. It would have been difficult to get him out. Now my mom has filled the entire house top to bottom and has expanded outside the home to storage facilities. I would say her house is 4,000 sq ft. My sibilings don’t help. They are in denial. I have been fighting my mom on this issue for years. I have talked to counselors, doctors, city officials, and there is nothing I can do. She doesn’t think the way she is living is wrong. I am lost, angry, confused, and alone. If I turn her in my family will never forgive me, but I am at that point. I don’t even know if I would miss my brothers and sister. How could I if they are acting the way they are over this situation. If mom is safe then that is all that matters. She has no heat, a/c, phone, plumbing, she can’t even sleep on her bed its covered. Why does she keep telling us no, that she doesn’t need any help? What do I do? I used to have to take dishes out of the bathtub and scrub the tub to take a bath. I could never have friends over, I didn’t want anyone to know where I lived. Now I just want to help my mom. I don’t have the money or resources or family support. I live in an area where there are no support groups or any type of assistance. My mom is a great person and one of the most intelligent people I know. She will help everyone else but she will not take help. I have lost so much sleep over what I can do, how do I get thru to her. What if she dies in the house. She is in her 70’s. What if there is a fire? It scares the hell out of me. How do I keep her safe and why won’t she let me? My kids are out of my house and come visit me all the time with my grandkids, my kids could never do that. They have never even seen the inside of their grandmothers house. If they did it would crush them to know how she lives. I love her and want to keep her safe.

  23. posted by mc on

    whoa…. not realistic for average hoarder

  24. posted by mc on

    my hoarding came from being poor, homeless, helpless, and traumatized……how many people have a 3 car garage???? and a place FOR EVERYTHING???? iT DIDN’T HELP ME AT ALL

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