Hoarders season two premieres tonight on A&E

Tonight is the premiere of the second season of the A&E television show Hoarders at 10/9c. We’ve written a few times about the first season of the show, and even heard from people who have been featured on the program in our comments section. I continue to have mixed feelings about it — I love that it is bringing a human face to this mental health issue and raising awareness, but I wish that there was less shock and awe factor in what is broadcast.

We’ve heard from a number of people associated with the show that the second season is going to talk more about treatment options and look more closely at the psychological aspects of the disorder than was the case in season one. I truly hope this is accurate because I believe the hoarders on the show deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. I’m not saying that they weren’t in season one — I know from first-hand accounts that they were given excellent help behind the scenes during the filming of the episodes — but what translated onto the screen didn’t always reflect the entire process. I’m looking forward to tonight’s episode and seeing how the changes are implemented.

After the episode airs, feel welcome to jump onto our Unclutterer Forums and talk about it in our second season Hoarders thread. If you don’t get A&E, check out the official Hoarders website in a couple days where they will post the full episode online.

38 Comments for “Hoarders season two premieres tonight on A&E”

  1. posted by momofthree on

    I watch this show in hopes of getting some insight into root causes and reasons why people feel the need to keep so many items in the house, in the outside storage shed, garage, and in off site storage facilities. I was disappointed with the lack of sympathy portrayed in season one. I hope season two does explore in more detail the reasons why and the help that is available, especially when the health of the resident/s is in question.

  2. posted by DawnF on


    Do you know if the show will focus on 1 family per episode or will they continue to share 2 families stories. It just seems like a lot of information crammed into 1 hour with only a sentence or 2 at the very end about what happened after the show…

  3. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Dawn — I don’t know. My guess is that they continue with two families. I’m torn on this issue because although I would like more in-depth with one family, helping two families per episode doubles the number of people who receive help.

  4. posted by L. on

    The electronic program guide has two names per episode for tonight.

  5. posted by Mike on

    I suspect they have a “B plot” for the same reason they show teasers of both families at the beginning: in case a viewer happening by is interested in one plotline and not the other, the viewer will still stay tuned in.

    “Hoarders” makes for very compelling television, and yet I agree that they still have room to grow. Last season when the planner was asking the one old guy “I see a book called Tax Code 1998. Now, what might be in there that you think you need to save?” but we never got an answer, just a befuddled look on the old guy’s face and a cut to another scene. I would love to have seen how that played out. That’s a perfect example of being blunt without losing sympathy.

  6. posted by Wendy on

    I haven’t seen any of these show, although I have been interested in them since reading the comments from the last discussion. When I checked my DVR, it shows 4 of the older shows on this afternoon- probably a lead-in to the new season. Just wanted to mention that for others like me who haven’t seen any.

  7. posted by tracy on

    Some shows deal with root issues, some don’t. And I respond by not watching. For example, BBC’s “How Clean is Your House”. Yeah, hilarious. Way to clean that disgusting house and leave people with their original issues. I know that TV is supposed to be a venue for entertainment, but then I wish they would just bill it that way, not as a “helping” show.
    I appreciate the programming that deals with the psychological aspects, especially when I can apply them to myself. It really helps keep me, and my family, “in check”.
    Isn’t it scary and sad that we gorge on anything and everything–food, alcohol, drugs, stuff, unhealthy relationships–to try to fill the hole with things that can never fill the hole. There’s endless material for TV shows . . . endless opportunities for my husband’s ministry.

  8. posted by Erin Doland on

    @tracy — I sincerely don’t mean any offense by this, but hoarding isn’t a sin needing forgiveness from God. People who are Hoarders have a diagnosed medical condition. They have a compulsion to hang onto things, the same way other obsessive compulsives need to wash their hands hundreds of times a day. They need to be under the care of a medical doctor, the same way someone with cerebral palsy or any other form of medical disorder does. Assuming that hoarding is the same as greed is misinformed and exactly the kind of attitude that I hope the tv show Hoarders works to correct. Hoarders need our compassion, not our judgment.

  9. posted by Amber on

    I am looking forward to watching Season 2. I learned so, so much from Season 1 and I share some of Erin’s concerns about the shock-and-awe approach. After watching all of Season 1, I came away with an understanding that hoarding is one of the most insidious manifestations of OCD a person can suffer. I could almost literally feel the frustration of the family members and professionals who were there to help.

    I also saw the episode of Oprah where she had a few of the families featured on Hoarders on her show. I was struck by how one woman – the one who ended up separating from her husband and moving into her own apartment – had completely embraced therapy for the hoarding, almost to the point where THAT became her new obsession.

    I suppose there is a flip-side to every coin. I even meet simple-living people who seem to take that to an extreme, purging their lives of even the most rudimentary comforts. It’s fascinating.

    I wonder if a reality show about people who lead healthy, balanced lives would ever succeed?

  10. posted by tracy on

    Wow, Erin. I don’t believe I mentioned, or even alluded to, “sin” or “forgiveness” or “greed” or “judgment”. Is that how you grew up? In my world, ministry is about showing unconditional, non-judgmental kindness and compassion to people who are struggling. In the eyes of those in ministry, a struggle is a struggle is a struggle–medical-based, or chosen, or nurtured, or natured, or whatever. Or, that’s how it should be. I wholeheartedly agree with you that hoarding is biochemical. Certainly, you are the expert there. Chronic depression is also biochemical, of which I am a first-hand expert. At the end of the day, we’re all walking wounded who could use a hand from the other walking woundeds.

  11. posted by Erin Doland on

    @tracy — I was specifically referring to your statements:

    “Isn’t it scary and sad that we gorge on anything”
    –> People who are Hoarders are not scary, nor are they sad. They suffer from a disorder. They do not “gorge” out of greed, they have a compulsion.

    “food, alcohol, drugs, stuff, unhealthy relationships”
    –> Sometimes psychological disorders DO create unhealthy relationships with the things you mentioned. We should feel compassion for people who cannot control these obsessive compulsions.

    “to try to fill the hole with things that can never fill the hole”
    –> They do not have “holes” and they are not trying to “fill” anything. They have a medical disorder.

    “endless opportunities for my husband’s ministry”
    –>You’re stating that Hoarders who “gorge” need your husband’s ministry. As I said earlier, Hoarding is not a sin needing forgiveness from God or any type of minister. There are, however, real opportunities for licensed medical professionals who can treat hoarding.

    I’m glad to read that you did not mean what you wrote in your initial comment. I thought that a line-by-line analysis will at least show you why I was so upset by what you said. Good to hear that you’re aware it is a medical disorder.

  12. posted by Tracy on

    I still think we are agreeing more than not, especially where “compassion” is concerned. I now eagerly await line-by-line analysis of your Wiccan, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic, Muslim, Unitarian, and Hindu posters’ thoughts. I won’t hold my breath.

  13. posted by Erin Doland on

    @tracy — What I wrote had nothing to do with religion. Hoarding is a medical disorder.

  14. posted by Mercedes on

    I have been counting down the days for this season premiere. this show is such an eye opener, and I recommend it to everyone I know! I think we all express some of these tendancies, jut not to the extreme that most of these people do.

  15. posted by Paula on

    I’ve watched a few episodes and felt awful that some people have this problem but I like the series.

  16. posted by fibrowitch on

    Tracy, what you don’t want to hear anything from Jewish posters? Well can’t help you there, I’m wiccan. But I did notice you left a major religion off your list.

    I enjoyed your post right until that last sentence. Because, I read it as “Oh boy something for my husband and I to make money off of”

    I have a fatal illness, I don’t want to be ministered to by anyone. Praying with me or over me is not going to heal me. It will not heal any of the people on this show either. For they have an illness too, it’s not going to kill them, well I hope not. What they need is medication, compassion (which is in the same family as ministry) and clinical help. Unless your husband is a licenses psychotherapist, he can’t be much help.

    These people deserve our sympathy and in a way you do as well. Because your reading these comments as attacks against your faith when they are not.

    I will admit to having several unpleasant interactions with people who “minister” to others. In both my guise as a pagan and when I am in hospital for treatments. I hope you and your husband are nothing like that.

  17. posted by fibrowitch on

    I should post topic as well.

    I am a bit of a hoarder. I prefer to call myself a collector. I don’t have old papers, or empty medicine bottles, but I do have over a thousand books, shelves and shelves of dolls and other dust collectors. Watching this show last year made me realize how close I was to letting things get out of hand. Since I gave up my spare bedroom to my aids, I had to get rid of a lot of stuff, and place even more in storage. I think I shall watch this season from a different place mentally than I did last year.

    Surrounded by less than 500 books, and way fewer dust colectors.

  18. posted by Kathryn Fenner on

    My inlaws have a serious hoarding problem–they lost a queen-size bed, mattress and boxsprings, in their basement, for example. My family are more in the frugal/collector category, but in all cases, I clearly see an underlying anxiety: what if we throw it out/pass up this bargain or opportunity to acquire this rare coin/stamp/etc.—AND THEN WE REGRET IT!?!?

    It is hard for me to remind myself that I can equally regret not having the space the thing occupies or the money the thing cost. I am getting there, though. There has to be some cute slogan along the lines of “nothing tastes as good as being thin feels” for the decluttered –once any medical condition is under control, of course— just as there is a difference between someone with a few pounds to lose who can just cut out the Supersize meals, and someone with a thyroid condition or an eating disorder, there is a difference between the somewhat cluttered and Hoarders.

  19. posted by zchristy on

    Tonight’s premiere dealt with one individual for the entire hour- effective but exhausting!

    Join in the discussion on the forums about this episode:


  20. posted by Cole on

    Erin, I can see Tracy’s point, especially watching these shows. Most all the cases we’ve seen, the shows allude to or discuss some trauma that has occurred that leads people to these disorders. As with most mental issues, I feel there is more than likely one or more trigger events that remove the “limits” on what is normal for most.

    As an aside, I do find the episodes scary. Hoarding does scare me, so I think that point is valid for me personally.

    Actually, on that point, I joked to my wife that this show would make me want to clean and unclutter more, but its really affecting me – I feel slightly dizzy and uncomfortable at even the thought of these places existing. Its deeply disturbing to me.

  21. posted by rachel on

    I know a wonderful lady who hoards. Her family have helped her move into a new, clean house so the old one could be cleaned up. No surprise, since the underlying condition has not been treated, the new house is going the same way. I don’t know whether she’ll ever admit to needing psychological help. But I do know that she needs compassion and understanding whether she gets treatment or not. And if she were to get treated for the condition, I know for a fact that she would want, *in addition*, the sort of prayer support and compassionate listening that a ministry could provide.

    Erin, I don’t really understand why you would dismiss that as offensive or irrelevant. People of some faiths *want* this sort of support when they’re being treated for medical conditions; it helps them get through the experience. When hospital chaplains, for example, spend time with a patient who’s going through treatment, they’re ministering. That doesn’t mean they are offering forgiveness for sin; the two things are not related in the least, IMO. Nor does their support substitute in any way for medical treatment.

  22. posted by Shane on

    I can’t wait to catch a re-run. Most people see this another program of entertainment, but I can’t help thinking “This is a medical Issue!!”

  23. posted by Lori B on

    Unbelievable. I’m agnostic and I knew exactly what Tracy meant the first time I read it. No analysis or clarification needed. She never used any of those words, like “sin” or “judgment”. And contrary to the line-by-line “analysis”, Tracy never even implied those things – although it’s fascinating that that was the conclusion jumped to. All Tracy did was write things that actually DO show compassion and insight into all this, but added “my husband’s ministry” at the end. If she had written “my husand’s practice” she wouldn’t have gotten a bunch of crap. Also, she never said *or implied* that all people with problems NEED her husband’s ministry. I’m pretty sure she meant those who seek out his ministry of their own free will, and that as long as people have problems, SOME of them will seek his counsel, therefore his ministry stays open.

    It’s ironic that a “critical analysis” was done of Tracy’s post, by the same person who displayed a definite knee jerk reaction and stereotyping of Christians & ministries. Way to go.

  24. posted by Kathy on

    @Tracy and Lori, then, I’ll bite: What’s the hole that needs to be filled with things that can never fill the hole, from Tracy’s post?

  25. posted by Erin Doland on

    @rachel — I wholeheartedly agree with your description of the place of ministry in all of this. Like a cancer patient would receive chemotherapy from a doctor and then support from a religious community, a hoarder should receive treatment from a licensed medical practitioner and then support from their network (which may involve ministry if that is what a person chooses).

    @Lori B — I’m not displaying a knee jerk reaction. I’m also not stereotyping Christians. There is great misinformation out there about hoarding and I feel a professional obligation to correct those mistakes when I encounter them. Hoarders do not have “holes.” They suffer from a medical disorder, like cancer or cerebral palsy or clinical depression. My discussion is not a religious one, but a medical one. Please re-read @rachel’s post about the role of ministry in all of this. I think what she says is spot-on. A much better explanation than I gave.

    Additionally, your assumption and others’ that I was criticizing Christians is incorrect. I’m not even sure that @tracy is a Christian. I have no idea what her religion is, nor will I even guess. There are numerous ministers in religions of the world. The assumption that I was stereotyping Christians is your own.

  26. posted by BEth on

    Hoarders has taught me a lesson about solving problems: (1) be respectful, (2) Use cooperation, (3) take managable steps.

  27. posted by Amber on

    Having now watched the first episode of Season 2, I found it incredibly exploitative. Where was the information about therapy and follow-up, aside from the brief written notes at the end? The entire hour just showed the extent of the squalor over and over, little of substance about the actual disorder of hoarding.

  28. posted by gini roberts on

    maybe tracy meant we fill our lives and space with “things” but there is still a hole (emptiness) because “material” is never fulfilling to a life. this seems true whether it is consumerism or the extreme of hoarding.
    my husband has been amused by how streamlined our belongings have become since this series began. same as cole said, the show disturbs me. had a neighbor who hoarded when i was a child – her home was full of old newspapers & all sort of irrelevant “junk”. my brothers tried to help her but it was fruitless.
    i had to turn “hoarders” off last night when they started finding the cats. the poor woman was blaming others for her problem. when the guy found her teeth she couldn’t even find a “thank you” – just “won’t do me no good without the lowers”. i pity the son and daughter. and the dead cats!

  29. posted by tracy on

    Fibrowitch, Oops! I did leave “Jewish” out. 😉 My husband earns a very modest pastor’s salary. I’m thankful–it keeps our lives ridiculously free of stuff we don’t need. 🙂

    Lori, You’re officially my favorite “agnostic”. 🙂 Like I know so many. 🙂 Cole, Gini, Rachel, thanks for taking my comments as intended.

    I’m not a flame-thrower (I’m usually a stand-in-the-corner-and observ-er), and I’m sorry that such a controversy got us off the important topic at hand. I’ll be the first one in any group to defend someone who is perceived as “different”. I’ve worked with all kinds of special needs (and live with ADD and depression myself), so I’ve learned to love and appreciate all the different ways people are put together. Some need that compassion, as well. Like I said, we’re all walking wounded, in a way. You never know what’s going on, really, in the life of that smiling person at work or on the street.
    Amber, I’m with you 100%. I thought it was a disappointment. Mostly shock value. My kids had never watched before, and they were doing the ol’ “How could they . . . blah, blah, blah”–and I let ’em have it. Although I did point out that the nice lady was blaming everyone and everything but herself for her dilemma. But again, that is her illness, and a mother who scarred her.

    I really liked the therapists last season, and the ones in the show that used to precede “Hoarders”–I can’t remember what it was called. “Addicted”? If this is the way this season is going to roll, I probably won’t watch. If I want visual horror, I’ll watch the news.

  30. posted by Patti on

    I watched the first few episodes of Hoarders, but haven’t kept up with it because the treatment of the hoarders just left me cold.

    When a truck is backed up to your house to clear it out in two days, that is NOT the time to try and convince a hoarder that they need to change. That therapy should have been done prior to the clean-out, so that the hoarders are actually READY and WILLING for the change, without having to have an on-camera meltdown. But hey, that wouldn’t get ratings would it?

    I think Peter Walsh and TLC’s Clean Sweep team (is it still on the air? hard to find it) does a MUCH better job of helping people conquer clutter. First of all, the person/family is READY and WILLING to change, which is why they applied for the show (as opposed to Hoarders families being FORCED to change by the court system).

    Secondly, in Clean Sweep not only does he work with the person/family to go through every item in their home, making them create piles of Keep/Sell/Donate, but they stop and talk about any problems they have letting go. And this happens without a truck parked outside with workers on the clock.

    They also make it “fun” to let go by having the sale contest (family member who sells the most stuff gets to keep their treasured item), by donating unsold items to charity (rather than just dumping everything in the landfill), and by making over their house.

  31. posted by Empress Juju on

    Last night was the first time I had seen the show, and I liked it a lot. Hoarding runs in my family (it skipped me, thank goodness), and I had heard so many of the words coming out of Augustine’s mouth, and those of her children as well, many times in my childhood.

    It was difficult to watch them clearing out her living room with pitchforks and shovels, knowing that there were probably at least a few salvageable “treasures” in the mountains of refuse… including Augustine’s lower dentures! I know how hard she worked to “save” all that stuff!

    But I did appreciate the professionals addressing her with dignity and compassion, even though Augustine seems too sick to know the difference. I never heard my hoarding loved ones addressed so respectfully, and it warms my heart to know that they weren’t alone in their illness, and that the malady is getting more attention these days.

  32. posted by Mike on

    I watched the episode on the DVR last night and thought it was fairly well-handled. (Though 25 minutes into the recording they still had not started cleaning — not a good sign!) The chair gift actually didn’t surprise me as much as it did my wife. That’s just how southerners are. They are raised with a greater deference to elders than people in most other regions, and those workers would think of it as nothing more than their good turn for the day.

    What struck me, and what I notice has been consistent with the other hoarders shown last season, is that, no matter how horribly filthy, squalid, and overfull the overall dwelling is, there is always a bare spot to sit in front of the TV, and there is always a functioning TV. (In Augustine’s case, a new Sony LCD no less… after all, she still had the box right there on the floor). I’m not suggesting that this discounts the medical diagnosis in the slightest. I am just wondering if the physical and psychological impact of the hoarding disease is worsened by having such a readily-available “escape” that requires so little cognitive dissonance. After all, why should one confront one’s debilitating condition when glorious respite and a guarantee of making it at least as far as tomorrow is just a click away?

    It makes me want to find out (if it’s even possible) what “hoarding” was like a century ago. I don’t doubt the disease existed, but I would wager that the prevalence of it was way, way down. Before the advent of mass-commercialized consumer goods, what did people own other than what they needed, and the odd heirloom here or there?

  33. posted by Tracy on

    Interesting, Mike . . . what did people hoard? Did many hoard? Is hoarding on the increase (I think we all know it is)? I bet whatever tendencies were there years ago, were held way down or back. Seriously, trying to keep life and limb together by working oneself half to death at work or field to feed the family is a pretty good distraction from whatever other “tendencies” a person might have.

    Also, I wonder how it relates to “Depression Babies'” tendency to “save”? My in-laws have a pile of complimentary letter openers still in packages (they’ve been on top of the microwave for at least the 18 years we’ve been married–and I bet longer), a DRAWER full of USED shoelaces and dull scissors, and a cupboard-overflowing of coffee mugs that they keep trying to give to us kids. 🙂 I’ve always wondered if part of it is that they live in the country: no garbage pickup. Whatever they can’t burn, they “haul down to the woods” (which I think is awful, environmentally–and I’m not even much of an environmentalist). I suppose anything you would make on scrap metal would be eaten up by the dude who would come to pick it up.

    Finally, I wonder if there’s ever a “snap” with some people that just pushes them over the line? There seems to be more of a “slide”, in most cases. Does it hide and reside quietly, and then rears its head because of chronic loneliness or helplessness?

    I love Peter Walsh. He is one that really wants to get at the crux of things, and see people come through for the long-term.

    This is a very complicated, confusing condition.

  34. posted by duxbellorum on

    My father is a child of the Depression. One of his favorite sayings has always been, “Put it in the attic! It’ll be worth something someday!” My mother, in re: to cleaning always referred to her “DLP’s” — Dreadful Little Piles which might shift locations but never really went away. Now that she’s gone my father has a whole house of DLP’s.

  35. posted by Erin Doland on

    Regarding children of the Great Depression … studies show that someone who lived through it is no more likely to keep things “just in case” than people from other generations. Many minimalists came out of the era, as well. Same as with this economic downturn … there are those who believe that they must hold onto things “just in case” and those who don’t.

  36. posted by MyStuffsGottaGo on

    I think there are many causes for one to become a hoarder. Loneliness, traumatic incidences in childhood or adulthood, unable to socialize, chemical imbalances, the high that comes from shopping and even laziness could play a part. It saddens me to hear that people shop because it makes them feel good and then they throw all the bags in a pile and forget about them. The tags are still on most of what they buy. That sounds like a case of unintentional hoarding. It piles up with the person only thinking and caring about the next time they can shop and who doesn’t like to shop? The store is a flurry of activity with interesting people to see, clothes and items to view and you can take your time pushing the cart around and looking at things, just enjoying the experience of being out of your home. I’m sure there are many people with the intention of only looking, but if they are like me, something always ends up in the cart. I can see why there are many people who end up hoarders. Theres so much in stores that catches a persons eye. Always something new and different and a must have item. Its hard for me not to want to put everything in my cart that I feel I just have to have! But Ive reached a time in my life where the STUFF doesnt make me happy anymore. The piles weren’t fun to move, or look at anymore. I didn’t want to get rid of anything anymore than the hoarders on the show. It took a lot of time to part with my “precious” things that someone else probably wouldn’t look twice at, but I’m glad I finally hit that wall and something had to give. It was be unhappy or get rid of things. The people on these shows definitely need help and I agree there needs to be more than just a two day clean up. It goes a lot deeper than anyone knows. The emotional aspect is not one that families seem to want to jump into the middle of. Whew. This show is helping me keep a balance of what I need and do not need in the way of material possessions. …!! The funny thing is…as hard as it was to get rid of so many things, months later I can’t remember most of the piddly, unimportant little things it was I got rid of. I hope each and every person on this show gets the care and help they need to conquer their hoarding habit.

  37. posted by Lori B. on

    Hoarders has been both painful and cathartic for me to watch. I grew up in that. I’m the third generation in my family that has been affected by this hoarding disorder.

    And speaking from experiance, for hoarders, our hoards are our security blankets. Like animals hiding in tall grass. Our stuff is there for us when so much in our lives is not. To get rid of it is to get rid of what makes us secure. Yet at the same time, we hate living like that. Eventually, as one lady put it “it will swallow you whole.” It’s true. It consumes our homes, our lives, our souls, our minds and it really hurts inside to try to clean it up. Why would we strive to do something that hurts us? It’s easier to ignore it. It’s so weird and complex and depressing to deal with.

    My mother committed suicide in squalor suffering from severe depression and anxiety that she refused to get help for. My grandmother will be leaving behind a literal MANSION filled floor to ceiling with stuff dating all the way back to the Depression.

    My home is neat, clean, neat as a pin, and uncluttered. I don’t want to be the third generation who lives and dies like that. But just the other day, I gave away a few beloved items to Goodwill that I truly don’t need but just about threw up from how sick I felt inside doing it. I will never stop fighting my hoarding tendencies…but my clean home is slowly strengthening the tranquility within me. This site has been a huge help to me and brings me comfort when I read it. Maybe one day, I will hardly notice how giving stuff away affects me.

  38. posted by CanuckMan on

    The bottom line is that it’s okay to have favourite material belongings but at the same time not to be overly materialistic because over-materialism or whatever you call it can be lead to hoarding and in the long run it can create depression because the more favourite belongings you acquire the more anxious or worried you can feel for such belongings. Also if it ain’t off topic I’m not surprised that one of the reasons why parents occasionally refuse to purchase toys and or games for their kids is because it may lead to hoarding.

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