Friday, August 12, 2011

The Secret Lives of Hoarders

True Stories of Tackling Extreme Clutter

By Matt Paxton with Phaedra Hise

This is a very interesting book, based on the cable TV show “Hoarders”, which airs on
A & E. The book is written by the owner of Clutter Cleaners, Matt Paxton, who also is an expert and speaker on issues of hoarding.

The book is full of case studies of hoarders, including how it begins, causes, and then recognition and resolution. There are reasons explained as to why some people begin to hoard. Also discussed are odd items people have been known to hoard. The psychology of hoarding is sorted out with sensitivity and sensibility, as Matt offers plans of action that work. Sorting this all out with the hoarder is part of breaking the cycle of hoarding, and ultimately healing.

The book is hard to read at times because of the content, the ways in which people are affected, and the reasons behind it. However, never does Matt judge the hoarder, choosing rather to explain the cycle and how to break it. He allows them dignity and hope, as well as help.

This is an important book, as this is a problem that many people have as a hidden source of shame. Only by facing it and sorting it out can one ever clean up their homes and their lives.


  1. My husband is a major hoarder. When he isn't around I get rid of what I call trash. He never seems to notice. ;)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and the kind comments. It is nice to be noticed sometimes isn't it.

  2. I've not seen the show, but I heard it was interesting. I imagine this book would be, too.

  3. It is scary good. Both show & book help to understand hoarders and hoarding. That is the beginning to/of healing.

  4. I have watched that show. I know a few people who I would consider somewhat of a hoarder and it makes me sad. I also always clean a closet when I watch that show, I don't know why, but I do!

  5. I have known and helped clean up after hoarders. It is a sad situation, for them and what they leave for others to do in their absence. To understand them and their problem is the beginning of helping them.
    To be conscience of their way of life and the things that may lead to it is a good deterrence in our own lives. In reality we all "collect" something, some kind of baggage. Sometimes it is just more visible, more tangible.

  6. I love this show, and can't wait to read this book. It's such a quiet disorder, rarely revealed or discussed with the world.

  7. Great review Ann. I've watched the shows and wondered how people get to that level of hoarding. Never would I say I would get to that level - but I'm sure those people would have said the same thing at some point. It's wonderful that someone has taken the time to explain this affliction and help people understand instead of judge.

  8. I've watched this show a few times, and find it very sad, that someone has this problem. Each time I watch the show, I think I need to clean my apartment. I don't know how they can live that way. It is a sorry state of affairs to anyone affected by this disorder.

  9. Thanks for visiting my blog over the weekend. Am now following yours!

    ~Cathy Kennedy, Children's Author