A&E Hoarders: Houston Hoarder Show airs on February 1



I had the privilege of working as an organizing assistant on the A&E show Hoarders. If you have not seen it, here is the scoop.   Each 60-minute episode of Hoarders is a fascinating look inside the lives of two different people whose inability to part with their belongings is so out of control that they are on the verge of a personal crisis.

This week an upcoming episode that was filmed in Houston is being shown.  The air date is February 1.  Working as an assistant to Certified Professional Organizer – Chronic Disorganization Geralin Thomas and Clinical Psychologist Suzanne Chabaud, Ph.D., the episode was filmed for 2 days on location at the home.    My kudos to both professionals on their approach to a very real life challenge! 

Honoring the client’s needs and respecting the client are underlying aspects of Hoarders.  The client was facing tough decision making.  Dealing with too much stuff can be a shameful experience. From the outset the tone of respect was set.  Recognizing the client’s vulnerability, the focus was to help him make decisions and move forward. Others on the set were aware of this and it was clear that the client was anxious about having his things thrown out.  Everyone on the set learned about the mental health challenges facing the client in parting with his stuff.   And everyone was patient! It took time to make decisions and move forward. 

Hoarders portrays the work of a certified professional organizer in a real setting and in a realistic manner.  It is really about sorting and decision making!  Some of the most difficult parts of working with a client is to understand the depth of the decision making challenge and the need to keep items.  Seeing the process of grouping “like” items together at the beginning, moving on to decision making, then finding a “home” for stuff, people are seeing how the process evolves.   Truly, a client moves forward at their own pace, not the pace set by the organizer or the therapist.  In viewing the challenges of those on the show, people are recognizing their own challenges too! This is an incredible way to make a difference in people’s lives. 

Thank you to both of these professionals for sharing their time with all of us, personally and nationally.  What an incredible experience to learn as they worked with the client.  What was it like behind the scenes? Really no different than what you see on tv!  Everyone was there to help the client live their best life!

Great Resources

Hoarding and Collecting

We are baffled and amazed at hoarding.  Where does collecting cross the line? 

 My colleagues Arianne Benefit and D Allison Lee have so much to share on this topic!  Here is the post to learn more on this topic.

To quote from the blog:  

Your collections ARE likely to be a hoarding or collecting disorder if any of the following are true.

·                      You aren’t able to use some of the spaces or furniture in your home for their intended purposes.  For example: if your floors have become storage, and you can’t easily walk on them or you can’t use your kitchen to cook because all the “collections” are in the way.

·                      You aren’t able to keep your collections clean and in good condition.

·                      You aren’t able to store and/or display your collections in such a way that no harm comes to them.

·                      The “collections” are often in your way and keep you from doing things you really want to do.

·                      You can’t stop collecting, and feel like you “have” to – even if the collecting is putting you in debt, or keeping you from having other things in life that you want – like being able to have friends visit your home.

Your collections are likely NOT a problem if:

·     Your life is functioning well and you are paying your bills and taxes on time.

·     You could get an appraiser to verify that your collections are worth something.

·     You keep your collections well organized and in good condition.

·     You know what you have and how much of it you have

·     Your collections give you real “joy” and don’t distress you.

About the Author

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed., is a sought-after life coach, ADHD coach, and chronic disorganization expert who has helped hundreds of clients get unstuck, embrace their imperfections, and harness their creative strengths to conquer their clutter and organizing challenges. She is the author of several highly acclaimed organizing books, as well as the popular Neat & Simple Living blog. Visit Ariane online at: www.lotusbridge.comClick here to contact Ariane via email. 


About D. Allison Lee

Deb shares so much about organizing and more on her blog!  She is a Certified Professional Organizer located in the greater Washington D.C.  Visit her blog at


Want to learn more about this topic?  Visit Geralin Thomas’ blog at Metropolitan Organizing at . Geralin is seen frequently on A&E’s Hoarders.