The Secret Lives of Hoarders: True Stories of Tackling Extreme Clutter

The Secret Lives of Hoarders: True Stories of Tackling Extreme Clutter

4.2 11
by Matt Paxton, Phaedra Hise
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

On the front lines with extreme hoarders

The Secret Lives of Hoarders is much more than harrowing tales of attacking the ugliest, dirtiest, and most shocking hoarding cases in the country. It is a behind-the-scenes look at this hidden epidemic- what it means, how to recognize it before it gets out of hand, and how to deal with it.

Through his

Overview

On the front lines with extreme hoarders

The Secret Lives of Hoarders is much more than harrowing tales of attacking the ugliest, dirtiest, and most shocking hoarding cases in the country. It is a behind-the-scenes look at this hidden epidemic- what it means, how to recognize it before it gets out of hand, and how to deal with it.

Through his work with hundreds of clients in the worst circumstances- from the giant "rat's nest" that hid more than $13,000 in cash to a vast cache of cartoon pornography to twenty-five years' worth of unopened mail-Matt Paxton has learned to understand this disorder and his clients' impulses to collect, to speak the hoarders' language, and to reach out to them with compassion and concern while avoiding criticism and judgment. Most important, he guides compulsive hoarders successfully through every step of the clean-up and healing process.

The Secret Lives of Hoarders is an engrossing and sometimes unsettling look at extreme clutter but one that helps hoarders, their families, and their friends to find meaning in the chaos.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

With reverent curiosity, Paxton shares the stories of hoarders from a distinctive perspective.

While digging himself out of the mess he made of his own life, the author, in a state of desperation, picked up a few cleaning jobs that lead him to an unexpected calling as a celebrated hoarding expert often featured on A&E's hit showHoarders.After years of working with hoarders, the author writes, he finally "figured out how to make sense out of their world." He ushers readers into that world by sharing their stories. Take Margaret, who "had been hoarding so many years that her possessions had started to decompose at the bottom of her five foot piles," whose home and possessions were "chewed or peed on by her fifty or so dogs that had free run of the place."Paxton is quick to point out that he is not a therapist but works closely with social workers in an effort to assist individuals that are in some cases almost literally suffocating under their belongings and underlying tribulations. The author presents an easy-to-use scale that deviates from the National Study Group's standard measures of chronic disorganization, helping his crew, as well as the reader, understand the various stages of hoarding. He then gives examples via case studies ranging from low-level to advanced or life-threatening hoarders. No matter how disturbing the situation is, he treats each of his clients with total respect, emphasizing that compassion is key in helping someone dig their way out.

Delicately excavates the skeletons in the clutter.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101514887
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/03/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
277,945
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Matt Paxton is one of the most popular experts on the hit A&E show Hoarders. Since 2006, Matt and his company, Clutter Cleaner, have worked with hundreds of clients, several of whom have appeared on the show. A popular speaker at trade shows, where he addresses issues of hoarding and senior relocation, he is a sought- after expert whose commentary has appeared on radio and television and in the press. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Visit his website at ClutterCleaner.biz Follow Matt on Twitter @ClutterCleaner

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Secret Lives of Hoarders 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Matt on the show "Hoarders" and couldn't wait to read his book. It didn't disappoint. A great book for anyone who knows a hoarder, or is just interested in the subject of hoarding. Matt looks at hoarding with a no-nonsense attitude, yet with compassion towards the hoarder and the issues which have lead them to hoard. Definitely interesting reading.
McGuffyAnn More than 1 year ago
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.
CasualUnclutterer More than 1 year ago
Matt Paxton is a compassionate, insightful author for a complex, painful subject who found his life's calling by chance. But he brings endless passion, compassion, energy, a sharp ability to read people and even enthusiasm to that work - conducting the intensive deep cleanings that the homes of people with hoarding disorder often need in order to be able to reclaim the spaces safely. This book is an excellent introduction to every aspect of the activity: the typical mindsets of people with hoarding disorder, and ways to approach working with them; potential complications of government or other outside involvement in the case; the "how-to" of the actual cleaning process, and most important, how to allow and encourage family members to get involved in the person with hoarding disorder's recovery. Lauren Williams, Casual Uncluttering LLC, Woodinville, WA, USA
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book! Although Matt is not a mental health professional, he clearly understands the psychological factors that make hoarders acquire and keep items.
MaryG31 More than 1 year ago
If you have seen any of the Hoarders programs this book probably won't add anything. I would have preferred each individual story to be told through to its conclusion and given an overview but the book does skip around a bit. That said, it's interesting from the point of view of there being different types of hoarders. Again, it's good but not riveting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OmaKO More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Matt's compassionate stories and his insight. This would be a great book for any psychology student's library, too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very honest and down to earth. Looks at both causes and solutions.
CathyNotK More than 1 year ago
Great info whether you are struggling with this issue personally, know someone who is or just want to understand the issue more fully. Good place to start to develop stragegies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago