I’ve been a fan of the show Clean House since early 2009. I don’t watch a lot of television but one week while home sick I felt like doing nothing else but lying in bed and watching television. I came across Clean House. For a while I watched it every weekend whenever I could trying to catch up on the episodes. I found myself horrified and fascinated all at once. A couple of months ago my friend Mrs. Money told me I should check out Hoarders. After not accidentally coming across the show for a few weeks I wondered if Netflix had any episodes available for instant viewing. It did, and I watched my very first show of Hoarders.
It was pretty horrific. I asked Mr. A to watch with me, and a couple of days later we watched three episodes. After that we both felt so depressed we decided to climb into bed and take a nap. I’m serious. We found it emotionally draining to watch Hoarders.
These two shows are similar, but strikingly different. On the Hoarders episodes, people are in danger of being evicted from their rental home, or in one case the man owned his home but was going to be put in jail because his house was unsafe to live in. They didn’t go into detail on how he was facing jail time for a messy house, maybe it was a fire hazard? One couple was fearful of losing custody of their children because their house was such a mess, and had been that way for over two years (the toddler had never seen the house clean). In most of the episodes I watched, a psychologist was brought in to help the person learn to change behaviors. A team of professional cleaners were brought in to help clear out the homes in two days. The professional cleaners were very polite and did not force anyone to throw away anything they wanted to keep. This made it nearly impossible to make any progress since the people were clinging so hard to their stuff. One lady had a hard time deciding to throw away a plastic bag. The homes were so cluttered I was overwhelmed just watching. One lady’s back yard was filled with all kinds of “stuff” and it was in the middle of winter and everything was covered with snow and still she couldn’t bear to part with hardly anything. In another lady’s house the crew kept finding bags with with rotten, melted vegetables – sitting around the house. The professional cleaning guy had to actually step outside with the dry heaves when they got to the vegetable drawers in the fridge. Her downstairs refrigerator was so filled with food (much of it years past the expiration date) that she often used duct tape in an attempt to keep it closed. Two of the six homes were cleaned by show’s end. Those two homes were clean, but ugly and sad looking. Every show I watched it appeared that the people were obviously very poor.
Now on Clean House, Neci Nash is the only one “helping” the owners see the error of their way. Not one show (that I’ve watched) has ever portrayed a family about to be evicted, jailed or in danger of losing custody of their children. Everyone is encouraged, even badgered at times to get rid of their stuff. But often they are given wonderful things in exchange for getting rid of stuff. Say for example, if they get rid of the family heirloom, dead Grandma’s old piano, which doesn’t even work, they are rewarded with an entire bedroom set for the children’s bedroom. Most of the families portrayed on Clean House do not look poor, instead they seem to be shopaholics. There’s a big yard sale and the money made is matched with $1000 by the Clean House show. Then the family leaves the crew and their home and goes to a hotel for a couple days of rest and relaxation. They come back to a home that looks very different than what they left. In every show I’ve seen watched the homes are left looking like beautiful showpieces.
After watching Hoarders, Mr. A and I discussed whether we’re hoarders or not. We certainly have the tendency to hoard. We both come from poverty stricken childhoods and we’ve never had a lot of money. It’s hard to get rid of stuff when you do not have the money to replace it. Unfortunately, if you are not highly organized, you won’t know where to find that box of picture hangers when you want to hang a picture. And if you do have an extra couple of dollars to spare, you end up buying another box of picture hangers.
If I had the chance to be on one show or the other, I’d choose Clean House, hands down. At least for getting rid of my stuff I’d end up with a beautiful home.
To answer my own question, I think both shows are about hoarding. Hoarders has a very sad and depressing slant to it, and the producers seem to find people who are mentally off (which in my opinion is likely caused by gut dysbiosis which leads to mental problems like depression). Clean House has a different slant. I have seen some families that are poor, but none as destitute as the Hoarders families. Granted I’ve watched more Clean House than Hoarders, but one is like watching a game show and actually uplifting, while the other is like watching a horror flick and terribly depressing.
Have you watched both? What do you think?