Hoarding vs. Clean House - Are Both Shows About Hoarding?

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.

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.

Clean House

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?

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20 comments to Hoarding vs. Clean House – Are Both Shows About Hoarding?

  • I haven’t seen either show, but by your description it seems like Hoarders is definitely a darker version of Clean House. I know people who are hoarders, but are in no way in a position of losing their home. I can’t imagine people living to the point of losing their home and belongings. Hoarders sounds like a very sad show.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Little House, well, I personally think it has a lot to do with their health and most likely as a result of poor diet. Yes, it is sad and I don’t think I’ll watch it again.

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  • I’ve seen both and I’m with the guy that dry heaved on Hoarders.
    Clean House is awesome, it inspires me to keep clutter from building up in the first place. Hoarders is just too sad.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Diane, yes, Clean House is inspiring. I’m always amazed at how much money they get for their stuff!

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  • I haven’t seen either of these shows, but the hoarders one is definitely sad. Also reminds me of whenever you see on the news when some old lady with 30 cats and an apartment full of garbage finally gets evicted… it’s a psychological disorder for sure.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Invest It Wisely, the cat thing is a little more complicated in my opinion. But yes, a psychological disorder most likely stemming from poor diet and gut dysbiosis. And most doctors just want to pop more pills into us. The last time I saw my doctor he didn’t say a word to me about what I eat, he just wanted to give me anti-depressives. Sadly they don’t understand for they aren’t taught about nutrition in school. Thanks for your comment!

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  • I haven’t seen Clean House but I’d love to go through some of those Hoarders houses and throw stuff away!! ;)

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Mrs. Money, maybe that’s a new job for you out there. You could be one of those clean up counselors that come in on the show and help people get rid of their stuff. One of my coworkers says she knows a lady who does decluttering and she has sometimes been paid for weeks on end to come in and help declutter but the person just wanted to sit and talk about what to get rid of. But that would probably drive you nuts. lol. You’d be snatching stuff to throw away as you walked out the door. ;-)

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  • The woman who always has the flower in her hair, Niecy Nash, is hilarious. The cast really makes that show. They have a great spin on stuff. The hoarding show is more depressing to watch.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Kristen, Niecy’s great. Did you hear she’s leaving the show? I wonder why? I hope she’s just decided to move on to bigger and better things. She used to be on the fake cop show, too. She is funny. :-)

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  • Brandy

    Ive seen both and mainly on “clean house” i dont think theyre hoarders, but lazy. the reason i say that is because i have seen hem say hey just dont like cleaning, never get to it, are too busy or argue over who does what. the kids can be disrespectful and not help around the house. alot of times they expect to drop stuff and have the mom do all the cleaning. on “hoarders” they tend to be more true to the definition.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Brandy, one more reason for me to suspect they are sick. Many people are, and I believe strongly due to their poor diet. The “food” most people put into their bodies and expect them to just go and go and go. You’re right though. Hoarders do tend to have what you would consider to be a “hoarder”. The ones I watched, the people seemed depressed and tired. That can be hypothyroid and adrenal fatigue, gut dysbiosis and all these things can lead to mental exhaustion and fatigue. Like I said in an earlier comment, I don’t think I’ll put myself through watching any more of the Hoarder shows.

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  • I loved this post- I watched Hoarders the other night and thought the same thing!! I don’t like watching hoarders- because it really is depressing. It is so hard for them to throw anything away- even trash (even BEYOND trash!!). But the only way they get on the show is if they are being threatened in some way- Clean House people are nominated and it is a more positive environment. Though I have seen some MESSIEST Houses in the country Clean Houses that are just as bad as the Hoarder houses.
    On Hoarders I haven’t seen a house get cleaned because the couple I have seen the owners won’t make any decisions about throwing stuff away!!

    Brian just looked at me. And it does seem like (with a third of the space) that I am a hoarder!! But it really is because we are trying to stuff the same amount of stuff in a lot tinier space- OF COURSE it isn’t going to fit. We are STILL purging!!

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Journey To Our Home, I guess that is one good thing that Hoarders is good for. I can say, “At least I’m not as bad as the people on the Hoarders show.” :-) I did see one apartment get cleaned up but of course the carpet was stained and gross looking. It was a very small apartment, a studio. They could have at least rented a Rug Doctor for the guy. Good luck with your purging! :-)

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  • Anne

    I’ve watched both shows, and yes, Hoarders is definitely more depressing. It just strikes me that Hoarders is more serious about helping people with clinical OCD issues; Clean House makes light of what, at least on the surface, seems like mere laziness. On the other hand, I find the Clean House “gang” offensive when they browbeat people to give up priceless family heirlooms (that bring dirt cheap prices at the garage sale) to give them enough money to buy what amount to cheap bedroom sets that will probably last five years tops. If you know furniture, this show is as disturbing in its own way as the first.

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  • Roze_13

    I disagree that the families on Hoarders are all suffering from gut dysbiosis. You have mentioned it in almost every one of your replies to commenters. Why do you thing that EVERY person has it? While diet and proper nutrition can affect your mood and most certainly your physical health, the OCD behind compulisive hoarders is a combination of a chemical imbalance and cognitive issues that cause people to hold on to things. Some of the people on the show are compulsive shoppers as well as hoarders. They literally are trying to fill a void with belongings. The way Hoarders approaches the problem is much more helpful. They attempt to help people deal with the underlying issues and provide funds for aftercare. This Clean House show is not equipped to help people with that serious of a problem. People with severe hoarding/OCD need someone who is trained to help them. Not just comedians who decided they wanted to help clear clutter. The homes they clean are probably trashed again in a few months, because things are not resolved. For moderately cluttered/lazy homes, Clean House is great, but they shouldn’t tangle with people who are hoarders.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Roze_13, are you familiar with gut dysbiosis? If not, then you can’t understand what I’m talking about. I have studied the theory very carefully and I would be willing to bet money that every single one of those poor people have digestive woes of some kind. At the very least, I would bet they eat food that has little nutrients. That’s enough to make a person bonkers. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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  • D Walker

    I am a hoarder, level 1. I have seen both shows.

    I don’t think I’ve seen an episode of Clean House with an actual hoarder. However, I recall being very upset as guest after guest was manipulated into getting rid of things they clearly wanted. These people weren’t hoarding, and they had plenty of room. They just needed help with organization and getting rid of things they didn’t need.

    On that program, they just enjoy redecorating people’s homes. They aren’t all that concerned with how the people who live in those homes feel, so long as it makes for good television.

    The program Hoarders is only concerned with good television, I doubt seriously they have helped a single person. They only exploit people in very sad situations, and they are always level 5 hoarders, which is the highest level. That show is an abomination.

    The information about gut dysbiosis has been documented in many scientific and medical journals. No doubt there is a link between it and many psychiatric and other diseases and disorders. There is also probably a link between gut dysbiosis and poverty.

    However, hoarding is not just a form of OCD, nor a problem of the poor. There can also be external environmental factors. For example, children of hoarders tend to also be hoarders. It is thought to be learned behavior, not genetics.

    It can also be brought on by various forms of loss – a kind of variant of PTSD, as it was in my case.

    Something very unusual for me, I am also a bit of a germaphobe. Making hoarding a particularly stressful disorder.

    I can’t stand either Hoarders or Clean House. I think they are both damaging and insulting to people with mental illness, and extremely demeaning and disrespectful. I realize people cannot live that way. They need actual help, not to be put on display and ridiculed like some sort of side-show act.

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  • [...] Hoarding vs. Clean House – Are Both Shows About Hoarding? (Out of Debt Again) [...]

  • [...] watch it often and for many reasons. It is a sad show. I ran across Mrs. Accountabilities post Hoarding vs Clean House. She is so right when she asks the question Are both shows about [...]

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