How TV Shows About Hoarding Cleaned My Apartment


As I sit here writing this post, I am making my way through a PVR marathon. I don’t normally willingly watch reality television – it frustrates me that these shows get marketed as “real life” when they are often highly scripted. But you wouldn’t know that by looking at what I’ve spent my day doing.

My boyfriend and I are currently addicted to TLC’s Hoarding: Buried Alive, which is currently in its fifth season. We had previously watched all of A&E’s Hoarders, which ran from 2009 – 2013 before being cancelled. These shows may have changed my mind on reality TV.

On one hand, I find these shows very painful to watch, because these people are often mentally unwell and have often chosen to turn to hoarding because of some emotional experience (the shows typically bring each person’s story back to some kind of loss in their lives).

On the other hand, I have discovered a wonderful thing about these two shows: they make my boyfriend willing to clean our apartment.

Now, this is a MASSIVE thing. This is the man who would rather buy new socks than do the laundry. This is the man who, before we moved in together, would call me up while I was on my way to visit him to tell me to take as much time as I could because he hadn’t done any dishes since the last time I had visited him a couple weeks before. This is the same man whose idea of cleaning the shower used to be mopping the shower walls with floor cleaner (though I really pretended not to know that he did this).

This man also likes to “collect” electronics.

The first time we watched an episode of Hoarders, he was motivated to dismantle and dispose of a computer tower that wouldn’t turn on – it had been taking up space in our storage closet since we moved in together. The next time, he decided to go through our containers and drawers of cables that we didn’t know what they belonged to. Every time we watch an episode, something else in our apartment gets thrown out, recycled or given away.

So I think I’ve figured it out. Every weekend, before we start cleaning up the apartment, I think I’m going to put on an episode or two of either Hoarders or Hoarding: Buried Alive. By the time the episode is over, we’ll actually want to clean the apartment.

Now, can anyone recommend a good reality show that will convince us to get off our butts and lose the Christmas weight we’ve managed to put on?

Image taken by Kate Ter Haar


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