The reality TV series Hoarders spent six seasons documenting the stories of people with compulsive hoarding disorder and their struggle to let go of the stuff that’s taking over their homes. The series ended in February 2013.
The show’s host, Matt Paxton, is coming to Barnes & Noble in Portage on Wednesday at 5 p.m. to promote his book The Secret Lives of Hoarders. He'll be answering questions and training commercial cleaners on how to help hoarders.
How Paxton Found His Calling
Paxton says he discovered hoarding through his grandmother. He had fallen on hard times and agreed to clean her house for a little extra money.
"I started cleaning her house and I realized it really wasn't her stuff that was keeping her house full, it was all the emotions attached to it," Paxton says.
After that experience, Paxton says he realized that he could really help people by cleaning their homes.
Dispelling Myths About Hoarders
Paxton says most people who have compulsive hoarding disorder understand that they have a problem, but they're simply too embarrassed to seek help. He says hoarders tend to be intelligent and optimistic.
"Think of the worst thing in your life. You and I are able to keep bad things secret," says Paxton. "A hoarder, they're not able to keep it secret because it's so visual."
Families Need To Understand Hoarding
Paxton says he wrote The Secret Lives of Hoarders to help hoarders and their families understand the disorder. He says hoarding is a mental illness, not a choice.
"Therapists have always told me: 'It's like asking a man that has dyslexia to read more to his kids.' Well he would if he could, but he can't." Paxton explains.
But Paxton says, as evidence by his book detailing the transformations of 12 homes, it can get better.
"It's a book of hope," says Paxton.