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The Secret Lives of Hoarders: True Stories of Tackling Extreme Clutter Paperback – May 3, 2011
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About 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Matt Paxton, founder of Clutter Cleaner and star of the A & E Reality Show Hoarders, has written a book about some of his experiences working with hoarders.
"The Secret Lives of Hoarders: True Stories of Tackling Extreme Clutter" is a first-hand account of how Mr. Paxton and his team help hoarders deal with the "stuff" in their lives. He does not dwell on the details of the clutter. He explores the causes of hoarding and the solutions to overcoming this problem. Mr. Paxton explains that hoarding isn't a character flaw. It's not laziness or forgetfulness. It's a mental disorder. The author works with therapists and psychologists to gain knowledge about this disorder. Mr. Paxton explains the five stages of hoarding and has identified the following kinds of hoarding;
The Animal Rescuer
The Information Junkie
The Food Saver
The Clothes Hoarder
The Memory Keeper
The Trash Master Compactor (Bags of trash that never get taken out to the curb or recycle items that never get recycled.)
The author explains exactly how he and his team approach a hoarder, work with the hoarder and his family, actually clean out a house and the process of staying clean. There is an excellent "Resources" section at the end of the book. The author lists organizations, top treatment centers, support groups and additional books to read.
I Found This Book Informative, Fascinating and Hopeful BECAUSE....
it gives a well-researched, comprehensive overview of a growing problem that society tends to sweep under the rug. I was very impressed with the sensitivity that the author displayed in dealing with this complex issue.
After reading this book, I am much better prepared to deal with my own hoarding tendencies and hopefully be a help to others who are dealing with this problem. The real-life examples that the author presented demonstrated that this is a problem that touches all ages and socio-economic groups. The follow-up reports on people that the author has worked with shows that not all stories have happy endings. Sometimes the hoarders go through the clean-up process but are not mentally ready to stop hoarding. Mr. Paxton is very realistic and honest about what has to happen before real change can take place.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who might be struggling with this issue in their own life or dealing with the hoarding of a loved one.
I expected this book to be rich in anecdotes about hoarding, and was not disappointed. What surprised me, was the depth of knowledge of the mental, emotional and even physical conditions that lead a person to hoarding behavior, the levels and types of hoarding, and especially the most effective ways to organize a recovery effort. While careful not to present himself as a psychologist or similar counselor, Matt nevertheless displays a firm grasp of essentials that goes far beyond the actual logistics of physically cleaning and clearing out a hoarded home. He makes a strong case that a team is needed, that includes the hoarder, family members, the hands-on cleaning team, and others who may include social workers, counselors, clergy, friends and even building inspectors, depending on the circumstances.
All that I've seen, heard, and read about hoarders, has left me feeling that it's all hopeless. Somehow, although he cites cases of backsliding, failures and other bad news, Matt's book has left me with a little hope. He's a man of empathy and common sense, who rebuilt his own life after hitting bottom from compulsive gambling.
Until now, I would have recommended a book such as Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things to someone who wants to understand hoarding. Now I would place Matt's book at the top of that reading list instead.