With more people at home, the hoarders became even more relevant. The Emmy-nominated and Critics Choice Award-winning series shows experts stepping in to help people on the brink of crisis who are battling this compulsive disorder. Professional organizer Dorothy Breininger has delved into her share of residential inventory over the show’s 12 seasons, with No.13 on the way. Here this five feet of organizational fury arrives from Belize to talk about the hoarders‘longevity and busy two-hour episodes ahead.

How do you think COVID impacted hoarding?

Everyone was ready to face their business because they simply had nothing else to do. For some reason, the stigma around hoarding has diminished. The show was still going on and people were using it as a tool to help them declutter. I think it has become even more popular over the past year or so. We had more hoarders come forward and people willing to allow us to film their stories.

What are the stories that have marked you this season?

Paul’s Story aired November 1. This guy is an interior designer from New York. It’s really interesting to see his flair. He’s used to painting and all this experience of beauty and aesthetics. His paintings were so amazing. We did something special for him to show him that we care for him and to try to help him with his paintings because he thought they were very valuable. The other [standout] spectacle [is the November 29 one about] Peggy. This particular accumulator was a super clean accumulator, but it had over 7,000 bins, boxes and bags that were already packed. We had to unpack our luggage to be able to decide what was piled up and what was not.


Why has the series lasted so long and how has it changed?

Keke Palmer has a

I did the pilot and have been there for over a decade. The biggest difference I see is that people now understand the difference between hoarding and collecting and having fundamentally too much clutter. They see it for themselves. There seems to be a real understanding and concern for mental well-being. At first, lawyers, conservatives, judges in our legal system asked me to come and talk to them and teach them hoarding. People were fined and put in jail for their hoarding. If they didn’t clean it within 48 hours, they would go to jail. It’s no longer the case now. Our legal system is starting to understand that we cannot sideline people for raising money. We have to take care of mental well-being.

As the holiday season approaches and the online shopping boom approaches, what advice would you give people to keep them from falling into bad habits?

No matter what we say, people are going to be shopping. People will buy and return stuff. Let’s at least try to deal with what’s going on there. I encouraged people to have an Amazon space or an online shipping and receiving space. Be organized if you are going to be shopping and returning online.

For me, I like to give experiences rather than tips. I like to make a scroll and write a list like “This is what I like about Scott”. Then I wind it up and put a bow on it. I get up and read how awesome Scott is. It affects everyone. This is the gift. It sounds a little strange, but to be recognized publicly is really good.

What did you learn about yourself from helping all of these people?

I like this question the most because this is where I saw the biggest change. I would say it’s really in me. I used to be, ‘Let’s clean it up and make it happen for them no matter what. Now it’s, “Anyway, let’s get to know these people. Understand what motivates them. Understand what motivates them. I connected more deeply. I am more open. I have always been cuddly with these people. I am now more attracted to who they are. It made the difference. It doesn’t make a difference with their business but with who they are, so it has a bigger impact on their family.

Accumulators, Season 13 premiere, Monday October 18, 8 / 7c, A&E


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