Hoarders Part 2

Tom Brezsny
- Tom Brezsny

Hoarders Part 2

Continuing the conversation… talking about people and stuff and what to do with it all. And wondering out loud, whether it’s any coincidence that at this moment in history, when such a huge swathe of aging baby boomers is turning 65, we’re up to our ears in Reality TV shows intent on exploring  every nook and cranny of those  jam-packed garages, basements, attics, junk drawers and closets we all have.

First there’s the mega-hoarder niche of “stuff shows” ranging from The Hoarder Next Door to Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder to Level 4 Hoarder to Hoarder Basement to Extreme Worst Hoarding. There’s also a Spanish-language version called Accumladores.  (Somehow accumulating sounds better than hoarding!  Maybe if I call myself an accumulator I’ll feel better about my stuff!)

Then there’s the sub-genre of “stuff shows” that employ the tantalizing premise that hoarders often use to fool themselves – there might be some real treasures hidden beneath those piles of junk. Think:  My Strange Addiction, Pawn Stars, Auction Hunters, Storage Wars Texas, Storage Wars New York, Storage Wars Canada! (That’s a lot of wars! Can’t we all  agree that there’s more than enough “stuff” to go around in those millions of storage units across the country?)

Then there are the “stuff shows” that try to organize all the stuff: Space Invaders, The Minimalists, Conquer the Clutter. Hack my life, Get Organized with the Home Edit. The OCD project.  And of course the  “stuff shows” that make Herculean efforts to clean up after itl:  Clean House, Clean Sweep. Extreme Cleaners. Dirty Rotten  Cleaners, Big House Clean Out, Hot Mess House, A Life of Grime. 

And then there are the occasional talk shows that analyze our relationships to “stuff”.  Dr Phil, Oprah and Dr. Drew (among others) have all taken a crack at stuff but we might need more of these kinds of shows because frankly, I’m not sure that Marie Kondo and the Magic of Tidying Up can really survive a steel cage match with any of those sad folks depicted on Hoarders: Buried Alive.

So here we are stuffed to the gills with shows about stuff. Swimming in them with apparently no end in sight. How many tragic stories can we possibly consume?  What is it that we see when we stare at the TV screen?  Why can’ we look away? Nietsche said:  If you gaze into the abyss, the abyss also gazes back into you.”  What is looking back at us when we stare into the bottomless pit of all those homes overflowing with stuff?

More stuff next week…

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