A hoarder who started collecting things when his wife died 18 years ago takes action after a fellow sufferer admits she ‘can’t breathe’ while visiting his home.
Nigel, 64, has collected dizzying piles of junk, including seven sewing machines and yards of wool and fabric, and has a problem with flies in his garbage-strewn kitchen.
He appears on Channel 5’s Hoarders on Thursday, where he meets Janice, 65, from Liverpool, who started hoarding to deal with loneliness, and the couple discuss the condition of their homes.
Janice admits she was “scared” at the sight of Nigel’s apartment, and the visit motivated her to transform her own living space. “There was too much stuff and it smelled, and I couldn’t breathe,” she says.
Janice, 65, from Liverpool, appears on Channel 5’s Hoarders, which airs at 9pm on Thursday, where she reveals she started collecting things to help her deal with loneliness
During the program, Janice is motivated to change after meeting Nigel, 64, who started hoarding because he couldn’t come to terms with the death of his partner Syd in 2002.
Janice, who lives in a three-bedroom semi-detached house, explains that she had a habit of going to the shops more often out of boredom.
She says, “The hoarding started purely out of solitude. When you go out, you always talk to someone; the problem is, you always buy stuff, and then you bring it with you. ‘
Janice explains that she only recently realized she had a problem and revealed, “It wasn’t until I applied for a boiler that the lady said,” Oh no, we can’t do anything, you have to get rid of all these things. “
“Only then did I realize there is quite a bit of stuff here.”
Janice didn’t realize her hoarding had become a problem until after she was turned down for a cauldron
Janice, who lives in a three-bedroom semi-detached house, has mountains of junk that fill the rooms of her house
Meanwhile, Nigels began hoarding after losing his partner Syd in 2002, which left him living alone with his cat.
In 2011, Nigel had his house professionally cleaned by the Declutter Divas – but it wasn’t long before he fell back into old habits.
And the hoarder now owns mountains of junk, including seven sewing machines and yards of wool.
He says, “I’ve tried to explain to people who don’t have the hoarding condition, what things are like, how your emotions are going, but they don’t seem to understand.”
The 65-year-old says her hoarding habit helps her cope with loneliness and confesses that she hopes a visit to Nigel’s flat will help her overcome her problems.
Nigel, who stores countless feet of dust in his three-bedroom condo, laments the fact that people don’t understand why hoarders live the way they do
Nigel had tried to change his life and continue hoarding, but it had failed.
What is hoarding?
A hoarding condition is when someone acquires an inordinate number of items and stores them in a chaotic manner, usually resulting in uncontrollable amounts of junk. The items can have a small or no monetary value.
Hoarding is considered a significant problem if:
- the amount of clutter interferes with daily life – for example, the person cannot use their kitchen or bathroom and cannot access the rooms
- the mess causes significant distress or negatively impacts the person’s or their family’s quality of life – for example, they get upset when someone tries to clean up the mess and their relationship suffers.
He admits to being ashamed of the condition of his flat and says no one has visited him in years.
Janice says she hopes seeing Nigel’s flat will help her overcome her own problem, and admits, “I hope to get some tips on how she might not be able to do it again.”
Meanwhile, Nigel says he feels “worried” about someone visiting his home.
He confesses, “I hope that since she’s a hoarder herself, she’ll understand the situation better.
Unfortunately, Janice is totally surprised by the sight of Nigel’s flat and says to him, “I don’t know what to say honestly. Do you really need seven sewing machines? ‘
She asks her fellow hoarder, “Do you think people understand hamsters?”
But Nigel is pretty sure people don’t understand the condition, explaining, “Most people think you’re lazy or dirty, or that it doesn’t bother you. People just don’t get it. ‘
The pair then head into the kitchen, which is filled with flies and piles of dust and waste.
Janice says the visit scared her to realize just how badly the problem could get out of hand, explaining, “I’m a little worried I could have moved on had it not been for a broken boiler. ‘
In the meantime, the visit is a wake-up call for Nigel, as he explains: ‘It’s pretty good to talk to other hoarders, because you never get the chance to talk to other people.
Janice says she struggled to breathe during her visit to Nigel’s flat, while saying her trip was a wake-up call.
“It has to stop now and I have to get back to how I wanted it to.”
“It will make a tremendous difference in your life,” Janice encourages, adding, “You could invite people.”
The meeting gave both hoarders food for thought, with Nigel explaining, ‘It was fun talking to another hoarder and picking up their thoughts on my treasure and little suggestions on what might help.’
Nigel says he hasn’t had visitors in years because he was ashamed of how bad his hoarding had gotten
Meanwhile, the shock visit encourages Janice to do something about her own hoarding habit.
She says, “I was quite shocked that you could put so much into one small space.”
Shortly after her return from Nigel, Janice hires a team of experts to help her clean up her flat.
Hoarders airs Thursdays at 9pm on Channel 5