1 in 200 Brits is a hoarder: someone who can’t stop collecting things – but can’t bear to throw them out. Hoarding is a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. But it’s a condition filled with shame and guilt. In fact, hoarders are so secretive that
even their closest friends might not know the truth….
This is a film about the extraordinary world of the compulsive hoarder… What happens when the obsession takes over…? When the hoarding ruins their life…? And worst of all, when the hoard tears their family apart?
In Extraordinary Hoarders we take a closer look at characters that suffer from a hoarding compulsion which compels people to keep large amounts of items that to the outside world are considered worthless and useless – but to them are hugely valuable.
Dagenham-based 48-year old William is the first man in Britain to receive an ASBO for hoarding. For him, hoarding is a full-time occupation – and he’s inspired by his childhood heroes, the Wombles, who used to collect rubbish on Wimbledon Common. He believes that Uncle Bulgaria, the Chief Womble, tells him to collect. But William doesn’t just collect any old rubbish – he collects his neighbours’ rubbish. And every night, under the cover of darkness, he heads out on a stealth mission to forage for goods… But armed with the ASBO, his local council are keeping a close eye on him, and William will face an enforced clearout.
When the environmental health team arrive, they discover a different side to William… lurking under the piles of rubbish lies 30 pots of William’s own faeces and urine. It turns out that William was mentally abused by his parents… and this is his revenge. Isolated and friendless, for William, hoarding will always be a way of life
65-year old Roy is retired accountant who lives in a typical English village. He’s been married to 60-year old Karen, a retired music-teacher, for the past 31 years. But they have a secret… Roy has hoarded all his life… and what’s more, he’s in denial. From his dead aunt’s incontinence pads to broken toasters, he won’t throw anything out. Growing up as a war baby, he was brought up to never throw anything out. And he has taken it literally. But Karen is determined to make him see reason and enlists their daughter, the local GP and her vicar to help her out. They want Roy to confront his problems, and after an ‘intervention’, more commonly used for alcoholics and drug addicts, the penny drops. But it’s too late to mend their marriage, which has been broken by 31 years of compulsive hoarding…
Hoarding affects 1/3 of people with OCD – which means that 300 000 of us have hoarding tendencies. In Britain, it’s a secretive condition… and most remain hidden away in their own homes. But in the States, it’s a different story…
78-year old Lloyd became a celebrity hoarder when his collection of over 5000 bikes and bike parts was uncovered in Los Angeles. He faced prison for refusing to part with them… but at the last minute, his story took an unexpected twist. Dorothy Breininger, a professional organiser, decided to take on his case and raised $50 000 to clear Lloyd out. 3 years on, although Lloyd still has over 400 bike parts in his house, he has now remarried and no longer hoards compulsively, thanks to a support network.
Finally, we meet 60-year old New Yorker Maureen, who believes that things have emotions, just like people. For her, the idea of throwing something out is akin to being held at gun-point. But after 8 years of medication and 13 different therapists, she’s realised that things have to change. For the first time in 17 years, she decides to let her cousin in to her apartment to face up to her hoarding…. It’s a big step, and one which helps Maureen move forward… though it will be years before she can throw anything out.