Hoarding: Buried Alive

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Hoarding: Buried Alive
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes75
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time45–48 minutes
Production company(s)Discovery Studios
Original channelTLC
Picture formatNTSC (480i)
HDTV (1080i)
Audio formatStereo
Original runMarch 14, 2010 (2010-03-14) – Present
External links
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This article is about the television program shown on the TLC. For the human behavior associated with this program, see Compulsive hoarding.
Hoarding: Buried Alive
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes75
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time45–48 minutes
Production company(s)Discovery Studios
Original channelTLC
Picture formatNTSC (480i)
HDTV (1080i)
Audio formatStereo
Original runMarch 14, 2010 (2010-03-14) – Present
External links

Hoarding: Buried Alive is an American documentary television series that premiered on TLC on March 14, 2010. The show follows hoarders through their life experiences and helps them learn to manage their illness.


Hoarding: Buried Alive takes the viewer into the personal lives of hoarders, focusing on how the mental illness has affected the individual and the family members. Each episode usually looks at two different cases and examines the history of the victim and takes time to interview family members.[1] The show includes an extensive look at the items each person collects.[2] Each hoarder receives treatment provided by both a therapist and a professional organizer.[1] These professionals help them through the process of ridding their house of the hoard. By the end of the episodes, the hoarders typically have shown signs of improvement that make the viewer hopeful for their continuing success.[2]


Season 1[edit]

Episode #TitleAirdate
1Welcome to My NightmareMarch 14, 2010
SummaryExtreme hoarders Chris, of Fairfax County, Virginia, and Laurie, of Franklinton, Louisiana, are spiraling out of control. Their possessions are destroying their relationships and transforming their homes into virtual prisons. Change won't be easy, but it's their only hope of reclaiming their lives.
2Beyond EmbarrassmentMarch 21, 2010
SummaryA 51-year-old Canada man plans to abandon his hoard only to move back with his mother, a fellow hoarder. A woman's hoard is so severe that she runs the risk of having her house condemned.
3Paralyzed by ClutterMarch 28, 2010
SummaryExtreme Omaha, Nebraska hoarder Mary Thompson is in denial while Anne Thomas, of New York City fears she's passing down her compulsion to son Brendan. For decades they've had trouble discarding their belongings but will they finally gain clarity and get the help they so desperately need?
4Life on FireApril 4, 2010
SummaryWanda, of Radford, Virginia, and Ray, of Monterey, California are extreme hoarders destined to lose their homes and live in isolation if they don't stop surrounding themselves with stuff. Making the change will be emotional and filled with anguish but they know that time is running out.
5Family SecretsApril 11, 2010
SummaryTwo women who struggle with compulsive hoarding must get a handle on the piles of possessions that plague them. They have no choice but to ask for help - or they risk losing everything that matters to them and their families.
6Filling the VoidApril 18, 2010
SummaryIn Portland, Oregon, Charlotte and Shelley's hoarding is both a comfort and a curse. If these two women can't find the strength to change, they risk being condemned to a lonely life where possessions replace people.
7No One Would Choose ThisApril 25, 2010
SummaryTwo women must get their compulsive hoarding under control or face eviction and further alienation from their families. One lives amid personal treasures, the other amid a mountain of trash.
8Everything Is at StakeMay 2, 2010
SummaryFor compulsive hoarders Cheryl, of Beverly Hills, California, and Michelle, of Southern Virginia their possessions are crowding out the people they love most. If they don't change their behavior soon, they may find themselves living alone, buried by their belongings.
9A Million ExcusesMay 9, 2010
SummaryA family of four from Big Sur, California is on the brink of collapse under the weight of a mother and father's incessant hoarding. And in Rogers, Arkansas, Mike Pyron is in denial that his addiction to auctions and garage sales has crossed the line into a full-blown compulsion.

Season 2[edit]

Season 2 was split into two equal parts, with part one airing from August 8, 2010–October 3, 2010, and part two from March 2, 2011–April 20, 2011.[3][4]

Episode #TitleAirdate
10Homeless Man With a HouseAugust 8, 2010
SummaryBennie, of San Francisco, and Ronda, of Austin, Texas, both have houses full of stuff and lives filled with emptiness. Decades of compulsive hoarding has driven loved ones away. If they don't get help soon, their hopes for happiness may remain buried amid their possessions.
11Robbing the Kids...August 15, 2010
SummaryWhen Child Protection Services removes Karen's children from her home, she is given just 48 hours to clean up or risks losing custody of her kids permanently.
12Prison of GarbageAugust 22, 2010
SummaryDeborah and Mary both started hoarding in the wake of a personal tragedy. Ever since Deborah killed her drug-addicted boyfriend in self-defense, she and her son have lived amid growing piles of trash and unused possessions in their rural West Virginia farmhouse. And Mary bought her Yulee, Florida home when it was brand new. But that was five years ago, and now, the house is so packed and filthy that it has become infested with Stinkbugs and is now home to a new hoarder; her 7-year-old daughter.
13Everything's JunkAugust 29, 2010
SummaryFor one Ohio woman, the trigger was the trauma she suffered on 9/11. For one Los Angeles man, it was the lasting effects of a brain hemorrhage. Compulsive hoarding has pushed them to a critical point in their lives. Now they must clean up, or risk losing it all.
14Battle with ChaosSeptember 5, 2010
SummaryDebbie, of Baltimore, Maryland knows that OCD drives her hoarding. And in Winthrop Harbor, Illinois Jeff doesn't believe he's a hoarder at all, but his kids think otherwise, due to his packed beachfront home.
15How Do I Get Out of ThisSeptember 12, 2010
SummaryLinda's hoarding escalated as her marriage began deteriorating several years ago. Now, her entire family is on the brink of collapse. Norski has overcome addictions to drugs and alcohol but kicking the hoarding habit may prove even harder.
16The Scariest Place on EarthSeptember 19, 2010
SummaryIf compulsive hoarder Michael can't clean his Connecticut home in six weeks, he will go to jail. Meanwhile a motivational speaker in Boston manages everyone's lives - except her own.
17The Mess I've CreatedSeptember 26, 2010
SummaryIn Columbus, Ohio Joyce's compulsive collecting almost cost her husband his life, while Norine's hoarding forced her teenage daughter out of the house and now threatens to destroy what's left of their relationship.
18This is Where You Sleep??October 3, 2010
SummaryOutside Seattle, Washington, Debbie turned to hoarding after a shocking confession ended her marriage. Meanwhile, with disease and illness plaguing her family, Julie fills her Winona, Minnesota home to ease the pain.
19Nowhere Near NormalMarch 2, 2011
SummaryExtreme Hoarder and former Chicago flight attendant Jahn struggles to clear her belongings from not one, but two houses in Willow Springs, Illinois before both are condemned.
20I Want to CussMarch 9, 2011
SummaryTerry and Bill seem to be the perfect couple, but after Terry began to fill their Trenton, New Jersey home, she has put their relationship in jeopardy. The tragic murder of her daughter drove Nancy to hoarding. Now, if she can't clear her Brighton, Michigan home, she may just lose her husband as well.
21Oh My GoshMarch 13, 2011
SummaryConditions inside Tammy's Racine, Wisconsin home have become so bad, that she's forced to eat her meals in the car and her sick father is unable to return home from the hospital. Meanwhile in Lancaster, Texas, Suzanna's OCD mixed with her obsessive need to hoard, she says stems from her cruel string of ex-husbands and her former drug problems. Now, she must clean her packed home, in exchange for a place where her grandchildren can see her.
22Better Get a DumpsterMarch 16, 2011
SummarySharon must clear her Louisa, Virginia home, of a hoard, largely obtained by theft. On a rural horse ranch in Willimantic, Connecticut, Len must choose between his hoard and his daughter.
23Overwhelming Pile of JunkMarch 23, 2011
SummaryAfter decades of hoarding, Debbie has not only lost the comforts of her Keokuk, Iowa home but the company of her four children as well. Chip's compulsive hoarding has forced his family of six to squeeze into 1600 square feet of living space.
24My Biggest EmbarrassmentMarch 30, 2011
SummaryWhile Patti's extreme hoarding has made it virtually impossible for her daughter to live with her in her Zzyzx, California home, Jonathan's obsession has kept his three-year-old son from even coming in the door of his ramshackle 1778 colonial home in Boston.
25It's Out of ControlApril 6, 2011
SummaryDecades of extreme hoarding have put Kay's marriage in serious jeopardy while Toni's compulsive shopping has made her Stockton, California own home a danger zone for her two-year-old granddaughter.
26Like a Dog in a CageApril 13, 2011
SummaryA Gaston, Oregon mother desperately tries to protect her children from their father, Jim's, hoard, while a Grand Prairie, Texas artist chooses frogs, penguins and banana peels over her live-in boyfriend.
27It's A Freaking War ZoneApril 20, 2011
SummaryThe tumbling piles of Maggie's Reddick, Illinois home are putting her own son's life at risk while Bob's all consuming passion for swimming pool parts has not only filled his Yuma, Arizona home, but is now pushing his family to the brink.

Season 3[edit]

Episode #TitleAirdate
28Surviving On TrashJuly 10, 2011
SummaryIn Merritt Island, Florida, Jerri, a wild and eccentric woman, is known as the local neat-freak. But her eye for treasures has gotten the best of her over the years, forcing her to abandon her once-beautiful home after filling it to the brim. Now, her pregnant daughter Traci wants to clear the trash and move into her childhood home. But its on the verge of being condemned, due to a toxic swimming pool, that's gone several years uncleaned.
29There Are Mice EverywhereJuly 17, 2011
SummaryCompulsive hoarder Kathleen of Beaux Arts Village, Washington discovers a hoard of mice living in her kitchen numbering in the thousands. And for extreme hoarder Jaime's future son-in-law, spending the night in a hoarded Portsmouth, New Hampshire home might very well end a marriage before it even begins.
30Not A Safe PlaceJuly 24, 2011
SummaryExtreme Hoarder Renee almost died when emergency workers responding to a 911 call in Encino, California were unable to get through her front door. With her home now declared unlivable by the authorities, Renee knows she needs to make a change.
31A Horrible SightJuly 31, 2011
SummaryRick desperately tries to salvage his cluttered Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada home that was nearly destroyed in a house fire. Just five years ago, Linda was homeless, and slept under a filthy San Ysidro, California overpass. If she can't get her house up to code in 60 days, they'll take it away and she'll be back on the streets.
32I Was Gonna GagAugust 14, 2011
SummaryFloyd grew up in a rural area, with an abusive father and a mother who looked the other way. His hoarding was triggered when his father had his childhood home and cattle ranch torn down, despite Floyd wanting to move back. The unsafe conditions in and around the Lava Hot Springs, Idaho trailer of the extreme hoarder have been brought to the attention of Child Protection Services. Now he must clear his hoard or risk losing his own three-year-old son, Charlie.
33Is That A Goat?August 21, 2011
SummaryRetired US Marine, Donny, has been to jail twice because of the massive hoard in his beachfront Snow Hill, Maryland home. With the county at his door, the clutter has put his freedom in jeopardy yet again. And while Joyce sees comfort in her doll collection, everyone else sees a creepy obsession that has overtaken her Stockton, California condo.
34Stop Touching My Stuff!August 28, 2011
SummaryIt takes most hoarders a years to fill a home with stuff. For 16-year-old, Haley, it can take less than a week to fill a bedroom in her Des Plaines, Illinois home. Her parents can only hope that a visit with an extreme hoarder who's lost it all will finally scare their daughter straight.
35Overtaken By PuppetsSeptember 11, 2011
SummaryOnce a professional ventriloquist, Donna's career has since turned into an obsession with hundreds of puppets in her Cutchogue, New York home and her life. For compulsive hoarder Harold, being a good father is difficult when your daughter isn't even allowed inside your Salt Lake City home.
36I Can't BreatheSeptember 18, 2011
SummaryLarina is a single mother of 4 girls living in Pasco, Washington. Everything in her life was going well, until her jealous ex-boyfriend raped her and slit her throat in her own front yard. She survived, scarred by the brutal attack, and turned to hoarding. But when confronted with the challenge to let go of her clutter, Larina's compulsion threatens to win the battle.

Season 4[edit]

Episode #TitleAirdate
37Tiny MonstersJanuary 1, 2012
SummarySherry's hoard has forced her husband out of the Yanceyville, North Carolina home they both loved. Now, authorities are threatening to take away her children and condemn her home. With only weeks to clean it up, Sherry could lose everything she loves.
38My House Can Kill MeJanuary 8, 2012
SummaryHsi Ming and Miranda are both mothers and extreme hoarders. Miranda's obsession has left her twin toddlers with no room to play amongst the hoard. Hsi-Ming's daughter is concerned for the health and safety of her mother.
39Owned by the RoachesJanuary 15, 2012
SummaryCelia, a Wauchula, Florida addiction psychologist, helps others daily, but can't solve her own hoarding problem. Now she's losing the battle against her stuff and the millions of roaches infesting her home.
40I'm DumbfoundedJanuary 22, 2012
SummaryAfter years of hoarding, Vickie and Jeff's marriage is at its breaking point. Beyond the stress of the clutter in their Idaho Springs, Colorado home, as well as on their relationship, Vickie reveals the secrets she's been keeping from him. Will there be any chance left of saving their marriage?
41It's Just SexJanuary 29, 2012
SummaryJanet and Herv have kept their hoarding a secret from everyone. But as they confront the clutter, shocking secrets concerning their relationship and sex lives are coming to light. Now, they are in a fight to save their Richmond, Virginia home - and their marriage.
42Worst I've Ever SeenFebruary 12, 2012
SummaryThe city of South Bend, Indiana is threatening to demolish Caryn's home and if the condition doesn't change, the consequences could be devastating. Theresa is putting her stuff before her children in their time of greatest need and could end up losing everything, including her Helen, Georgia home.
43A Bomb Went OffFebruary 19, 2012
SummaryPhyllis' neighbors are complaining about the trash bags piling up outside of her Hamilton, Ohio home, while the inside of her home is so packed that she can barely move around. Faye, who suffers from COPD, realizes her hoard is killing her. She bought her house in Cypress, Texas just 10 years ago, but its now home to piles of junk, rats - both dead and alive - spoiled food, and an alge-covered pool.
44UnbelievableMarch 4, 2012
SummaryBrad isn't sure why he hoards but he is certain that piles of clothing, expired foods, and other items have taken over his mobile home in Collinsville, Illinois. Meanwhile, Mary has been evicted and has just weeks to clean out decades of stuff or have her Towson, Maryland rowhouse condemned.
45Are You Serious?March 11, 2012
SummaryHoarding has not only destroyed Carol's relationship with her daughter, but her Warren, Michigan home as well. Now, she has one final chance to clean up, or say goodbye to her forever. Also, Amy's years of collecting have turned into a massive hoard. With her Alabama home nearly unlivable, she seeks help.
46Where Are They Now?March 11, 2012

Season 5[edit]

Episode #TitleAirdate
47This Is Garbage LandJuly 8, 2012
SummaryAn Elvis impersonator lives among piles piles of novelty items in his late mother's Hackensack, New Jersey home.
48As Bad As It GetsJuly 15, 2012
SummaryAfter over twenty years in the same Ohio apartment, compulsive hoarder Randy is being forced to leave by order of his landlord. With only days to accomplish the task, Randy must somehow clear out the eight-foot-high mountains of stuff.
49Sleeping in a DumpsterJuly 22, 2012
SummaryLaura's collecting has spiraled into a compulsion that has left her Rockland County, New York home in shambles and the relationships with her two sons on the brink of collapse. When a potentially devastating house fire ignites during her clean-up effort, it puts everyone's safety in jeopardy.
50This is UnrealJuly 29, 2012
SummaryMilton has always loved to shop. But after losing his mother, it became a compulsion that soon took over his life and his Belle Glade, Florida home. Louise has been diagnosed with cancer and the unhealthy living conditions of her Klamath Falls, Oregon home are only making the reality of the prognosis worse.
51Just Tear It DownAugust 5, 2012
SummaryLike most hoarders, Darlene and Doug's Fulton, Texas home is packed. But the hoard is just the beginning of their problems. A collapsing roof, mold, and an overflowing septic tank has caught the attention of city code enforcement, making eviction a real possibility.
52Twenty of EverythingAugust 12, 2012
SummaryAfter 30 years of hoarding, Gary's house is so full that he is forced to sleep outside on a makeshift bed. With the city of Colorado Springs, Colorado now threatening eviction, Gary must face the harsh reality: clean up or watch his home be condemned.
53Hoo, This Reeks!August 19, 2012
SummaryKathy grew up with a drunken and abusive father. Now, her extreme hoarding forced her 12-year-old son to move out of their Eau Claire, Wisconsin home. Five years later, their relationship is at a crossroad. Now Kathy must make a drastic change or risk losing her son forever.
54A Humongous SecretAugust 26, 2012
SummaryWhen Dennis, of North Carolina quit drinking, a new compulsion took over: hoarding. Now, severe debt and clutter have him moments away from losing it all. Monte has accumulated a massive, couture-clothing hoard in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and destroyed a relationship with her son in the process.
55It's My JunkSeptember 2, 2012
SummaryWhen Eileen, of De Tour City, Michigan admits a dark secret to her family, the situation quickly escalates beyond hoarding to a matter of life and death. Compulsive hoarder Dale has packed not one, but five inner-city Detroit houses full of clutter.

Season 6[edit]

Episode #TitleAirdate
56You're Not Taking My KidsFebruary 13, 2013
SummaryKaren, a single mom, has already had her children taken away for hoarding. Now, authorities say that if she doesn't clean up the mess, she'll never see her kids again. Plus she risks losing her 5 acres of wooded land in Cape May County, New Jersey, as well as the mobile home in which she grew up in.
57Holding Mom HostageFebruary 20, 2013
SummaryWhen hot-tempered David moved back in with his 93-year-old mother, he quickly filled her home with clutter. Now, the dangerous living conditions, and David's short fuse, have his elderly mom cornered.
58This House Killed HerFebruary 27, 2013
SummaryAfter their mother's death, siblings Aimee, Cheryl and Jimmy are left to deal with a house filled with clutter. In a desperate search for answers and vital documents, they bring in the aid of a medium to help solve the mystery.
59She Wants It, She Takes ItMarch 6, 2013
60What a PigMarch 13, 2013
61They're CrawlingMarch 20, 2013
62One Is Good, Two Is BetterMarch 27, 2013
63She's Going to JailApril 3, 2013
64I'm a Rockstar, Baby!April 10, 2013
65Bennie & RhondaApril 11, 2013
66Losing Half MyselfApril 17, 2013
67Leading a Double LifeApril 24, 2013
68Somewhere in My PileMay 1, 2013
69Where Are They Now?May 8, 2013
70Waste Not, Want, NotMay 15, 2013

Season 7[edit]

Episode #TitleAirdate
71The Last Clear SpotOctober 30, 2013
72Full of RatsNovember 6, 2013
73You're Gonna Die in HereNovember 13, 2013
74My Teeth Are Lost in the PileNovember 27, 2013
75It's A Horror StoryDecember 4, 2013


Hoarding: Buried Alive is an example of a reality TV rehabilitation program, a category of show that has been extremely popular since 2000.[5] However, the ability of these shows to effectively treat people is often questioned. Some focus on the fact that these shows do get people into some rehabilitation program. It is obviously better than them continuing their addictive behaviors and receiving no professional guidance. However, the presence of the cameras can influence the way the patients act. They may exaggerate certain emotions or fail to share essential information for fear of it coming back to haunt them once the show is aired. These additions and omissions could greatly impair their ability to recover and move forward in the process.[6]

In addition to the information regarding the disease being provided in the show, many of these programs do provide some services to help people get in contact with organizations that can provide treatment or more information on the disease. This can help viewers get a better picture of the disorders depicted and aids towards combating the stigma that surrounds mental illness.[5]

Hoarding paints a picture of compulsive hoarders that makes viewers sympathize with them. It helps people understand that it is an illness. When these individuals enter a rehab program the quality of their lives and the lives of their families can improve drastically. It also provides a view of the disease that is not totally bent on feeding the human appetite for horror. Instead, it focuses more on giving an accurate look at the illness. It picks cases that are not overly extreme or graphic and doesn’t dwell completely on the disturbing things that the patient has collected. It focuses on conveying the ugly truth about the illness, focusing on the way it affects both the afflicted individual and their family.[2]

Hantavirus Exposure Scare[edit]

In September, 2012, a woman assisting with cleanup was hospitalized after contracting a respiratory illness during filming for the show in Houston, Texas. Initial tests indicated the woman had contracted Hantavirus. The home was quarantined, several others involved in the cleanup were tested for the disease, and books from the house originally donated to the local library were isolated and not distributed.[7][8] Further testing determined the illness was not Hantavirus.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hoarding: Buried Alive". Common Sense Media. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Hoarders vs. Hoarding: Buried Alive". UGO. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "Hoarding: Buried Alive Episodes on TLC". TV Guide. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "Hoarding: Buried Alive Season 2 episodes on Amazon.com". Amazon.com. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Kmiotek, Celeste. "Reality Television Tackles Mental Illness". The Ram. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "No title". Mercury News. Retrieved 17 May 2012. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Hantavirus fears force quarantine of Houston home". Fox News. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  8. ^ "Hantavirus suspicions force quarantine of Woodlands home". KRIV FOX 26. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "Montgomery County woman tests negative for hantavirus". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 

External links[edit]