Mar 28

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No, You Are Not A Book Hoarder

A Manhattan park, named for the famous hoarding Collyer brothers. No, You Are Not A Book Hoarder-

Making light of hoarding — or any mental illness — is disrespectful.- Published on March 28, 2011  By Jessie Sholl-

I was already doing research for a story I hoped to write about book hoarding and now seem to have missed the boat, but that’s not the only reason I’m irritated by this National Post essay, Confessions of a Book Hoarder. Sure, it’s meant to be funny — hoarding, that’s hi-lar-i-ous!! — but I find it flippant and smirky.

Just because you have a lot of books, that doesn’t mean you’re a bibliomaniac. Can you walk through the room in which your books are stored? Have you depleted any of your life savings on these books? Do you hide when the doorbell rings or not allow a plumber into your home when your sink is clogged?

Since my memoir came out, numerous people have confessed to me that they think they’re hoarders, too (almost as many as have said, “Make sure your mom only gets one copy!”).

Read the rest of this article on Psychology Today.



Jessie Sholl

is the author of Dirty Secret: A Daughter Comes Clean About Her Mother’s Compulsive Hoarding. She is coeditor of the nonfiction anthology Travelers’ Tales Prague and the Czech Republic and a contributor to EverydayHealth.com and Experience Life magazine.

As always, I welcome comments. You can also read my blog at www.jessie-sholl.com or follow me on Twitter: jessie_sholl.

Permanent link to this article: http://childrenofhoarders.com/wordpress/?p=1701

  • Jessie, I think a satire piece — like the Onion article — actually helps call attention to the problem as a real problem. Kind of like the movie, “A Day Without A Mexican.” Instead of diminishing the complex and ironic dance of illegal immigrants and our economic dependence on their presence, humor was used to call attention to it as a real issue.

    But I, too, go off the rails when someone says something like, “oh, I’m such a hoarder! I have a whole pile of magazines next to my bed! And you should see inside my closet!!!” And I always fire back, no, you can GET INTO your closet. YOU can GET TO your bed. Other people, as children, had to endure their hoarding parents’ boxes full of crap invading their childhood bedrooms, having to climb over boxes and piles of bags, just to find their bed — or maybe they didn’t know where their own bed was and they had to sleep on a space they cleared off on the couch. YOU ARE NOT A HOARDER! You just need to have a garage sale. Or maybe you’re a just a slob, but you’re NOT a hoarder, so shut up already, will ya?”

    And you know what? Thanks to the TV shows and thanks to your book and the COH website, I no longer just let it slide when somebody thinks that’s funny. I get up on my hindlegs and spoil their “joke.” Thanks, Jessie. You are giving a lot of COH’s the chutzpah to find their voice.

  • Jessie Sholl

    Aw, thanks Dez!! I appreciate you saying that about the chutzpah, but really I wouldn’t have had the chutzpah to write the book in the first place without Donna and everyone else on the Children of Hoarders boards. They deserve all the credit. I’m just glad we’re getting out there!

    And by the way, I think you owe me a photo of your corn snake!!


  • Dezcrawford

    I will send you a photo as son as I get a chance. This is a very elderly snake. 🙂

  • LE

    meh, helps to have a sense of humor.  I know, it sucks.  they don’t mean nuttin’ by it though.

    I guess I’m at a part of my life where, I’ve been angry for so long, I’m not able to be angry anymore, you know?

    And, btw, I feel like that is good for others to know.  you’ll reach a point where you make your peace with it, and you accept your parents for what they are, though they are flawed in a serious way.

    My mom did a shitty job, don’t get me wrong.  But now that I’m hitting 30, I realize she did the best she could.  not fantastic, but hey, she wasn’t actively beating me or, in south park parlance, molestering me.