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Oprah and the Box Lady


Full Member
Did anyone watch Oprah's episode today called Inside the Lives of Hoarders? It was incredible and the whole time I watched I was thinking about the box lady that so many of us are curious about. Apparently, there are alot of people around the nation who hoard clothes, toys, and other miscellaneous items inside their homes, basements, attics, and garages. Actually, before watching Oprah I was feeling like a bit of a clutterbug with too many things piled up around the house. But once I saw the extreme, I began to feel kind of normal!


Senior Member

I didn't get a chance to watch part 2 today. I did see part one yesterday and I was SHOCKED at how much stuff that lady had in her house! Her poor husband! I am suprised he didn't get lost in that mess. It was so extreme. I couldn't believe it. I am sure that her house looked great in the end. I wish I could have seen the end result.


Senior Member
I saw it

I found it shocking too. Right after I got out of college I was going on vacation with a high school friend and we stopped at the house of one of her college friends to pick her up. I asked if I could use the bathroom and when I went in the house it was just like that. There were piles of stuff EVERYWHERE. There wasn't any surface in the house (except for the toilet) where you could sit down. Garbage and huge piles of newspapers were stacked everywhere. I had never seen anything like it. I feel much better about my clutter now.


Senior Member

I didn't see the show but have seen others. The experts say this type of living is actually a form of mental illness and individuals need help.


Senior Member
Maybe somebody should tip Oprah off about the Box Lady. If the Box Lady is an Oprah Fan, maybe she'll accept help, and we'll all finally find out, once and for all, what the heck she's doing with those boxes!

My husband is one of those hoarders, but I manage to (barely) maintain control of the main living spaces in our house. Our basement was pretty scary for a while, but I'm a big fan of Flylady, and we've been working on it a little at a time. I don't know that all of those people need psychological help, but I'm sure most of them could benefit from some kind of organizational skills help. Flylady, Oprah, whoever.

Happy Saturday!


Senior Member
I watched a few minutes of Thurs. show, and about half of Fridays show. I could not believe how much mold and other horrible things were under the piles of debris. I feel much better about the stack of scrapbooking stuff I have in the spare room, and the state of my desk here at home!


Senior Member
My step mother is a hoarder! When she and my dad moved from Texas to Arkansas he encouraged her to pack only her 20 of her favorite pairs of shoes (she had close to 200 pairs) into one box and had her pack two weeks of clothes into another and mark them "favorites" explaining to her when they got there, these would stand out from the other boxes and then she would know which to open first. When the movers came he had her grandma call to say she needed my step mother badly, and would she come over? She went. Then my dad instructed the movers to load the truck with all the furniature and just those two boxes of her stuff and a few boxes of his clothes and a box or two that had family momentos. He had the movers stay as a truck from the sanitation department came and he tipped those guys to load everything else into the dump truck. All of that mess was hauled to a landfill!
When they got there Stepmom was ticked off but happy to get to go buy all new kitchen supplies and linens.
Now, my dad keeps his new house in shape by bagging up stuff and hauling it to the dump, goodwill or recycling center everytime my stepmom goes to the grocery.

I too would like to know more about the Box Lady we wonder about her at Proteacher! I think the Oprah idea is a good one!:)


Senior Member
I never would have believed anybody who told me about this house on Oprah if I had not seen it for myself! It was madness....how can you live like that!?! The before and after pictures were just amazing.

I, too, thought of the Box Lady when watching the show. <!--leaves_fall-->


Senior Member
I watched

the Friday show at school after the students went home, and it was a great motivator to clean up the clutter in my classroom.


Senior Member
We have one of those

There is a lady that has 3 kids in our school who is so afraid of throwing something important out that she keeps everything. The outside of their house is a big mess with tons of junk piled up everywhere. Her kids constantly have lice and when she comes to pick them up she refuses to get out of the van and after her kids get in she asks for you to walk around the van to make sure nothing fell out. She'll have you running circles around the thing if you don't just walk away. She has bad OCD amoungst other things.


Senior Member

The experts say this type of living is actually a form of mental illness and individuals need help.

That's what I've heard also and I think if those people on the show don't get help, the houses will be right back to where they were before in a few months.


Senior Member
It was fascinating!

I thought of the box lady, too! For those who don't know, the box lady is a person who lives down the street from one of our posters. There are boxes and boxes of mail ordered QVC type stuff piled up and unopened on her porch...

My husband and I have an 11 room huge old house and deal with clutter. We are in the process of turning part of our upstairs into an apartment and the Oprah show was the incentive I needed to kick butt! Woooohooooo! Out with a bunch of teacher junk!

I am not a real clutterbug but I am trying to get a better grip on managing my stuff amid our constant home restoration projects. I just feel better when things are organized.

Somewhere I've picked up the saying, "Do I need this?" If the answer is no, I throw it away or pack it to Goodwill. The next question is "Do I want this?" Sometimes, the answer is yes and I ask a 3rd question, "How does it enrich my life?" And many times, I have held a plastic doodad (Like a gift from a student) in my hand and thought, "NO! It just is keeping me from doing great things and having a calm, happy house." A wise older teacher once said, "You don't have to keep the trinkets students give you. Once it has been given - making you and your student happy - it has already fulfilled its purpose."


Senior Member
After watching Oprah's show

I thought about the box lady too!!! I wonder if the box lady's house is totally full, just like the one on Oprah & that's why she's flowing over onto her porch? Who knows, the front yard might be next! LOL



I bet my story can top most. I did not see the Oprah show and I'm sure I would have been surprised, but not shocked. Several years ago we received a call that MIL had been taken from house and put in mental hospital for evaluation. Guys in protective suits were in her house and had condemned it. DH and I arranged for kids to be cared for and ran up there. Luckily DH had friends in neighborhood from growing up that were in FL for winter, so we were able to stay at there house and not incur that expense. Anyway the first night we got there it was very dark and I waited in car while DH went into house to see what we had to do. Well..... he could barely push door open enough to get in. Stuff was piled about 18 inches high throughout house. It was heart wrenching for me to see my DH go through this. MIL was released from crazy hospital after evaluation and when DH talked with dr. he said that there was nothing wrong and he could not commit her!! HELLO! It is not normal to live like that and something was clearly wrong. We had seen it coming, but did not know it had gotten to this point. We stopped going there after kids were born as house always smelled of cat urine and I would not subject my kids to that environment, so when we saw her she came to our home. She moved in with us, and while we were freezing our butts off cleaning out the house she sat all cozy and warm in my house! It got real ugly at times, but I was totally supportive until I found out that she was not looking for a job or a place to live and planned to stay with us. DH as in denial about this part and when he finally saw through her manipulation he booted her out. Of course the house was now empty and cleaned out, had heat, had electricity and running water. All she had to do was paint the colors she wanted and order a few appliances. It was too much for her and she walked away from the house and moved out of state.

Yes, this is an illness and we tried to get her help many times, but you have to want to be helped as with any addiction or mental disorder. The human compassionate side of me wanted to fix the situation, but he mother side of me needed to keep my family safe first.