Hoarding TV Show

Why hoarders need to work on their emotional connection with clutter first

Steve Blears Pitch a TV Show Podcast - Season 2, Podcasts

hoarding tv show

Why hoarders need to work on their emotional connection with clutter first. Professional clutter coach Clare Baker wants to make a hoarding TV shows that permanently solves peoples problems with clutter. In this episode, TV producer Jo Woolf offers feedback on her pitch including a change to the title.

Hoarding TV Show - A Hoarders Journey 

Season 2: Episode 2

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Why hoarders need to work on their emotional connection with clutter first  - Transcript 

Welcome back to Pitch a TV Show. I'm Steve Blears, in this season.

Professional clutter coach Clare wants to make a show about hoarding.

It's called a Hoarder Journey.

If you've missed her pitch, head back to the previous episode.

It's about following a hoarder on their journey from cluttered to clutter-free without the need for people to come to their home to help them do it for them or have a blitz.

This time. Does her idea have what it takes to make a hit?

We want to know who this person is at the beginning of the journey before they meet Clare. What does Clare do with them?

I'll be rummaging through the idea with series and edit producer Joe Woolf.

What changes happen? What do they find out about themselves? And what is the expected end?

Going straight in the bin? The title a Hoarder Journey.

It sounds to me like it's Dickensian. Yes, it does. Definitely.

This idea Jo is coming from Clare Baker, the clutter coach.

I've seen a lot of decluttering cleaning and hoarding shows on TV. Is the room for another one?

I do think there are certain topics that people are constantly fascinated by and hoarding probably is one of those topics, so potentially there is room for more. But I think that it does have to have a new twist so that it's not the same as before.

I think especially it could be used in that eight o'clock prime time viewing, features slot. It has topics like diet, lifestyle, parenting.

It sort of crosses over between psychology and interior design. It's a sort of crossover topic. And I think that is a topic that people are interested in who like those sort of programmes, lifestyle type programmes.

So there is room, but it has to be different. Her idea of the difference for this was she's come up with a seven-step journey and the idea is that she will empower clutterholics to de-clutter themselves.

Is that enough for it to be different?

So she explained that there were four different perspectives, but what I didn't get what the seven stages were? I think that that we need more information on that. I'd say if I was the commission, I need more.

OK, let's hit pause on Joe for a moment. For an answer to that question about the seven-steps and add a little TV-style jeopardy, let's put 60 seconds on the clock for Clare, go.

The first step is we actually need to understand what's going on in our home. I made the analogy before of our home being like a conveyor belt, so we need to understand what's going on.

We do some exercises, then we move on and we actually start dealing with some physical clutter. So we start dealing with our digital clutter then we start dealing with our paperwork clutter.

Third step. We start to learn how to make decisions. There are psychological principles that we need to understand. And we need to reflect back on our lives and decisions we've made in the past to help us make decisions in the present.

Then we got stuck in on what I call Mount Everest step four which is the big and bulky backlog clutter. We carry on doing that for the rest of our journey and then step five is dealing with the sentimental cutter, which as we have seen in programmes, a lot of people struggle with the emotions tied up in the cutter.

Step six is about how to organise our home again. We're empowering people to decide how they want their homes to be organised on. Step seven is just making sure that those new habits are embedded so that we don't grow the cutter back again.

Now that's a lot of steps, it makes perfect sense is part of a course to help hoarders but in the TV world, that timeline may need condensing or have steps that happen off-camera. Jo, you're back in the room.

I like the fact that Claire Baker herself is a recovered clutterholic. That is a good twist, so whether somebody who's recovered can teach with a different perspective is quite interesting to see.

But as you know Steve, TV is such a visual medium on and what we always need to think about when we're making a TV show is how is this visual? It can't just be lots of different conversations between different people.

So what visually are we going to see? That makes it different?

One of the things that slightly alarmed me was that she said, this is not a fly on the wall show.

A house full of magazines that you've got to climb over, as a viewer, that's what you are dying to see.

Yes, it is a tricky one. It's a very similar difficulty that you get with the diet shows where the interesting bit is oh my gosh, they look this way now and then the after is really fascinating. And comparing the before and after of a person's body is really fascinating. But the middle bit isn't necessarily that visual or interesting, and you've got the same here where it's fascinating to see the state that a person has allowed their home to get into on. Then you want to see the transformation? Definitely, because that's a big visual bit. But the bulk of the programme, it's presumably the middle journey. And how do you make that middle journey visual, engaging or different?

You do want to see stuff going in in the skip. One of the things that struck me about Clare when she sent the pitch in was she's got a lot of energy. I can imagine her as somebody who would make a great contributor because she seems a lot to say.

I thought Clare was excellent. I think Clare is a big selling point of the proposal, and Claire the recovered clutterholic and all her bubbly personality and all her power, knowledge and experience and empathy is a great selling point, so she's great.

In fact, I didn't know why he needed a therapist as well, because I wasn't sure what Clare's role was? If she wasn't the therapist and she wasn't the person helping pick out objects to say no, this must be got rid of.

Clare's idea does appear to have a big cast.

You mention the hoarder, the therapist, the clutter coach, that's you and family members. Jo queried your position where you would be in this show. Who is the therapist? Who is that? Who is that person?

So the therapist is the person who, if the hoarder starts to display signs off resistance, anger underlying issues that dealing with the clutter and following the seven steps starts to raise, that therapist can actually dig deeper and spend more time delving into those issues because it's very common for hoarders.

You see it on a lot of the programmes where you can see that the hoarder is starting to put their defences up and resist, and they start to feel under pressure. And although I work with hoarders in a way so that we do it gently so that they can, you know, cope with the changes, we do still see that resistance.

So, for example, I've had clients who have struggled with problems of self-sabotage. They realise something from their past. The barriers go up and they kind of stop working with the programme. And that's the point at which I would refer them to a therapist.

She thinks this show should be called A Hoarders Journey. How do you feel about that idea?

I think it does what it says on the tin, which is a good start, right? Because you kind of get it. It makes it sound to me like Dickensian.

But it also has a bit of that kind of as if they're recording us on a video diary kind of thing. It's probably not grabby enough for attention-grabbing channels.

She calls herself the clutter coach. That's probably better than A Hordes Journey, isn't it? It sounds a bit serious and a bit sort of Ernest.

Jo didn't like the title. I'm not keen on it either.

Are you wedded to A Hoarders Journey?

Addicted to clutter, breaking the clutter cycle, my cluttered life, cluttered to clutter free. The struggled to let go. Fear to clear, facing the fear to clear.There are any combinations.

There's a programme in the U. S. called My 600lbs Life, where there is a doctor who guides people on their weight loss journey. They discover the resistance and challenges and the neighbours all those kinds of things as they're trying to lose their weight.

It's a pretty full-on show, Clare!

I'm not providing a magic wand. They are gonna have to do the doing. I will give them the map. I will give them the direction, I will guide them.

I'll be by their side for every step they take. But ultimately, much like on the My 600lbs Life programme, they have to do the doing. They have to follow the eating plan. It's exactly the same with my clients. I'm not going to go in their home and tell them what they should and shouldn't keep because nobody has the right to make judgments on other people's belongings.

So I will enable them to do it, but they have to do it. And so it can be traumatic.

Would you be prepared to show failure?

Absolutely. I don't think it's fair to give the impression in these programmes that everyone's a winner.

Finally, Jo, what should Claire do if she wants to take this further.

She could potentially identify some case studies and write up a bit more, not name them by their genuine names. But she could write up some case studies of previous like cases that she's dealt with, which is an example of somebody that we we might follow on this programme.