Human beings can be very intriguing, unlike any other species on this planet. Our ability to produce and pile up trash is unmatched. However, some people take it to the extremes – like the main subjects of the reality show, Hoarders. The show has been running since 2009 and features people with an unhealthy habit of filling up their lives with objects – or living beings.
Their addiction is usually a compulsive disorder, but the stuff they hoard and the reasons why they do it couldn’t be more different. From a creepy doll collection to a literal horde of rats, here are the 12 best episodes of Hoarders that ever aired.
Ep. number: Season 2 Episode 9
Aired: January 25, 2010
I believe this is the first episode of Hoarders I’ve ever seen, and it got me shocked – and hooked. Gail is a woman whose house is so broken down that it became a safety hazard – no heating, cracking walls, leaky ceilings, rotten floorboards…
The problem is, she can’t fix it up because her home is filled with junk to a tee. To add to it, Gail needs to have major surgery soon, and if the house doesn’t get cleaned up and repaired, she has nowhere to recover.
Meanwhile, Warren works as a repairman for heating and refrigeration, and he literally takes his work home. He filled his house with fridges, pipes, tools, and other stuff, to a point where his wife is scared for the life of their three-year-old son, Josh.
Ep. number: Season 7 Episode 10
Aired: July 30, 2015
This particular episode kind of got me in the feels. Laura wasn’t always a hoarder. However, things have gotten so bad that her house is virtually a trap you can’t get out of. Laura’s husband sleeps in the garage because their daughter has to sleep in the same bed as Laura, as there’s no room to sleep anywhere else.
Now, the husband gave an ultimatum – either clean it up and get help or go through a divorce and a lawsuit for full custody of their daughter. The worst part is that Laura is such a kind, likable person, so it makes things even more difficult to watch.
10. Barbara G./Fred & Mary
Ep. number: Season 5 Episode 6
Aired: February 6, 2012
Barbara lives in a million-dollar neighborhood, but her home doesn’t fit the same bill – it’s awfully cluttered, to a point where you can barely enter. Barbara takes her trolley and looks for things in dumpsters, alleys, etc.
Meanwhile, it was crazy to see what could happen if two hoarders found each other and fell in love. Fred and Mary both have the same problem – but they are both in denial, either not acknowledging the problem at all or blaming the other person for it.
It got so bad that their house was a huge health hazard, filled with spider webs, cockroaches, and filth. Even after Fred got seriously ill with the final stage of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), the couple refused to see the problem.
Ep. number: Season 13 Episode 7
Aired: November 29, 2021
This particular episode was heartbreaking, as it showed how life situations and problems could trigger a compulsive disorder. Peggie divorced in the early 1980s, and her daughter chose to live with her father, leaving Peggie all alone. She moved to start a new life and work as a caretaker, but after her client passed away, things took a turn for worse.
Peggie was, once again, left all alone. The only place where she socialized was a thrift store, so she started shopping there compulsively until things got out of hand. She realized her problem and looked for help, and now, she finally got it.
Ep. Number: Season 12 Episode 2
Aired: March 29, 2021
Forrest had a very hard upbringing. He grew up in poverty, and he’d tell his son stories about a pair of shoes he wanted for so long but could never afford. It ultimately triggered his hoarding disorder in adulthood, as now, he keeps buying stuff he doesn’t really need, filling up his house and yard with junk.
The problem is that he is now facing financial issues yet again because the Homeowners Association keeps fining him on a daily basis for all the junk in front of his home that’s ruining the real estate value for the entire neighborhood.
Watch Forrest’s story here.
7. Hanna/Kathy & Gary
Ep. number: Season 3 Episode 19
Aired: March 1, 2011
I want to start by saying this was probably one of the most shocking episodes to me. Things can get pretty ugly when hoarders don’t want to be helped. Hanna’s condition got awfully bad as she hoarded over 200 chickens – some of which were lying dead on the floors of her home. She hoarded things and had numerous farm animals in horrible condition.
All the junk forced Hanna and her chickens to go out and live in a windowless, unheated trailer. The winter is coming, and the team wants to help Hanna clean her home so she doesn’t freeze to death, but she becomes aggressive when told she has a problem.
Meanwhile, a couple had to rent out their dream home they had just bought due to financial reasons. But little did they know, the new tenants, Kathy and Gary, would completely destroy it with clutter and over 30 rabbits roaming freely, nibbling and gnawing at furniture. The most awkward part is that the couple is willing to give Kathy and Gary a second chance…
6. Doug & Ruth
Ep. number: Season 6 Episode 2
Aired: September 17, 2012
This episode was quite different from most Hoarders episodes, as the two people depicted in the show had very heartbreaking triggers for their disorder.
Doug suffered a severe brain injury that caused even more severe memory loss. So, he started piling up stuff that he felt could trigger his memories and make him remember things from his life before the accident.
Meanwhile, Ruth’s disorder was triggered when three of her family members died in their beautiful home. She simply couldn’t get rid of any of their stuff, and she started piling on things that made her remember them, turning her once-beautiful home into a shrine of junk for the three family members who had passed.
Ep. number: Season 13 Episode 2
Aired: October 25, 2021
Tiffany’s life was hard from the get-go, as she was never quite independent, being a person with special needs. To add to it, in her adulthood, her compulsive hoarding got so bad that she filled their family home with thousands upon thousands of old books. Their weight got so high that the house was on the brink of collapsing, making it extremely dangerous to be in.
Tiffany realized her problem and now wants to clean it all up and build herself a new dream home, free of clutter. The next time your mom forces you to read more, just show her this Hoarders episode and tell her you don’t want your house to collapse.
Watch Tiffany’s story here.
Ep. number: Season 2 Episode 11
Aired: February 8, 2010
June lives in a mobile home with her 13-year-old daughter, Tori. However, there’s really no room to live there because June filled it up entirely – with dolls. From Care Bears to Cabbage Patch dolls, the mobile home is so full that Tori has already threatened to leave her mom as soon as she’s 18 if things don’t change immediately.
Meanwhile, Doug has two special-needs children, but his compulsive hoarding disorder got so bad that he’s on the brink of losing them both. This episode really shows how hoarding affects not only the hoarder but their loved ones, too, especially kids.
Ep. number: Season 3 Episode 20
Aired: January 10, 2011
This is still one of the craziest episodes of Hoarders ever. It shows what happens when hoarders don’t hoard just things – but also animals. Glen and his wife had a rat collection bred as pets, but after his wife passed away, things got out of hand quickly. Now, over 2500 rats roam Glen’s home freely while he lives in a shed outside.
He acknowledged that he needed help, but Glen still wants the rats taken care of and adopted. Meanwhile, Lisa hoarded over 30 cats in her father’s small home, which wouldn’t be such a huge problem if she took care of them properly – and if the home wasn’t cluttered with all kinds of junk. Now, her dad is threatening to evict her if Lisa doesn’t get things sorted out.
To make things even more horrifying, sources suggest that Glen was murdered after the show, and as far as we know, the shocking turn of events is still unsolved.
Ep. number: Season 9 Episode 6
Aired: January 22, 2017
Compulsive disorders can happen to anyone, even those who make homes beautiful for a living. Sandra was once a famed interior designer, but after she lost her beautiful historic mansion due to foreclosure, she started hoarding out every little corner of the home.
The bank already sold the property to new owners, but Sandra and her junk refuse to leave, so now, they are trying to find a compassionate way to move Sandra out and clean out her huge hoard. It’s one of the best-rated episodes of Hoarders ever, and for a good reason – you’ll know what I’m talking about when you watch it.
Ep. number: Season 9 Episode 5
Aired: January 15, 2017
Last but not least, I found this particular episode of Hoarders to be the best: most shocking, confusing, and riveting of all the episodes aired so far.
Shannon has a nice home, but she believes that it’s infested – with demons and evil entities. She also believes that the demons are forcing her to hoard so many things inside, and Shannon becomes so frightened that she now lives in a shelter with her three children.
Meanwhile, Ray has a beautiful, historic Victorian home in San Francisco, but it almost burned down the entire neighborhood when his huge pile of junk caught fire, and it was nearly impossible to extinguish.