Vanessa lived in a large house in an upscale neighborhood. From the outside her home looked like the rest of the neighbors’, but the inside was a different story. The windows were covered and inside, papers, boxes, trash, knick-knacks, old mail and a thousand other items were piled floor to ceiling in every room. They covered every counter in the kitchen, overflowed into the sink and the stove. The bathtub in the main bathroom was stacked full of magazines. Her son and daughter had finally moved out of the house, unable to live in the dirt and stench. Her husband still lived in the house, cooking their frozen TV dinners in a tiny microwave because the oven had been filled with scraps of paper and other items years earlier.

Vanessa hadn’t showered in months because the bathtub wasn’t useable. Instead she took a sponge bath in the sink. At holidays, instead of hosting family dinners, her brother and his family would just leave their holiday gifts on the side porch. Vanessa wasn’t always a hoarder, but as she got older the hoarding got worse.

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