Image for My Hoarder Mum and MeNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 50 minutes

TV presenter Jasmine Harman takes us on an emotional personal journey as she attempts to help her mother, an extreme hoarder, clear more than 30 years of clutter - so Jasmine's 12-year-old brother can return home to live.

Jasmine's mum, Vasoulla, lives alone in a five-bedroom house in London, but behind the front door lies a shameful secret. The house is filled, literally from floor-to-ceiling, with things she can't bear to throw out. Piles of old clothes, bags of toys, even broken bits of kitchen appliances; the rubbish mountain fills every room.

And it's still growing. Vasoulla's bedroom is so crammed full she can no longer get in. Instead, she clears a space on the floor of another room and sleeps there. Most rooms in the house are unusable and unsanitary - so full of junk that cleaning them is impossible.

Estimates suggest that 1-2 per cent of the UK population suffer from it - that's two to three houses in every urban street and debate is still raging about whether it should officially be declared a mental illness, and the condition is much misunderstood. Where the unaffected see extreme laziness or untidiness, sufferers become extremely distressed if their hoard is forcibly removed. Convincing them to throw away just one item can require hours of coaxing and rationalisation.

Along the way Jasmine speaks to other sufferers and their families for the first time to hear how they have dealt with hoarding. The journey will be frustrating, moving, heart-warming, and at times even funny, but ultimately Jasmine hopes it will give her mother the chance to beat this crippling condition.

Last on

Tue 16 Aug 2011 23:35 BBC One Northern Ireland only


Jasmine Harman


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