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Sharyn and Marvin's children, Jodi, Steve and Rich, say their parents' home wasn't always filled with clutter. "It gradually happened little by little," Jodi says. "I think as each one of us moved out, it got worse and worse. I was the last one out and after that, it just got really bad." At first, she says the hoarding was seen as a minor issue—only the basement and a back room were used for storage. Then, Sharyn filled the garage. "It went from a three car garage, going down to a two car, to a one car, to a no car," Jodi says. Over the next 10 years, Sharyn's hoarding filled the entire home.

Not only does the clutter create chaotic conditions, but Steve is concerned for his parents' safety. "God forbid there would be a fire or something and they'd have to get out," he says.

Over the years, Rich says he and his family have stopped visiting the house. Now, for the first time in five years, Rich steps into his parents' home.

Watch Rich's return home.Watch

"Holy shipwreck," he says as he enters the foyer. Having to turn sideways to squeeze through the mounds of clutter, Rich is stunned by the sheer amount of possessions. "This stuff doesn't mean anything, I mean—it's meaningless," Rich says. "She can't have space with nothing in it. This has consumed her. I feel sorry for anybody who has to live like this, I really do."

After touring the space that was still accessible in the home, Rich says he feels devastated. "I came in with energy. I came in thinking I could make a dent in this. I mean, you can't even make space. I'm wiped out. I haven't touched anything, I haven't lifted a thing—I'm wiped out. I'm physically and emotionally drained. It's overwhelming," he says.
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FROM: Inside the Lives of Hoarders with Peter Walsh, Part 1
Published on November 15, 2007

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