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Sharyn admits that shopping is her weakness. "When I shop and I find a good deal, it's total excitement that I got something special for my money," she says. "I love seeing sale signs when I go into a store. It's like a magnet just drawing me to it. And I can find deals like nobody else can find."

She also loves to buy gifts for her friends and family—but instead of giving them away, she hoards them. "She'll buy gifts maybe six months, nine months, a year in advance," Marvin says. "And then when it's time to give the gift, of course she doesn't know where she put it."

Sharyn also has a problem with collecting. "I don't have one of anything in my house. If I have one pair of sunglasses, I have 10. And if I was going to learn I needed a pair of sunglasses, sometimes I wouldn't even be able to find one."

Like their daughter, Jodi, Marvin says he noticed the hoarding began as their children grew up and began moving out. "It wasn't like this 10 years ago," he says. "I think the empty-nest syndrome is probably really what started it. She was trying to replace the children with things." Marvin cannot pinpoint the moment he realized his wife was a hoarder and says it was a slow progression. "I'd be sitting on the couch and I would just look up and it was unlivable," he says. "I would ask her, 'Please, we have to start cleaning the house out. Please.' And she'd say, 'Okay, we'll start tomorrow, or we'll start Monday,' or whatever day."

Sharyn says she thinks that recent deaths in her family have also caused her hoarding to become more extreme. "I suffered a lot of loss of family members in the last couple years and I really think that has a lot to do with it—it's filling a void," she 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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