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25 Best Hoarders Episodes Ranked

"Hoarders" gives us a fascinating — and often shocking — look into the lives and homes of people who suffer from hoarding disorder. Their inability to let go of their possessions puts their homes, health, and personal relationships on the brink of disaster. Each episode delves into the lives of one or more of these people, giving them a chance to clean up their act or potentially face serious consequences, often involving fines, eviction, or their children being taken away.

The show originally aired on A&E and was a hit for the network. The episodes that stand out have a combination of truly shocking hoarding tendencies, high stakes if the person doesn't clean up their house, and a whole lot of personal drama. On top of that, the end of a really great episode featured a dramatic transformation in the person's home, relationships, and overall quality of life. Let's explore the top 25 "Hoarders" episodes below.

25. Carmen (Season 3, Episode 5)

Carmen's husband passed away, and after that tragic loss, she suffered from a neck injury that caused her to lose her job. She found herself alone, unemployed, and anxious, which led to an unhealthy online shopping habit. She endlessly bought new stuff, but hardly threw anything away, so you can see how this situation spiraled into hoarding disorder.

Carmen's hoarding was so extreme that she even stopped throwing away trash. Her kitchen was packed with rotting food, dirty take-out containers, and as a result, lots of bugs. As if that wasn't already bad enough, the plumbing in her house stopped working, making things even more unsanitary. She had cut communications with many of her family members, but her daughter was understandably worried about her physical and mental well-being, so the "Hoarders" crew stepped in to help. Carmen was given a chance to toss the useless items in her home and completely turn her life around.

24. Peggy (Season 13, Episode 7)

Peggy got divorced in 1981 and her daughter chose to live with her father, so Peggy suddenly had to live alone. She had a hard time dealing with all this upheaval — and then she had to adjust to yet another big change when she landed a job as a live-in caregiver, which required her to move across the country. You might think this would be a fresh new start for her, and in some ways it was. However, once her client passed away, she found herself living alone again. She started thrift shopping as a way to socialize, but this led to hoarding tendencies and eventually she filled her whole home with junk.

Peggy's hoarding habits were so severe that the front door to her home wouldn't even open all the way; it was blocked by tons of the items she'd acquired. When we say "tons," we mean that literally — the cleaning crew ended up hauling 12 tons of trash out of her home during this episode.

23. Carl (Season 13, Episode 4)

The stakes were high in this episode featuring Carl, a man who kept finding items in the trash and bringing them home. Although his entire house and yard had essentially become a landfill, he had a hard time seeing his behavior as hoarding rather than "collecting." He couldn't continue living this way, though; the authorities gave him the choice to either clean up his property or he'd potentially have to face homelessness, jail time, or steep fines.

Cleaning up wasn't an easy process for Carl because of the way he viewed the items in his hoard. Some of them had sentimental value to him, while he believed others would have monetary value if he were to sell them. (Although we all know he probably wouldn't have gotten around to selling most of his stuff.)

In addition to Carl's extreme hoarding behavior and the high stakes involved if he didn't clean up, this episode is worth watching for many other reasons. His kind personality, helpful neighbor, and the transformation of his home all make this an especially entertaining episode of the show.

22. Martha (Season 13, Episode 8)

During this shocking episode, Martha faced a myriad of problems with her health, family, and cluttered home. Her hoarding habit most likely began years before, when she got pregnant and found out the man she was dating was actually married to another woman. A situation like that would be enough to upset anyone. In an attempt to cope with things, she began accumulating (or, in her words, "collecting") all kinds of stuff, including clothes, antiques, and jewelry.

Martha's home was in dire condition. The plumbing didn't work anymore, so she relieved herself in a bucket. The front door no longer opened because of how cluttered the entire house had become. Every room was filled with items, creating a health hazard that put her at risk of slipping and falling. However, this wasn't the only health issue she dealt with in this episode: She'd recently gotten a kidney transplant, so she desperately needed somewhere safe and healthy to live. One viewer described this episode as "so touching" after seeing the hardship Martha endured and how she ended up transforming her home.

21. Charles and Alvin (Season 6, Episode 3)

This revealing episode features Charles, a man who had thousands of paintings of nude women throughout his home. He was a passionate painter, but his hoarding behavior made it challenging for him to continue storing new pieces of artwork in his house. On top of that, the paintings had ruined his marriages and practically made his home unlivable, so his family became worried about his well-being and wanted things to change.

Next, Alvin's home was so crowded that he could really only live in the bathroom. He'd moved a food cooler and television in there to make it more comfortable, but that's still no way to live — and unfortunately, that wasn't the worst of it. Alvin's mother injured herself several times by falling in the hoard and had to start using a wheelchair. After the most recent accident, Alvin's sisters insisted that he clean up his home to make it safer for him and their mother.

20. Augustine (Season 2, Episode 1)

Augustine's hoarding was so extreme that her home was filled to the brim with flea-infested clothing, trash, and other random knickknacks. There were even two dead, flattened cats in the hoard, which gives you an idea of how crowded and unsanitary her house was. Augustine had somehow managed to continue living there without gas, heat, or running water. Her son was removed from the home because of how cluttered and uninhabitable it was. That wasn't the end of her troubles, though — the authorities demanded that she clean her house or face serious consequences.

The severity of Augustine's hoarding, urgency of the situation, drama during the cleanup, and emotional scenes between Augustine and her son all make this an especially engaging episode. It's truly fascinating trying to understand why she clung so tightly to her possessions, despite it wreaking havoc on her family relationships and overall quality of life.

19. Becky (Season 11, Episode 4)

Most hoarders fill their homes or their yards with junk, but Becky managed to fill an entire motel. She had a traumatic past, which is why she spent the 20 years leading up to the episode stuffing every room in her motel property. She also had a house on the property, and needless to say, that was packed with her hoard as well.

Becky's hoarding pushed away her children, grandchildren, and husband, but they still wanted to give her a chance to change her ways. Not only were they concerned about her health and well-being, they also knew that she couldn't make money off the motel if the rooms were unusable.

Clearing out the property proved to be quite a challenge. At times, Becky had a tough time letting go of the smallest things — including a piece of rotten fruit — which slowed down the process. Tempers also flared during cleanup, making things even more difficult, but the transformation in the end is nothing short of remarkable.

18. Debra and Patty (Season 6, Episode 1)

Debra had $50,000 of credit card debt and a house filled to the brim with clothes. Unfortunately, most of the clothing had gotten so old and unsanitary that it wasn't even wearable anymore. As if that wasn't bad enough, her husband and children were threatening to leave her if she didn't clean up her act.

Next, Patty's hoarding began as a way to cope with her ex-husband's drinking and cheating. However, it got worse when her ex-husband left her, and it worsened again when both of her sons moved out of the house. Patty eventually hoarded so many cardboard boxes that her home became completely unlivable. She moved into her son's home and started filling that up with junk as well, which strained her son's relationship with his partner.

Needless to say, Debra needed help with her current marriage while Patty needed help processing what went wrong in her previous marriage. All of that drama, along with the women's massive hoards, makes for a very interesting episode.

17. Peggy/Ed & Connie (Season 8, Episode 8)

Peggy's hoard was filthy to say the least. The city deemed the house uninhabitable, but Peggy loved living there, so she was determined to tidy it up so she could return home. During cleanup, the "Hoarders" team was shocked to find several animal corpses, which had clearly been there for a while. It was so dirty that there were times when Peggy and the crew had to wear hazmat masks and suits to protect their health.

Meanwhile, Ed and Connie were a married couple with a shared love for Halloween. Their love for finding and keeping Halloween items turned into a hoarding habit, and they began accumulating other kinds of stuff as well, big and small. Things had gotten so bad that they started calling their messy basement the "pit of despair" and the big junk-filled tent in their backyard the "tent of shame." Their two teenage sons who lived with them weren't happy about the situation at all. The older son was so fed up that he gave his parents an ultimatum: either clean up the mess or he'd leave and take his younger brother with him.

16. June and Doug (Season 2, Episode 11)

For some people, being inside a house full of dolls would be a nightmare. June didn't seem to think so, though — she loved dolls and stuffed animals so much that she filled up her entire mobile home with an unthinkable number of them. Although she clearly enjoyed this unusual hobby, she needed to clean up her home for a couple of very important reasons. First off, she was violating the city's fire codes, so she needed to declutter her home to make it safer in case of an emergency. On top of that, her hoarding habit created tension with her teenage daughter, who lived there as well. June's daughter said she would abandon her mother once she was old enough to move out of the home unless things changed for the better.

Next, Doug was a single father who struggled with depression and hoarding items he didn't need. He adopted two special needs children and loved them very much, but was worried he might lose custody of them due to his cluttered home.

15. Jan and Bebe (Season 6, Episode 10)

Jan was an extreme hoarder, but anyone who told her that would have to face her fierce denial and temper. For a long time, she didn't throw anything away, had no plans to do so, and would lash out at people who tried to get her to clean up — even her daughter. The "Hoarders" team had a challenging time helping Jan see the error in her ways, which is part of what makes this episode so compelling.

Next, Bebe used to live a privileged lifestyle to say the least. She grew up attending boarding schools and having servants tend to her every need, then she married a man who gave her everything she wanted. After Bebe's husband was tragically murdered, she started hoarding to cope with the loss. Eventually, her hoarding disorder got so out of hand that she even stole items from church. Even in the occasionally outlandish context of "Hoarders," this episode is shocking.

14. Gail and Warren (Season 2, Episode 9)

Gail was living without heat in a filthy house that was literally falling apart. The ceiling was leaking, the walls were cracking, and many other parts of the home needed major repairs. Her house was so packed with stuff that repairs couldn't be made, but unfortunately, the clock was ticking. Gail needed to clean and repair her home ASAP — as her episode of "Hoarders" got started, she had a surgery scheduled in two weeks and desperately needed a place to recover afterwards.

Next, Warren was a heating and refrigeration specialist who brought supplies and equipment home with him. As a result, his house was crammed full of old refrigerators and tools. His wife Leanne threatened to kick him out if he didn't clean it up and make it safer for their very young son.

Things took a surprising turn during the cleanup when it turned out that Warren wasn't the only one there with a hoarding habit — Leanne had trouble letting go of things too.

13. Tiffany (Season 13, Episode 2)

Tiffany is a little person who had a huge hoard. In addition to collecting art supplies and antiques, she estimated that she had a whopping 10,000 books. This might sound like a book lover's dream come true, but she actually owned so many books that her home was at risk of collapsing at any second.

She also wasn't the only one in the family with a hoarding problem. Her late mom and dad also had a habit of accumulating things, such as glassware, sewing supplies, and tools. In fact, a lot of their stuff still remained in the family home because Tiffany didn't throw it out after they passed away. All of the rooms, the garage, and the yard were filled with stuff from various family members.

Tiffany's sister Becky became very concerned about the lack of safety. If one of the massive piles of junk fell down, it could have injured Tiffany or trapped her in the rubble. Since the situation was so unsafe, Tiffany went to live with Becky, but that was just a temporary solution. She wanted to clean up her massive hoard and work on building her dream home.

12. Sandra (Season 9, Episode 6)

This definitely isn't your average episode of "Hoarders." In fact, it's described as "one of the most talked about episodes in 'Hoarders' history" on the "Hoarders" on A&E Facebook page. Sandra was a formerly successful interior designer who lived in a beautiful historic mansion, which she filled with a massive amount of various items. The bank sold it, but she still refused to leave. Although the new owners wanted Sandra to get rid of her hoard and leave, they were determined to make that happen in the most compassionate way possible.

This episode really has it all: A massive hoard, an urgent reason for cleaning, temper flare-ups, and finally a dramatic transformation in the cleanliness of the home.

11. Carol (Season 11, Episode 1)

This episode is an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. It focuses on Carol, who'd spent the last 20 years filling up her husband's mansion with junk, yet had no remorse over how her behavior impacted him or his family. Once the hoard that she had created got out of control, she moved out and left her husband to deal with it, despite his faltering health. The mansion was under threat of condemnation, so the family gave Carol a chance to right her wrongs and help clean up the mess she made.

Saying the cleanup didn't go smoothly would be an understatement. The hoard was massive and Carol had a tough time letting things go, so she resorted to throwing insults and threats at people to get her way.

It was easy to see that the mansion was a mess, but the strained relationships between Carol and the family members turned out to be even messier. Several arguments broke out due to Carol's fiery attitude and the family's deep-seated resentment towards her. This family could have their own reality show with all their problems, fights, and drama.

10. Linda (Season 10, Episode 3)

This episode is shocking in more ways than one. A&E's Twitter described Linda's home as containing "one of the most disturbing hoards we have ever seen." Linda was a former beauty queen who kept her hoarding habits hidden from her loved ones for years. When she suffered from a medical emergency, her family discovered the state of her home and enlisted the help of the "Hoarders" crew to hopefully turn Linda's life around.

It's difficult to overstate how severely Linda packed her home. Every room was loaded up with stuff, from random items to plain old garbage. Linda's dog pooped all over the floor and she saw no need to clean it up afterwards. The mess attracted pests such as cockroaches and mice, which scurried across the floor as the cleaning crew did their job. But perhaps most shockingly of all, Linda developed a habit of defecating in cups and leaving them sitting around the house for years. Many of her items were coated in feces, rendering them completely unusable.

9. Phyllis and Janet (Season 4, Episode 1)

Have you ever heard of someone having a "doll hospital" in their home? We hadn't either until we saw this episode, which begins with a segment focusing on Phyllis, whose home was jam-packed with dolls. She had a whole room set aside as a hospital where she operated on her beloved toys. Her oldest son estimated there were around 50,000 dolls in the home. Parts of the house were sagging from the ones that were piled up in the attic, making it dangerous to live in. Phyllis' younger son had mental health issues and was still living at home with her, so her eldest threatened to call authorities and have his brother taken away if Phyllis didn't clean up.

Next, Janet lived in a hoarded home that was completely unsafe and unsanitary. She had trouble walking, but had to crawl on mountains of junk to get around the house, putting her at risk of falling and injuring herself. Janet also endured lack of heating and plumbing, although she managed to find makeshift solutions to these problems. She would warm up by sleeping in piles of junk and relieve herself by either going outside, wearing adult diapers, or peeing in jars that were left around the house. Her daughter was so worried about her mom's living situation that she threatened to call authorities if things didn't change for the better.

8. Manuel and Carla (Season 6, Episode 6)

Manuel was living in his hoard-filled home with his four young grandchildren, a situation that was far from ideal. The house was so messy and unsafe for the children to live in that Child Protective Services ended up taking them away. Manuel really loved the kids and wanted to regain custody of them, but that wouldn't happen until he cleaned up his house.

This episode's next segment focuses on Carla, who'd had bad luck with men over the years to the tune of three failed marriages — and as a result, she'd filled three entire homes with her hoard, all of which were so cluttered that she couldn't walk through them, let alone live in them. One of the homes also had a serious mouse problem, with both living and dead mice being found there. Carla moved in with her boyfriend, but he had problems with drinking and would often lose his temper. Carla's family wanted to help her clean at least one of her houses so she could have a safe place to live and start a new chapter in life.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

7. Constance/Jeri Jo (Season 5, Episode 11)

Constance's trailer and property were filled with messy chickens and rotten eggs. She also had an overwhelming amount of clothes, spoiled food, and random items that she didn't want to let go of. She didn't have much when she was growing up, so once she started accumulating things as an adult, it was hard for her to throw any of it away. As a result, her trailer was in bad shape, and there were several areas that desperately needed repairs. Constance's daughter finally had enough and gave her mom an ultimatum: either clean up or she'd call the authorities.

Speaking of ultimatums, Jeri Jo was a hoarder whose family also threatened to contact authorities if she didn't clean up her home. She was married to a man who was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in jail. You might think that she'd divorce him after that incident, but that wasn't the case. Despite knowing that her husband committed murder, she remained committed to him and was very lonely since they couldn't live together anymore. All of this hardship led her to begin hoarding, and as is so often the case on this show, eventually things got really out of hand.

6. Barbara G./Fred and Mary (Season 5, Episode 6)

Barbara used to keep her home nice and tidy, but that changed after one of her sons tragically died in a hunting accident. She moved into a new home in an upscale neighborhood, but it wasn't the fresh start she'd hoped for. She began dumpster diving and hoarding to deal with the loss, and her once-beautiful home became filled with junk. Miscellaneous items were piled up in every room, not to mention the yard and two trailers. Perhaps worst of all, her refrigerator was infested with maggots, which is enough to make just about anyone's skin crawl. Barbara had to clean up her act or she'd get fined and possibly lose her home.

Meanwhile, Fred and Mary's house was chock-full of spiderwebs, cockroaches, and a wide array of seemingly random items. Fred suffered from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which was most likely brought on by the mess. The couple had to clean up their home ASAP or face dire consequences from the authorities and potentially end up homeless.

5. Glen and Lisa (Season 3, Episode 20)

Glen's home was absolutely filthy, and it wasn't helped by the numerous rats that he kept as pets. All in all, there may have been 2,500 rats freely roaming around his home, and it was so crowded that he had to live in a shed in his yard. He began breeding the rats as pets after his wife died, but things had clearly gotten out of hand. He desperately needed help cleaning up his home, but he wanted to do so without killing any of his beloved rats.

Glen wasn't the only hoarder with a love for animals. Lisa lived in her father's home with approximately 50 cats that had no problem using the house as their litter box. Lisa's father was so fed up that he threatened to kick her out if she didn't clean up and get rid of most of the cats. During cleanup, Lisa proved to be very difficult to deal with, making this a very dramatic episode.

"Lisa is honestly the most difficult person I've worked with in 15 years," cleaning specialist Cory Chalmers said during the episode — a big statement considering how many extreme hoarders Cory has worked with over the years.

4. Merlene and Jeff (Season 6, Episode 11)

Merlene and Jeff were both successful in their own ways, but each of them faced hardship and loss, which started the chain of events that led them to hoarding.

Merlene was once an international supermodel who enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle. She was married to the son of the man who invented the Learjet, so there was more than enough money to go around. Then she got divorced, and her seemingly perfect life was turned upside down. She developed a habit of dumpster diving, started accumulating objects in her home, and eventually her house was filled with garbage.

Jeff used to enjoy a lavish lifestyle with lots of money and women, but that quickly changed when his shoe repair business went under. He moved all the supplies, merchandise, and equipment from his shoe business into his house, but he didn't stop there. He went on to accumulate lots of construction supplies as well, leaving his home a cluttered mess. Both Merlene and Jeff were in dire need of help from the "Hoarders" team.

3. Three Amigos (Season 10, Episode 5)

While every episode of "Hoarders" is unique, this episode is very different from the rest because it follows three people who, as depicted during the events of the show, seemed to enable each other's hoarding habits. Peter, Raymond, and Donald were three peas in a pod who did practically everything together, including hoarding. They each had their own home, so there were three extremely cluttered houses (not to mention front and back yards) for the team to tackle in this episode.

Since there were three hoarders and three homes, it only makes sense that there's also three times the amount of drama. Peter, Raymond, and Donald were all dealing with their own personal issues related to their hoarding, varying from strained relationships to health hazards to potential loss of property. This episode has an impressive rating on IMDb, where one viewer commented that it was "the best episode" of "Hoarders" they've ever seen thanks to the great ending.

2. Terry and Adelle (Season 6, Episode 8)

Terry had a freezer full of dead cats in her home — need we say more? Well, aside from the issue of dozens of dead, frozen cats, she also owned 50 cats that were still alive, and using her home as a giant litter box. The situation wasn't healthy for anyone, to put it mildly.

When Terry was young, her father died of a heart attack in front of her. The incident left her guilt-ridden because she wasn't able to save him. Terry's son believed she began hoarding because of this traumatic event.

Meanwhile, Adelle had been hoarding in her home for decades, resulting in an out-of-control mess. Her house was so uninhabitable that she'd resorted to using a bucket as the bathroom and doing her laundry in a kiddie pool in the yard. Despite the severity of the situation, Adelle didn't think things were that bad — but in this episode, she finally understood she needed to face the facts and clean up her home.

1. Shanna and Lynda (Season 6, Episode 4)

All of the hoarders on the show have had trouble letting go of junk, but Shanna took things to a whole other level by hoarding her own feces and eating it. Yep, you read that right — she had no problem living in extremely unsanitary conditions and eating food that she knew was contaminated with her own waste. When the crew confronted her about this, she responded, "What difference does it make?"

The description for this episode on IMDb claims that Shanna's home ranks as "the worst hoard in 'Hoarders' history," so the enthusiastic response from fans makes sense. Shanna wasn't the only extreme hoarder featured on this episode, though — there's also Lynda, who was convinced that her hoarding habit was preparing her for Armageddon. She believed that she would ascend to heaven during the Rapture, so she wanted to leave lots of stuff behind for those who wouldn't be going with her.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.