Brothers Homer and Langley Collyer filled their Harlem townhouse with 140 tons of junk

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I find hoarding to be loathsome beyond compare. It gives me the collywobbles.

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We read about these brothers in fourth grade and it gave me nightmares. The story has stayed with me since then.

The two tons of paper that I just cleaned out of my parents’ attic now does not seem so bad.


I’ve cleaned out a few hoarder houses, as a day laborer. Nothing, nothing, nothing like this, but then none of the hoarders I cleaned up were millionaires.

The most shocking thing is how NOT interesting the hoard is. Not one eye-catching headline in the newspapers, not one lost print of ‘Intolerance’; nothing but banal, ordinary stuff.

I served as an alternate on the jury of a civil trial in which a formerly homeless man sued the management of his building for failing to prevent another tenant two stories up from hoarding possessions, a situation he attributed as the cause of mice getting into his apartment.

Later in the trial it became apparent that the man who filed the lawsuit was actually the worst hoarder in the building.

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