SANTA CRUZ > Local cleaning service and resident featured on ‘Hoarders’
When the phone rang at Sunrise Cleaning Service on Market Street, owner Tracy Taylor thought it was just another prospective client. But the longtime Santa Cruz resident was in for a surprise: the woman on the other end of the phone worked for the cable network A&E, and she wanted to enlist Taylor’s help for an upcoming episode of the popular television series “Hoarders.”
“She said she had a house to clean,” recalls Taylor. “Then she told me it was for a show on A&E and I said, ‘Oh, we’ll certainly do that!”
The episode will air on Monday, Feb 27 and details the struggles of two women, one of whom is a local resident named Verna. According to the “Hoarders” official website, Verna is an “ex-cop, ex-drug trafficker, and ex-prison inmate” who has evaded legal troubles by claiming that the mountain of things in her home was her “artistic expression.” Verna, who suffers from diabetes, is finally forced to face her issues with compulsive hoarding after she is hospitalized and the hospital staff prohibits her from returning to her home unless it is cleaned.
Compulsive hoarding is a behavior pattern characterized by a debilitating desire to acquire things, coupled with an inability to discard often useless belongings. People who suffer from compulsive hoarding are likely to fill their homes, cars and property with clutter, which can pose numerous health and safety risks.
Although this is Sunrise Cleaning Service’s first television appearance, Taylor has led her crew through massive cleaning projects like this before. After viewing the house, Taylor jumped on the opportunity because she understood that she had a unique opportunity to make an impact on someone’s life.
“It’s a satisfying experience when you can go into a house and make a difference,” says Taylor. “It was really nice to be able to pull stuff off of shelves, clean it, and put it all back in a way that she could see out of her window.”
Taylor and her crew cleaned three rooms of the house over the course of one day. Verna was not present while Sunrise Cleaning Service worked through the home, so Taylor dealt primarily with Verna’s daughter.
“She was very sweet. She was very sensitive to her mother’s possible concerns,” Taylor says of Verna’s daughter. “Her mother is a very artistic woman so there was a lot of art around and things that had been very important and memorable to everyone.”
Although the house was filled with Verna’s artistic accomplishments, the cleaning crew dealt with a variety of belongings that fans of the show have come to understand as a symptom of compulsive hoarding.
“We would find stuff that were obvious things that should be kept, like a wallet with money in it or keys,” says Taylor. “But then there were other things, like old candy bars and stuff in jars that she had held onto for years.”
New episodes or A&E’s “Hoarders” premiere Mondays at 9 p.m. For more information about the television series, visit aetv.com/hoarders. For more information about Sunrise Cleaning Service, visit sunriseclean.com.