A&E's Hoarders returns tonight for its thirteenth season. Along with eight new two-hour episodes, the show welcomes Carolina Harvey, the owner and founder of Cure the Clutter, who joins the Hoarders team full-time as a Lead Organizer and Clean-Up Expert. Harvey has been running her business for as long as Hoarders has been on the air. The show is something she's well-versed in, so her joining full-time was kismet. "I love that expression," she said during an exclusive chat with MediaVillage. "It is kismet for sure and it's such a neat thing in the way it all came about. I started as a support professional organizer to the lead organizer on a few episodes of the show, and now I'll be formally introduced as a part of the team. It's been such a fun ride, a whirlwind, but so exciting."
Harvey admits she's an avid viewer of Hoarders, having seen every episode, and refers to herself as a fan of what the show does. "I always felt sad watching the show," she shared. "My heart was just so heavy for these families who are going through something that is so difficult and so stressful. So, while I say I'm a fan, I'm a fan of the fact they are there to help. They come in with a huge group of people to guide, help, encourage and love the family. In a way, the family, or the hoarder, has not felt that kind of love in a really long time. So, I am a fan of how this show completely transforms lives, as that's absolutely amazing."
One thing that excites Harvey about this latest season of Hoarders is that each two-hour episode will focus on one person's journey. "Hoarders started doing this in season nine," she recalled. "Having the two hours really provides an in-depth look. It helps you also to build compassion for the family. A lot of times people watch [the show] and think, 'How in the world does it get this way?' Hearing someone's story you begin to understand some of the pain, the trials and the difficulties they've gone through to get to this place. It makes it more real. It's really important to understand what these people have gone through."
While the crew adhered to strict COVID-19 safety protocols during filming, the toughest part for Harvey was keeping socially distant. "I'm a hugger," she shared. "With COVID it is difficult as [hugging] is something you can't always do. Still, the show did a great job of making sure that everybody was safe. With the clients, I feel the mental health crisis is so much worse now than it ever was before. COVID provided some challenges, but we overcame them and were still able to put together a great season.
"The crisis is still there, and it's important to address it," she added.
Harvey admits the commitment of doing the show, along with running a successful business, and being a mom, had some challenges, but it was worth every moment. "I do have a full plate," she said. "It's like anything, I do my best to be present wherever I am. So, if I'm filming the show, I'm present. If I'm at home, I'm present. If I'm working with my [company's] clients, I'm present. That's how I do it."
She also revealed that after thirteen seasons, there is no shortage of participants. "There's always the desire to help a loved one," she explained. "Sometimes it's the hoarder that struggles and nominates themselves, other times it's the family who nominates them. It's usually a family in crisis. Be it financial, or some kind of illness or death, or a huge tragedy, there's often a crisis associated. They're just anxious to help and love on their family member.
"You know, it's such an honor to just be asked into a family's home," she revealed in closing of her personal gratification in helping others. "To be able to help, give them hope, and an opportunity for a fresh start, that's amazing to me. It brings me so much joy -- absolute joy, just to be able to guide [someone] through this process. It is difficult, but it means so much to all of us involved."
Hoarders is telecast Mondays at 8 p.m. on A&E.
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