Perry organizer helps create order on ‘Hoarders’ TV show

awoolen@macon.comDecember 13, 2012 

PERRY -- Andi Willis has been watching the A&E show “Hoarders,” now in its sixth season, since it premiered.

She never dreamed she would be a professional organizer for one of the episodes, which document the struggles of people dealing with compulsive hoarding.

Willis, owner of Good Life Organizing in Perry, is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. It was this affiliation that landed her a part on the show. Willis’ episode airs Monday at 9 p.m.

A friend and fellow organizer who lives in Columbus told Willis about an episode being filmed in Alabama. The head organizer, Dorothy Breininger, hires a team of individuals from the surrounding area to help with the task of uncluttering the home. Willis was selected based on her references and proximity to the site.

Willis said about 2 percent of Americans are considered hoarders.

“It’s different than you and I getting our closet organized,” she said.

A hoarder has usually experienced trauma in some way, and the show uses a mental health professional to get the client through some of the issues.

“It’s scary, and it’s a big change,” said Willis, who has been a professional organizer for almost four years.

She decided to become an organizer after seeing shows like “Hoarders” and knowing she could help people the same way. She had been organizing her mother’s pantry since she was a teenager.

Willis has worked with hoarders before, but this was one of the most extreme cases she has witnessed in her business.

And although Willis previously has been on an organizing team, this was the first time she had been able to use her talent for a television show.

“It was a really neat experience,” Willis said about working with the production team as well as her fellow organizers to change a person’s way of living.

In the home, a camera person was always following the client, who was followed by a sound person and then a producer. Willis said she was even stuck in the kitchen at one point because there was no room to leave.

“They do film everything,” Willis said.

She said their main concern was to make the house livable again.

The client also has been receiving after-care from two of the other organizers who helped during the three-day stint at the home in August.

With the final editing, Willis isn’t sure she will have any screen time, but it doesn’t bother her.

“The opportunity was amazing,” she said.

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