“Thrift stores would be out of business if it wasn't for hoarders.”

—MATT PAXTON, host of the A&E show “Hoarders” [via CreditCards.com]

Paxton, who has a new book out, The Secret Lives of Hoarders: True Stories of Tackling Extreme Clutter, offers quite a few insights into the hoarding/obsessively consumptive mentality. These are people who not only keep thrift stores in business, but:

Most of them are TV shoppers. They’ve stopped going out, and if they do, they go to the dollar store. It’s so similar to a heroin addict; they just have to have the fix for 10 minutes.

Why do we find hoarding so fascinating?

It’s a train wreck, an American train wreck. Watching our show makes you feel better about your own life. A lot of us struggle with stuff, but ironically, hoarding is never about the stuff; it’s the emotions behind the stuff.

And how about some wisdom about breaking the hoarding habit?

At the end of the day, you have to replace the stuff with family. If you don’t, you’re never going to get over this. If you’re looking for love from stuff, you’re never going to be happy.

(MORE: ‘Extreme Couponing’: More ‘Hoarders’ Than How-To)

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