‘American Pickers’: Mike Wolfe Knows That Show Isn’t Far Off From an Episode of ‘Hoarders’

by Quentin Blount

There is a very fine line between collecting and hoarding, and American Pickers star Mike Wolfe knows all about it.

Mike Wolfe has co-starred on American Pickers alongside Frank Fritz since back when the show first premiered on the History Channel in January of 2010. As fans know, the show follows Wolfe and Fritz as they travel around the United States looking to flip old antiques to make a profit.

Meanwhile, there is another show which is also produced by A&E called Hoarders. It debuted just one year earlier than American Pickers, and it shows the real-life struggles of people who suffer from compulsive hoarding disorder. You can see how the two shows kind of walk the same line, right?

‘American Pickers’ Star Clears the Air Between His Show and ‘Hoarders’

Mike Wolfe sat down for an interview with Southeastern Antiquing and Collecting Magazine back in 2011. There, he was asked to explain what exactly the difference is between American Pickers and Hoarders.

“Some people can get a little, shall we say, eccentric with their collections,” the interviewer begins. “Have you ever visited people that you could have referred to some other show like ‘Hoarders’ or the ‘OCD Project’?”

Wolfe explains that there are actually a lot of similarities between the two. But the main difference, at least according to the American Pickers star, is that he is proud of what he collects on his show. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t consider it hoarding at all.

“I watched ‘Hoarders’ last night,” Mike Wolfe replied. “The hoarder talked about the thrill of the hunt, that they were excited to find something on a hunt. That’s the same thrill we get. But the people we come across are collectors; they are proud people who are proud of their collections. On ‘Hoarders’, no one was proud.”

Wolfe definitely makes a solid point here. Hoarders are not proud of themselves on the show, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Each episode of Hoarders is sort of like an intervention. The hoarders work with either a psychiatrist or some kind of professional cleaning specialist — each of whom had a specialization in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorders, and hoarding.

As for Mike Wolfe and the people he meets on American Pickers, he considers them collectors. There may be a fine line between collecting and hoarding, but if you are proud of what you have, then according to Wolfe, you’re a collector.

“Even when you look at collections that are stacked on top of one another, the collectors are still proud of them,” he explained. “That’s the separation between a collector and a hoarder. A hoarder may start out proud, but they aren’t in the end.”