It was “lights, camera, action” for Misty McLandress, owner of Winnipeg’s local JUSTJUNK franchise when Salon Media, a Blue Ant Media production company was looking for junk removal companies to help with their launch of “Hoarders: Canada,” now airing on Makeful. The Canadian format of A+E Networks’ Emmy-winning hit “Hoarders” provides an in-depth look at the real-life stories of those directly affected by compulsive hoarding. It focuses on the efforts of friends, family and professionals who attempt to relieve them of the pressure and hoarded items that have cluttered their lives for decades.
JUSTJUNK’s Canadian Franchise team was approached by producers of “Hoarders Canada,” to work alongside local professional organizers and psychologists to help a family struggling with Hoarding in Winnipeg. The show is currently airing on Makeful, a home and lifestyle network. Winnipeg franchise owner Misty McLandress, who’s been with JUSTJUNK in Winnipeg since 2017, has had plenty of experience working with families in hoarding situations across Winnipeg. So when the production crew reached out to her team about their involvement, she said “yes” almost immediately. “Being a fan of the show,” Misty said, “I was excited about the opportunity.”
National television appearances are a boon for franchises. JUSTJUNK has had multiple experiences on Canadian television. However, this appearance on the Canadian format of A+E networks Emmy-nominated hit Hoarders” is certainly the largest. Appearing in the premiere episode to millions of viewers, the show will illustrate the great value cleaning professionals are able to provide with the help of other experts.
“The benefit of work with Hoarders Canada,” says Misty, “is having the psychologist and the organizer on site to work with the individual and the family to help make hard decisions. This allowed us to continue with removal or step away when required and help the individual make decisions in a timely manner,” McLandress notes. Remaining sensitive to the needs and emotions of the customers and hoarders is of essential importance and top of mind any time a hoarding cleanout job is started.
In the case of Hoarders Canada, time was of the essence. In the program, multiple days are allocated for a major home cleanout, a time-frame that Misty and JUSTJUNK franchise teams are familiar with. “In any hoarding situation you never know exactly what challenges you may run into. Knowing that we have a timeline to complete removal means ensuring we have all the tools and equipment ready if needed on site. Rodent infestation and mold can present themselves in any hoarding situation and having the right safety equipment is required to keep my team safe,” Misty notes.
In the premiere episode, Misty’s team helped a woman who’s hoarding has escalated over twenty years. Working with her family, the JUSTJUNK team methodically and meticulously cleared out several rooms of clothing, appliances, newspapers, books, old toys and decorations to be either sold by the owner at a garage sale or donated, if not simply discarded or disposed of. It was standard practice for Misty’s crew as all organizational tactics were put on display for “Hoarders Canada”. With the resources of a larger franchise network, Misty’s focus could remain on the job at hand and helping the family through the difficulties of clearing a home of decades of material.
“We have done many hoarding jobs throughout the years,” Misty recounts, “but never while being filmed. We really had no idea what to expect. In the end, I was amazed at how great the home turned out. It’s very fulfilling to help others and that’s the feeling I walked away with. The production company truly does an amazing job of coordinating on site and capturing what makes the show so compelling.”
The team was met with several challenges during the episode’s filming, including the reveal that a flood in the home several years back had left visible mold damage in much of the basement. The carpeting in much of the bedroom and basement was still sopping with water. Mold spores were present in the air, presenting a life-threatening hazard to one of the granddaughters aiding in the cleanup. A freezer in the basement had been left unplugged and used for storage, leaving Misty’s team forced to empty it prior to bringing it out.
With two trucks on-site for the duration of the shoot and the infrastructure of a franchise system backing them, Misty’s junk removal team was able to remove multiple loads, weighing thirteen tonnes from the property to be either donated, recycled or disposed of at the local landfills.
But others’ experience in television within the JUSTJUNK franchise network, including CEO Mike Thorne, was a boon for Misty’s team as well. Thorne and other members of JUSTJUNK had appeared on Be The Boss Canada in 2014, where two truck team members vied for advancement within the company. Two years prior, JUSTJUNK appeared in their own show, Hammer and Chew: Lords of Junk. Making the leap back into the television world, especially in such a high profile series as “Hoarders Canada,” was exciting for Misty and for CEO Mike Thorne.
It’s immeasurable exposure for the brand. Junk removal is still in its adolescence as an industry but is booming in popularity, even through the COVID-19 pandemic and the looming economic issues. Canadians, regardless, still have stuff to remove. Comfort comes from recognizable local brands and the ability to see their work, and the social proof that comes from a program like Hoarders Canada is indispensable. When the homes on Hoarders Canada are revealed at the end, it is truly magical.
Hoarders Canada provides and in-depth look at the real-life stories of those directly affected by compulsive hoarding.