Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Collector Care Interviews A&E's "Hoarders" Experts:
Geralin Thomas and Cory Chalmers

Collector Care's Rachel Seavey Interviews Emmy-Nominated A&E's Hoarders Experts: Geralin Thomas and Cory Chalmers

Geralin Thomas A&E Hoarder's Show ExpertCory Chalmers A&E Hoarder's Show Expert
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to interview A&E's Emmy Award Nominated Show "Hoarders" Specialist's Geralin Thomas  and Cory Chalmers  before they arrive at the 7th annual NAPO Organizing Awards in Los Angeles CA. 

If you watch A&E's  "Hoarders" show often, these two have very unique and effective styles.

Geralin Thomas, often labeled “Steel Magnolia” by viewers, comes across with a gently lady-like manner and grace. Dr. David Tolin has called her, “Our Lady of Perpetual Patience” which she demonstrates on the show time and time again.
I am honored to ask her some personal questions.

Cory Chalmers looks like he should be in a Lands End Catalog (right ladies)!
Besides being easy on the eye, Cory conveys our thoughts, to the client with kindness and class. He truly cares about everyone around him, and he is absolutely awesome for allowing me to ask him personal questions. 

With no further delay, let’s get this interview started!

Rachel:  How many hours a night do you typically sleep?

  Typically I sleep about six hours per night; I'm most definitely a morning person and can barely function after 11 pm however, if you need something at 6 am, I'm your go-to gal!  I'll be wide-awake and fully-functional.

Well, this varies quite a lot due to our business phones. Since we are one of the largest biohazard companies in California, we have a lot of calls for immediate service to clean crime scenes, suicides, and other bad things that happen throughout the day and night. I would be perfectly happy getting 5 to 6 hours of sleep at night, but whenever that phone rings it usually cuts at least 2 hours out of my sleep. After I receive the call, I have to dispatch a couple of my techs, then when they get on scene they call me to give an estimate on the job based off their description. I typically get a couple of calls throughout the cleanup as well from my techs with questions or concerns so just one job after hours can totally screw up my sleep.  

Rachel:  If you've got five minutes to organize something, what's it going to be?
Rachel Seavey and Cory Chalmers

My short organizing spurts are usually spent in my closet. That is the one place that can get disorganized quickly and I can't stand it so I am constantly doing small regular maintenance type work in there just to keep it nice and organized.

  The fridge!  I start in the upper left, make my way across left to right, top to bottom - like reading a book.  I'm also pretty enthusiastic about organizing my own pantry too.  I it's rewarding, or therapeutic, or whatever to have the fridge and pantry in bristol condition.
Rachel Seavey and Geralin Thomas

Rachel: Name one "go to" fast-food that you depend on when home.

  It's gotta be cous-cous! It cooks in five minutes, it's inexpensive, plus it's very healthy.
I always have it in my pantry and it goes well with everything.

Cereal! I will always eat a bowl of cereal when I don't want to have to cook. It is just too easy. Plus, having a 9 year old at home, his cereal is like desert. I mean small little chocolate chip cookies, Lucky Charms, Captain Crunch? While not the best for me, it is pretty delicious :)

Rachel:  The best thing at the end of a long, hard day after working in a hoarded house?

Ok, this is not a canned answer I promise but for me, it is the appreciation from the customer that makes it all worth it. When you can turn total chaos into a comfortable, functional, safe place for them to live, there is no better feeling. After that, an ice cold beer is great too!

 Getting into a nice, fresh, clean, comfy bed after a long, hot shower; even better if there's a bar of scented soap and conditioning shampoo. 

Rachel:   What is the worst thing about a Hoarders shoot?

  Airports without free wifi!  It drives me crazy when airports want to charge passengers to use wifi? And typically huge airports tend to charge while smaller airports offer it for free. Now, about the shoot itself, I'd have to say the s-l-o-w pace of filming.  There are a zillion interruptions. Background noise is unacceptable which means there's a lot of stopping and restarting due to a dog barking down the street or an airplane flying overhead. Of course this can't be controlled, but, it's frustrating.

  This is an easy one...the starting and the stopping. I am wired to work and get the job done. On a typical hoarders shoot, the producers tell us to stop working at least 70 times throughout 3 to 4 days. Just when you start to make a little progress, you have to stop because they have to interview someone, film something in the next room and need it quiet, or a number of other reasons. It is really difficult in the short time we are there to get the job done, but with the constant stopping of all work, it honestly makes it so much more difficult.

Rachel:  Well, I asked you about the worst thing, now I want to know about the best thing. What do you like best about traveling and working on the show?

There are a few things I like about Hoarders shoots. First, I know we are helping (or attempting to) someone that has been very resistant in the past and probably would not be getting help otherwise.   The very best part for me on a  shoot is when you are watching the last 2 minutes and we open the door and show them their new home. The look on their face, as well as their family and friends, is priceless!

 Both before and after the shoots - hanging out with the organizers.  I've had a lot of great, memorable evenings with organizers. I've gone to dinner, to their homes, to their offices and often I'm invited to see the local scenery, through their eyes.  The POs have been exceptionally hospitable and I've made a lot of new friends all over the country.  In addition, I enjoy knowing that we have helped change a few lives.  There are a few people with hoarding disorders that have continued working with therapists, organizers and aftercare providers. They've made slow, steady progress and continue managing and maintaining a healthier, happier life.

Rachel:  Name at least one show on TV you are absolutely hooked on and watch regularly.

 Downton Abbey on PBS.  I love historical fiction and everything about this show is a feast for the senses. The music makes me swoon, the landscaping is luscious, the costumes are beautiful, the decor of the house is amazing.  It's total escapism.  Other than that, I love documentaries so that's typically what I watch on my computer in the hotel rooms. 

I can't name just one! My two favorites are Sons of Anarchy and Suits. Totally different shows from one another but they both have me addicted!

So there you have it folks! Fresh from the specialist’s mouth to my blog.

If you haven’t voted for  Nominees Geralin Thomas or Cory Chalmers (or any of your other favorite organizers) please go to the NAPO website and cast your vote!

Napo's 7th Annual Organizing Awards in Los Angeles 2013

I am excited to be attending the event and plan on keeping you all posted throughout.
Stay tuned for more celebrity profiling before, during and after the event.

Rachel Seavey, Professional Organizer
I am located in Pleasanton Ca, and serve the San Francisco Bay Area.
I specialize in Hoarding Disorder, Chronic Disorganization and helping the overwhelmed with clutter. I love what I do, and I provide realistic expectations and timelines. Don't suffer in chaos any  more. Every breath is a new beginning! Please visit my site at
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  1. Rachel,

    Thanks for interviewing me! This was most-definitely a very pleasant experience and I enjoyed reading Cory's answers to these questions. I'll be meeting him [for the first time] in January at the LA Organizing Awards and am really looking forward to that as well as seeing a lot of organizers from the LA area.

    Many thanks for taking time to ask all sorts of fun questions.


  2. Geralin,

    It was my pleasure. Your answers were wonderful. Cory was a great sport as well.

    Good luck with your nomination at the awards! I will see you there, and will be updating my blog accordingly.

    Thank you for being you,


  3. Chelsey Tithers-MooreNovember 23, 2013 at 7:30 AM

    What ever happened to this show?