• Cover: October 1, 2014
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Growing Up With a Hoarder

Kimberly Rae Miller grew up in a flea-infested home filled floor to ceiling with junk. Read an excerpt from her new memoir, "Coming Clean," about how she survived her family's secret shame.

Page: 1 of 8
  • Courtesy of Amazon Publishing

    It would be years before I heard the theory that hoarders tend to be perfectionists; that each item they collect is one crucial part of an ideal world they are ever creating for themselves. If that's the case, it's possible I inherited this too from my father. The older I got, the more obsessed I became with the illusion that everything in my life was perfect—and as the years passed I depended upon it to fly me under the radar of friends and faculty long enough to get to college.

    No one questions the home life of quiet girls with good grades and kickline practice after school. My need to be seen as perfect was as compulsive as my father's need to surround himself with paper.

    By the time I got to high school my act had become second nature. I wasn't the shy barely-audible girl I'd been when I was younger. I had people to wave to in the hallways, notes to pass in class, and parties to go to on the weekend. I was nicknamed "Kimbie" by my new social circle, and took on a persona to match my peppy nickname. I rarely left school before 7 p.m. because I had become so immersed in the social world of extra-curricular activities, each one chosen as a notch for my college applications and meant to illustrate just how well-rounded I was.

Growing Up With a Hoarder
Kimberly Rae Miller grew up in a flea-infested home filled floor to ceiling with junk. Read an excerpt from her new memoir, "Coming Clean," about how she survived her family's secret shame.
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