KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Charlene Darnell would love to see her family living in a pristine home.
"A big showcase house," the cheery 43-year-old nurse said, "with room to display stuff."
But Darnell knows the truth.
She says she is a "clutter-aholic," a packrat of such magnitude that even the suggestion of tossing away anything brings on a near panic attack.
"It's almost like it hurts," she says.
The result is a tiny Olathe, Kan., home that is, by her own admission, a colossal mess. It looks as if someone ripped off her roof and spilled the contents of 10 other houses inside.
Rumpled mountains of laundry make hallways and bedrooms impassable. Piles of papers, bills, pots, pans and plastic containers -- poised to tumble in an avalanche of kitchenware -- over every inch of her counters.
Seven cars (one of her husband Bob's compulsions) cram their short driveway and two-car garage. Most, such as a white '63 Thunderbird, haven't worked in decades.
"I'm no help," he says.
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