A weeklong journey starts through stories popular among readers.
To celebrate Skokie Patch’s one-year anniversary, each day this week we’ll highlight stories with mass viewing at the website. Part One: Hoarding Cleanup - It's Personal Patch followed Skokie native and owner of American Hoarders Craig Strauss as he cleaned up people’s homes and attempted to rescue hoarders from their possessions. Strauss said he had firsthand knowledge of the problem, describing his father as a hoarder. In most cases, hoarding is a psychological disorder that's characterized as an inability to throw away items, experts said. The collection can include the person's urine, animals and even something as obscure as toasters. Read more: The best stories from Skokie Patch’s first year.
Skokie Patch rolls with American Hoarders in a three-part series on obsession
Some days Craig Strauss finds a bag filled with cash and on other days he is tossing out a hoarder's urine collection. But in the end, Strauss mainly deals with other people's junk – or their prized possessions, depending on how you look at it. Though the public's fascination with hoarding has been fueled by cable television shows such as A&E's "Hoarders" or TLC's "Hoarding: Buried Alive," Strauss has been on the front line of clearing out such cluttered homes for much longer. A Skokie native and owner of American Hoarders, Strauss was originally a mechanic at Oldsmobile. He said it wasn't the money that lead him to start his cleanup company but his father. "My dad was divorced and when we left to college, he started collecting – empty …