Hoarder or hurler?

In Home on March 11, 2013 at 9:51 pm


I’ve got a new favourite TV show. It’s called Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners, but the name really doesn’t do it justice because the genius thing is it’s not just about the cleaners (fascinating though they are).

What makes the show so great is that it brings the OCD cleaners into the homes of chronic hoarders to help them sort out their towering piles of cack – thereby combining several of my favourite reality genres in one. Cleaning, hoarding and house transformation.

It’s such a satisfying watch it makes me want to purr like a cat.

I’m so fascinated by the process of clutter clearing and how it can transform lives, I wrote a whole book about it. Amelia, the heroine of my novel How To Break Your Own Heart, becomes a professional clutter clearer, after helping a friend sort out her chaotic flat.


That theme was inspired entirely by another TV show, which I do wish was still on, called Life Laundry.

The presenter on that was a very nice lady called Dawna Walter, who acted as much as a therapist as a tidier up, gently guiding the owners of the terrifyingly cluttered, untidy and filthy houses through the process.


Every week, as the show unfolded, a trauma of some kind would be unearthed as the trigger for the start of the hoarding. The poor souls were all trapped in the past, terrified to move on.

There were always tears – usually after denial, anger etc, the usual journey – and it was inspiring to watch them start to let go. Even more uplifting was to see the transformed house at the end and the look of relief and release on the subjects’ faces.

I would quite like Dawna Walter to come round to my house.

Because that is, of course, why I love those shows. I’ve got tendencies that make me relate to those people at a visceral level. I’m not a hoarder, in the gross sense, like those very unfortunate and properly ill people whose houses are crammed with old newspapers and filthy old food cartons – and attendant rats, shudder – so they have to crawl through deadly crevasses to move from room to room, but I do have way too much stuff.

Even though I’m very organised, with a place for everything and everything in it’s place – there’s simply too much everything. There are various reasons for this.

One of the things I really recognise in the hoarders is the feeling that it’s morally wrong to chuck stuff out that could be re-used. In an increasingly polluted and throwaway world, they can’t bear the idea of waste. Neither can I.

So padded envelopes, relatively unscathed tissue paper, plastic take away cartons, rubber bands… I just can’t sling them and I do re-use them, so I feel justified, but until the moment of re-use comes, they sure do clog up the arteries of my house and, ergo, my life.

Then there’s another level of clutter. Nice things. The books, the carefully curated T shirts, the vintage scarves and other lifelong collections of accessories. The endless lovely old bits of china from junk shops and antique bed linen from markets. All of it has worth, but there’s too much all of it.

That will be hard to cull, but in the meantime I have at least stopped buying any more of it, which is tough enough. Walking past a table of mixed blue and white china outside my favourite junk shop, not just once, but many times, was my equivalent of a junkie refusing a hit.

But I’ve got enough unmatched blue and white plates to serve dinner to twenty people. And a few spares in case of breakages. I don’t need any more.


Then there’s the stuff that isn’t useful at all, but has sentimental value. All my daughter’s drawings – just about every one she’s ever done – all her school exercise books since she started school and until recently every birthday card she’d ever been sent. Yes, I know, that was going too far. I’ve flung them.

Which was a start and I’ve kept going. After consulting fellow novelists on Twitter I finally threw out all my old manuscripts and marked-up proofs.

With that and a lot of other paper I didn’t need (twelve years of bank statements FFS…) I sent 30 bags of paper to recycling.

There’s still a long way to go though and one of the problems with clutter clearing is that the clutter gets in the way of clearing it. I think that’s why those really chronic hoarders get into such a downwardly spiralling funk.

You can’t clear the stuff for the stuff and the stuff clogs your head, so you can’t think straight to do anything. So it’s much easier to have another cup of tea and absorb yourself in a nice distraction. (Twitter.)

There’s a basket of stuff in my home office which makes me freeze up like that every time I try to sort it out. About five times now, I’ve spent a morning sorting it into piles on the bed – Urgent, Less Urgent, Pending, Store – only to run out of time and scrape it all back into the basket again.

That sodding thing lurks in the room accusing me and reminding me of my failure every time I see it. It’s really toxic, but I just can’t make myself do it.

I’m hoping that once I get through the rest of the house – and I’ve already been through the broom cupboard (sacrificing the world rag collection to a charity shop…) and two book cases – it will free my head enough to beat that bastard basket into submission. Or else I’ll have to call in some help.

I did once have a professional organiser – the lovely Carol Posener, who you can find here – – to help me sort out one room of my house in Sydney, which was out of control. It was the room version of that basket.

Out of sheer terror over a late tax return, I’d started to open the door of my home office, throw in scary looking official envelopes and shut it again quick. (I have a character in How To Break Your Own Heart, with a very similar scenario. Write about what you know and all that…)

Carol sorted it all out for me and I’ve never got in a muddle with my tax since, sticking to her system – so I know proper clutter clearing and organising is life changing.

Now I’ve got to find the energy and commitment to finish my whole house – and that rotten basket – and Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners is my current inspiration.

Along with this brilliant IKEA commercial.

And if you want to read my fictional treatment of clutter clearing, here’s the link to Penguin’s website

  1. I love this post Maggie! Mostly, because I’m currently having the same stress and it’s (rather selfishly) nice to know we’re not alone, isn’t it?

    I’m not a hoarded in the horrible sense of the word; I actually love throwing out junk, rubbish and unnecessary bits and bobs. It’s the things I feel I should use, or which have been sent to me and for which I should be grateful, or the things I love which I keep buying variations upon variations of (beautiful stationery, vintage paste jewels, old penguin classic, pink lipstick). Like you, it’s the feeling drummed into me when I was young that I shouldn’t waste good things and that everything should be re-purposed.

    But I have the teeniest, tiniest flat and I have literally outgrown my storage space, so some ruthless de-cluttering is now required. When you stumble upon the solution, please do let us know!

    Briony xx

    • I think letting go of the ‘quests’ is as hard as letting go of stuff. In fact, I think I will make that the subject of my next post, so thanks for inspiring me xxx

      • I’ve come to this conversation a little late, Maggie, having only just discovered your style notes. However, I just had to share this with you: a friend recently was cleaning her grandma’s house not long after her death and amongst all the clutter she found a box labelled:” Pieces of string too short to use” …it was so typical of her grandma that she just sat down and laughed and laughed.

  2. My favourite topics! I am a declutterer-aholic and am completely happy when organising and arranging and sorting. My mum and sister, however, keep everything. Everything. They think it’s important and sentimental but then it is placed on display somewhere and never dusted, never moved out of the sunlight, never seen for all the other ‘important’ things around it. To my mind the truly precious objects are cared for with love and displayed with appreciation, not just kept for the sake of keeping and left to moulder.

    I read a great tip on children’s artwork: take a photo of them when they do it, so you have a record of them at that age with the picture, but don’t have to actually keep and preserve every scribble and doodle. Odds are they’ll grow up and won’t care about their drawing of the green bicycle with a banana and Aunty Beth any more, but the really precious thing will be the photo of your tiny child with something they were really proud of.

    • (My user name may give a teensy tiny clue to my particular interests …)

    • Can you come round and help me please? Hmmmm, not sure about the art work tip. I know I need to get rid of most of them, but a photo wouldn’t be the same. It’s the finished work I love. I need to cull, but that may be the hardest part. I date them all and it’s so wonderful to turn over and remember she was 3, or whatever, when she drew it… x

      • Oh, I’d be there in a flash! 🙂
        Maybe you could pick a few deeply cherished favourites and have them properly framed, and archive the rest in a flat box. Just don’t do what my mum did and stick them to her crumbling bedroom wall with Blu-Tak and leave them there for 25 years!

      • That’s actually what I’ve done – the really special ones are framed and on the wall, the rest are in the attic in, er, several boxes…. x

  3. Yes I hear you sister! I also hoard! I blame having parents who grew up during the Great Depression (my mother never threw anything out, my step mum is exactly the same). My problem is I live in a one bedroom flat so not a lot of space for my “collections”.

    I’m not nearly as sad as some of those folk on TV. I do a wardrobe clear-out every three months, etc. So there is some hope. But find it hard to throw away fashion mags, greeting cards.

    I dream of owning a two bedroom house with cupboards!

    • I have learned to let the magazines and cards go. I threw out 30 copies of World of Interiors last week. SO hard because they are as beautiful as books, but I never open them after the initial read, so what is the point? I’ve still got a pile of Martha Stewart Living I can’t quite part with, but I know I need to. Deep breath… Birthday cards we really don’t need. The recycling of all that paper last week made me feel great. xxx

      • Why not put the magazines on Gumtree in the Free section? There would be lots of people who would like to have them as inspiration or for study course. Or give them to a medical practice or hospital, day centre etc.

      • I’ve done that in the past on Freecycle, but I have so much to do with this clutter clearing, I can’t afford the time that would take and the days of them still littering up the house. So it’s charity shop or recycle – with the very occasional thing going on eBay.

    • Hi Miss Annie,
      I couldn’t leave a response via your question below, so have backtracked to your post here. Yes, it was the Williamstown one! Did you go?

      • Hi Jane,

        Ooh, how was that for an educated guess? Didn’t attend this time – I go when I have spare cash.

        I know it’s on every 6 months.

        They have the most wonderful stuff.

        Unsure whether you have ever shopped at Anonymous Posh in the Royal Arcade but they have closed down (after 30 years) – I am so upset!

      • Anonymous Posh – great name! I didn’t even know it was there. My vintage clothes shopping has always been by chance, except for years ago when we lived in Sydney and I would rock up to the annual Peter Pan Committee’s jumble sale. It was the most amazing sale: once I picked up a tulip skirted bottle green silk velvet Victor Edelstein dress for $10 (it was back in the arly 90s…)!

    • I’m with Maggie! In a perfect world, sending items to “a good home” via Freecycle etc is great, but for the sake of progress and sanity, recycling or op shop expedites the process and motivates you to keep moving and making decisions.

      • You helpled me understand this. It was worth putting the old fridge on ebay, but I am regretting those dopey pillow slips as mentioned before!

  4. Maggie,

    I know exactly what you’re talking about! I spent my weeks holiday at Christmas time cleaning and de-cluttering. The mess can get in the way and the amount if stuff that ended up in the spare room for “later” was amazing. It stayed there until recently when the pending arrival of a guest needed the sofa bed spurred me into action! Good luck! M x

    • I think I need to plan a party to make myself get on top of this… sometimes it’s the only way. x

      • Oh Maggie you always hit a nerve with me with everything you write. I am a chronic hoarder – not the messy unhygenic type but the elastic bands, padded bags, only slightly rumpled tissue paper etc type ( I too reuse these) I also buy clothes from op shops/markets etc that I will never necessarily fit into but cant bear to see them hanging there so dejected when they deserve to be cherished. Case in point – beautiful leather full length camel jacket bought for $10 on the weekend. I have the most extensive “dress up” boxes you have seen. I love a great theme dinner party and have collected a lot of props over time – which my friends regularly borrow. So see – very useful.
        Our problem is with 4 children (& yes all their b’day cards from every year & most of their artwork – all photographed as well – the storage issues on my MAC are a whole other issue ie need additional hard drive issue) we dont really fit into our house. We have 4 sheds outside for further storage and we also have off site storage which we pay for!!!
        I have realised that I too need a deadline to make me address the piles all piled up….my husband always shudders when I plan a party (themed of course) because he knows it ends in a frenzy of “organising” and lots of stress – but always worthwhile in the end.
        Sadly I really have found that when I do bite the bullet and throw something out – not long after I could have really used it!

      • Bite the bullet and throw out the birthday cards… You don’t need those. You really don’t xxx

      • does that mean I have to throw out all my birthday cards that my mum saved for me from birth?? They have such a nice vintagey look now – I dont think I could. And no my mum is not really a hoarder – she threw out my entire collection of Enid Blyton books and I’m still getting over that!

      • Well, you could make a collage of the nicest ones, but do you really need to keep them all? You must have a big house! x

  5. Hi Maggie, I loved that book of yours. I sometimes go back and re-read the section where she clears out Kiki’s apartment, it makes me feel calm and happy!
    Also love shows about cleaning and hoarding. They make me clean and de-clutter!

  6. Awesome Maggie. I live with a hoarder (his hoarding activities have now eased, due to a terrible disability, which is rather terrible, but does have its benefits). He used to hoard everything. Excrement and urine included. It was hellish. The people who really suffer the most are the children and families of hoarders. There’s actually a support organisation for them.

    Learning to de-clutter is a skill like anything, it takes practice. Living with a hoarder was actually one of the best things for me–it made me really, really clutter phobic. I dream of being like this woman, she only owns 170 things! Brilliant!

    I loved the clutter-clearing scenes in your book! It was inspiring!

    • Urine and excrement? wow, that’s really full on, I’ve never heard of it that extreme before. Well done you for staying so positive after living with that. I’m determined to get on top of this, because I can really sense how the downward spiral sets in. Will let you know how I get on… x

  7. Aaaargh!! This is me. I toss and turn about saving vs. clearing out. My house actually looks quite ordered and clutter free…until you open a drawer or cupboard. There is usually only one such place in each room but they whisper in my ear all day (much as your office basket does). We are moving at the end of this year so I am on a mission to clear out – or else I have to pack it all up. Children’s artwork you say? How about the toys? They are everywhere.
    My second favourite blog (after yours ;)) is I read it from the beginning and got lots of great tips which I am trying to put in action. But apparently its a lifelong journey, not a destination (as it appears in the TV shows). Sigh. I’m off to the junk drawer…

    • We are sisters of stuff… Mine used to look orderly, but it has currently spiralled out of control. I need to stage an intervention on myself! I was wishing I could move to make myself do it. x

  8. OK Sorry. When I went back again the rest of it was suddenly there. Technology!

    • oh good! so glad you like it too. It was ahead of its time and I wish they would do a version where they go back and see how the people are doing after years have passed. There’s an American show where they do that and mostly it’s really positive.

  9. You got me wit the blue and white china. How wonderful that you can resist it. At one time, due to a misunderstanding over a gift, I finished up with enough Doulton dinner ware to equip two homes. At least i halved it and gave my daughter a complete set. – which neither of us actually use of course. We like white china on a table. And now I can walk past odd fascinating bits of blue and white china with my head in the air.
    But clothes! They a re not blue and white. And who knows when a person may change size again and need the skinny stuff again or the fat stuff again. Admire those people who have a rule that one new garment in means one old garment out.
    Liked your column this Sunday.. at last they gave you the space you need and a good sized illustration. Jenny Keepitall

    • I can’t stop thinking about that china though. I bet there were patterns I don’t have… it’s very hard to get go of any kind of addiction, even the less toxic ones. With clothes, there’s a tipping point after which you have so many you don’t know what you have and end up just wearing a tiny percentage which are at the top. That’s where I’m up to. I do need to cull, big time.

  10. me too Maggie …boxes of my mothers stuff that belong to me and mysister who knows she is on a good thing…free storage

    Should we all start a group?

  11. Hoarders make me want to stage a spontaneous intervention! NOTHING is more liberating than freedom from clutter.

    However, on the obsessive hurler side, I have been known to throw away the newspaper whilst my husband is still reading it and had to retrieve it from the recycle bin *blush*

  12. I love decluttering (not to you could tell this from the state my apartment is at the moment, but anyway). I love decluttering so much I started blogging about it myself, here:

    As for your basket, I recommend the Flylady ( approach – spend 15 minutes a day on it, and don’t take out more than you can put away in that time. If it is truely overwhelming (and it sounds like it is), I would do the following:

    1. Set the kitchen timer for 15 mins
    2. Pick up whatever item is sitting on the very top
    3. Do whatever needs to be done with it
    4. If the timer has yet to go off, go back to step 2. If the timer has already gone off, congratulate yourself and forget about the basket until tomorrow when you go back to step 1.

    – Isabella

    • Wow, Isabella – this is GREAT advice. I’ve been approaching it that I had to do it ALL in one go, which made me fail every time. I’m very priority driven, so it seems time wasting to me if the thing on top isn’t the most important thing, but as I’m not getting it done at all I can see I need to let go of that.

      Thank you so so much for this. If I make progress I will blog about it. x

  13. Oh, Maggie. I am laughing. How did you know what I’ve been up to?
    Thanks very much, this is just what I needed to read.

    This afternoon I am (ruthlessly) sifting through the archaeological dig that is my study. I will spare you the details. Decluttering my own space is only days old… I have every permutation of dinky folder and label imaginable but it ain’t working!

    For months I have been sorting through Mum’s things. She passed away last year and had kept every card, painting, letter etc that I (and my brother) had ever given her. Plus all our school books and Uni notes. Plus everyone else’s letters and cards.

    Mum also had an extensive collection of clothes, bags and shoes. Immaculately kept and organised. Lovely things from the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond (she was dainty and I am a heifer, so unfortunately I can’t wear much).

    Carefully stored in the wardrobes were my darling Dad’s clothes. He passed away in 1999.( In one sense it was even more difficult for me to sort through his things). But wait, there’s more: lots of my grandmother’s, great aunt’s and aunt’s clothes, jewellery and personal papers. My renegade aunt’s collection of letters and memorabilia (she was a character – ex Tivoli dancer; one time co-manager of Esmeralda’s Barn in the 50s/60s; married to an ex-MI6 ‘cultural attache’…)

    The worst was unpacking all my brother’s things. He went AWOL in 1989.

    You get the picture.

    I am your type of hoarder (though my desk is a pigsty, and I twittered not long ago that years ago, when we were burgled twice, the thieves missed it both times. It was stuffed full of money!).

    When I read your blog today I stopped for quite some time, admiring the blue and white china (so not on task; I even tried to identify the china patterns). I indulged hours of my time on Sunday at an antique fair (even though I have sheds and a whole room full of unpacked stuff HERE). I didn’t buy anything (except for some silver cleaner and a nifty jewellery loupe). I whimpered as I spotted a whole dresser full of TG Green Cornishware. It was a siren call but I resisted.

    I loved How to Break Your Own Heart (just re-read it again). I WILL get better at de-cluttering. But, when it is bound up in so much emotion, God, it’s hard.

    Some decluttering is easy, though. One of the cupboard doors has just creaked open and I can see my prized collection of carrier bags peeking out.
    Maybe I can do it. Though the Jo Malone bag is so pretty…!


    • Gosh, Jane, your brother. That is very very hard. No one should have to do as much sorting through lost family possessions as you have recently. I think you need to cut yourself a break.

      I’m the last one to advise you how to approach this, but is there a friend who could help you? Someone around to make it fun, while so very poignant.

      What have you done with all the clothes? Could you sell 90% of it to a vintage dealer and buy yourself one lovely thing? A Chanel handbag or something for life, which will always make you think of them – while not weighing you down?

      My clutter is really holding me back, but at least it’s all of my own making.

      I wish I could give you a hug. xxx

      • Thanks, Maggie: what a lovely note. Much appreciated.

        I did make a decision early in the process that I hope Mum would have approved of: I took a stand at a vintage fashion fair in Melbourne and decided to ‘celebrate’ Mum’s things: sharing her Italian bags and shoes with an appreciative audience was very cathartic. Yes, there were some tears, but that was fine.

        Some highlights were:

        * the president of the Button Collectors’ Club (!) who bought a gorgeous brilliant green silk cheongsam that Dad had brought back from Singapore in the 70s. Its re-purpose: displaying antique oriental buttons
        * the jaunty group of lady line dancers up from Frankston for the day: they adored Mum’s 70s cinch belts and full circle skirts
        * the charming male zookeeper (and he was all man…) who was on the hunt for cotton or silk scarves to protect his neck from the sun whilst out in the enclosures

        I even had fun writing captions for some of the handbags, eg for a 70s Faigen favourite I wrote: “Sarah gently clasped the butter soft cream leather clutch in her immaculately manicured fingers. Barry couldn’t possibly suspect the blunt instrument that was lurking inside for him…”.

        I have kept some special things (eg Mum’s ‘New Look’ wedding dress) and am delighted that my darling 15 year old has adopted the navy and white spotted dress (trim waisted and bias cut skirt) that Mum wore to my 21st. Yesterday she took it down to her work experience week with the Australian Ballet – again, something that Mum would have adored.

        My husband has been terrifically supportive during this whole process, though I am sure his natural inclination was “give it to the Salvation Army” (actually, he said, “Just stick it in the ute and I’ll drop it off.”). Shortly before we married he arrived here from England with his entire belongings in a back pack and half a tea chest. He is not one for hanging on to stuff.

        So – Phase 2 is to organise/make decisions on what is left; what I have stored here at our place.I have some ideas, so please cross your fingers for me.

        Thanks again, Maggie.

      • Oh Jane, I am wondering which vintage market your stall was at? Was it Williamstown one?

        Such lovely stories re the clothes. All my vintage clothes have special memories – and I have a fair few! (and I wonder abut the people who wore them before me)

      • That is so beautiful – it brought tears to my eyes. Fantastic that you embraced it in such a positive way. I LOVE that you wrote those labels for the handbags, that’s so funny and clever. I love what you’ve told me so much I’d like to use it as my next post – would that be OK with you? Do you have a blog I can link it to?

        Let me know xxx

    • Hi Jane, I couldn’t reply to your other post about the stories you wrote for your items so I am responding here. There is a fiction book you may like (or may even have read). From memory it is called The Secret Life of Dresses. The main vintage items are all sold with an imagined story about their life.
      Massive hugs for having the strength to deal with all of that.

  14. It’s important not to throw useful things away, it’s a highly valid form of recycling. I think it’s unecologically correct not to preserve little bits of wrapping paper and jiffies. If someone told me to chuck that out to save my mind, I’d tell them to fark orf. The clutter clearing can go too far.

  15. Hi Maggie! Life Laundry has an Australian equivalent – Your Life on the Lawn. It’s based on Dawna’s show (she is great!). You can view edited vision at It’s the ten year anniversary of the show, and I’ve been interviewing participants as a follow up… more to come!

    When it comes down to it, organising and decluttering comes down to making decisions about our time and stuff. And chances are, if you’re not so organised, you’re probably needing to skill up on your time management. Just a tip 🙂

    • Hey Lissanne – you are my girl! Can you come over?

      Please let me know when the follow ups are being aired and I’ll tweet and post about it.

      A US show about hoarders I’ve been watching has a follow up section and the really heartening thing is that most of them have stuck with it. There were a couple of tragedies – one where the child had been taken into care, because the father just couldn’t stop dumpster diving and there was no space for the kid to sleep, so so sad – but most them had stuck with their new clutter-free, organised house and improved lives.

      I’m very organised, but just have too much stuff for my space. I reckon I need to shift a third and I’m doing one area at a time.

      • Of course I can come over Maggie! Well, I’m in Melbourne, but Sandy can 🙂 She’s *gifted* at her job as a Professional Organiser.

        My first interview with Your Life on the Lawn peeps is Simon Fenner, second hand dealer. So worth a watch – he’s very insightful about the second hand market… very useful if you want to sell ANYTHING these days (but also good to note your position as a buyer).

        I love that you know you are organised that the volume is something to work on. Keep up the good work!

      • I loved that film – fascinating – especially the bit where he’s saying, ‘hold’ and you’ve written SHUT UP SIMON! Quite funny as i watched it just after I’ve wasted time i could have been clutter clearing putting some dopey vintage pillow cases on eBay, which I will be lucky to get £5 for… The rest is going to the op shop xxx

      • So pleased you liked the Simon shoot. I had fun making it, and I LOVE the information he shares (he’s a generous bloke). Doesn’t it put ‘sellables’ in perspective?

      • Hi Lissanne,

        I have only just realised who you are and am so excited: I was browsing through my books earlier and came across one of my favourites: ‘Sorted’, by Lissanne Oliver! I bought it when it was first released and it was one of the few self-help books I have ever a) read from cover to cover, b) followed advice from and c) kept.

        I remember thinking when it was released that your book had the makings of a perfect workshop: so tempted to contact you and suggest that you turn it into one (I was working in corporate training at the time).Great to see that you are spreading the word far and wide.

        I am still chronically crap at maintaining organisation in my study BUT am so much better than I was before, thanks to your book. At least I get the crucial things done (and am not hated by my bank any more).

    • Also meant to say – the stuff on the lawn aspect was one of my favourite things about Life Laundry, but I didn’t have room to go into it on the post, so great that your show made that a feature.

  16. Hi Maggie,

    I would be honoured to be mentioned in your next post. How lovely – thank you.

    I don’t have a blog – yet. It is on my list of things to do. As you may have gathered, I do enjoy writing, and thanks to your blog, I have been encouraged to do so, as you always generously respond!

    The only other link I have is to Twitter (mudhousejane) but that is not terribly exciting. I originally set it up so that I could do my grumpy old woman rant during Q&A on the ABC (it’s a panel discussion of politics etc on Monday nights).

    Thanks SO much,


  17. You’ve inspired me with this post… Having to sort out our cottage in UK for an impending (more or less permanent) move to Melbourne I definitely have to start doing more hurling than hoarding.. Hoarding costs too much in storage too. Am taking some things but others that I don’t want to get rid of I cannot bear to just chuck away. It is a real dilemma. Am going to re read your book again too and procrastinate a little more, that’s a far better idea.
    I am fascinated by that OCD cleaning programme – a kind of morbid fascination though – how can people actually function living that way and do you think they go back eventually to the same kind of clutter/mess/hoarding?

    • it’s totally a morbid fascination for me too, but it has inspired me to face up to what I need to do. I think paying for storage really is a mug’s game. Try clearing one cupboard and see how it feels. It might not be right for you, but it’s set me up to keep going x

  18. Here’s a tip for you all – my DVD was completely out of control so last year I took a trip up to a major office supply retailer and purchased some very smart looking storage boxes. They have flip top lids and contain a mini filing system with pockets.

    So I spent a very pleasant afternoon filing all my DVD’s (alphabetically no less!) and tossing away the covers.

    My collection now takes up about a third of the space is used to!

    • Yes, I did the same a few years ago, after seeing it a friend’s house. Was hard to chuck the packaging out, wasn’t it, but so worth it. Also you can pick up 60 DVDs in one movement – brilliant! I’ve done the same with all my CDs, which i couldn’t chuck out after I downloaded them (I probably should!).

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