Sunday, 11 December 2011

Hands up those of you who saw the documentary about hoarding last night?

Judging by Twitter I wasn’t alone in feeling very disturbed by the lack of compassion or understanding that some of the neighbours displayed    ..and a feeling of intense claustrophobia! 

 Mental health issues aside, what particularly struck me was how fine the line is between storing and hoarding. At what point do you tip over from being someone who stores things to protect your resources and reuse where possible to being a ‘hoarder’? Is it about the sheer quantity of ‘things’ that you keep, or whether you actually reuse, recycle or upcycle them?

I'm sure that many of our MIAMI friends and members are very good at not throwing things away indiscriminately, but what is it that stops us keeping everything? Where do we draw the line? Keeping something that's broken or not to your taste or useful any more isn’t sustainable either. Taken to extremes you're just creating a landfill site in your home.

So what do you do if you don’t want something anymore, but can’t stand it being thrown away? Obviously you can reuse it or repurpose it, but if that isn’t going to happen, you could offer it to someone who might want it. There are lots of sites on the net where you can donate, swap sell or recycle your goods, so it's worth spending a few minutes seeing what other people want.

So as we rush headlong into Christmas and the chance to acquire yet more ‘things’, 
what's going to dictate what you throw away and what you keep? 
What’s your litmus test?  
Tell us where  you draw the line? 

>>Click here for your chance to catch up on Obsessive, Compulsive Hoarder

Hilary Bruffell


  1. I totally agree with you Make It and Mend It. There was a nasty man on Broadcasting House (Radio 4) this morning saying that the 'middle class' people who are crafting can afford to spend, and in the current environment have a duty to. Pfshaw. Silly man. For me making things is about a) saving some money (not avoiding spending, just buying the materials rather than 'samey' finished items made in China) b) spending my leisure time in a meaningful way that is therapeutic and productive(because I work full time and have children)and c) making things for people I love that are unique, imbued with the feelings I have for them and which teach better values to counter the prevalent idea that what matters at Christmas is getting an expensive consumer good that will clutter up the house/break/not live up to expectations. Kirstie and Sally are both wrong, as was the man on the radio. I'm quite furious about it actually.

  2. For me, making crafts is enjoyable, and a better way to spend a cold or wet day than just moaning about the weather. "It's perfect knitting weather" I say. I agree it's therapeutic and also I give things I make to my favourite animal charity; they sell them to help raise funds. I didn't hear the "nasty man" on Broadcasting House but I disagree with him. I've been on 'Broadcasting House' too... talking about when I was an air hostess in the 1950s/60s and my book "Before There Were Trolley Dollies".

  3. After reading the above comments can i just say that i have been crafting for more years than i care to remember i find it relaxing and throughout my life i have taught people to crochet and to dress make at the moment i am very busy making wedding dresses and bridesmaid outfits plus alterations as and when they turn up on my doorstep yes it is a way of saving money but its also a good way to sit with friends and have a natter i don't have a problem with Kirstie's show but i get cross when its not done properly or its made to look very easy and quick good things take time to complete

  4. Completely agree about reskilling people and getting the next generation involved. I run Teen Couture classes. We encourage young teenagers to upcycle and sew for the first time. The idea is to teach them traditional skills whilst gaining realization that they don't have to be dependant on the High Street and throw away fashion. I truly believe this class and teaching Make Do and Mend helps us understand the value of the things we already have rather than looking for the next credit card hit. The debate is healthy, but let's hope the end result is an upsurge in UK craftsmanship and therefore manufacture.