Thursday, 22 December 2011

When does hoarding become a bad thing?

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 know I'm a bit bad myself. (I have had Cash in the Attic round once and the presenter said he'd never been in a house with more stuff.) I once moved house and when I gave the list of stuff to the removals company, there was a pause and she asked "is it a school?".

    I've recently been researching HD Lee, the founder of Lee Jeans. He got divorced in 1889 but when his wife died in 1923 it made the national papers. Among other stuff she had 1000 paids of mittens (never unwrapped) a grand piano still in its box and 92 wash basins. It did make me think about the massive collection of sock wool I've amassed. At least I do knit socks though! She didn't play the piano.

    We joke about our stashes, but I've probably got enough yarn to last a lifetime and notebooks and pens to write about 32 novels.
    I've found that yoga helps me by taking away the need to aquire stuff, and giving me the consciousness to remind me that if I bought it I wouldn't have anywhere to put it.
    Then again, I do have quite a lot of yoga kit too.

    Fortunately I can still invite friends over and sit down with them (after I've cleared the knitting and writing off the chairs), When Mrs. Emma Lee died she had no bed and there was no room in her house for a coffin. The undertaker had to sling her over his shoulder and carry outside. There's a thought to make you start on the decluttering. (Sorry!)

  2. This is interesting because my parents are hoarders and it started getting ridiculous. When you would walk into their house it would be a huge clutter. Recently, we hired Shenandoah Junk removal and they got rid of so much for them, making their house such a better living area.