15 Signs You’re a Hoarder + What To Do About It…

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Spring is associated with a spirit of renewal and rebirth. The buds unfurl. The bees drum the pollen. And spring’s perfumes are sown into the fabric of the early evening. It’s a renaissance of the natural world, and all things bright + beautiful come out to celebrate.

Not I.

As a self-confessed hoarder, this season inspires a steely fear in my heart. The hibernation is over. It’s time to release my grip on the slow cooker and shed my cable knits. It’s not that I adore the cold. (Okay, I do a little bit.) It’s just that, as winter winds to a close, I feel less like a newborn lamb and more like a rotund badger blinking in the bright light after months and months of carb-loading.

The gals from Grey Gardens and Francis Bacon – all renowned for their hoarding… Images sourced L to R: huffingtonpost.com, albumsceline.blogspot.fr and etsy.com

Whilst the purists are throwing open the doors and taking to the streets to parade their blitz-cleaning tendencies, I’m still hoarding nuts and berries. In fact, I’m always hoarding. It’s a problem. I live in fear of running out of… everything. Even things that I will never (ever) need (again). I keep them. Just in case.

Recently I moved house. It was a shock. An eye-widening experience. So much so that I am mending my ways. I’ve turned over a new leaf and this year (this year!) things will be different. I shed many (many, many) things. And I’m determined to stay light + fleet-footed for as long as possible.

Homely or hoardy? Images sourced L to R: desiretoinspire.net and slimpaley.com

And, like any zealous new convert, I’m spreading the word in a self-righteous way. 🙂 It’s time to take a long hard look at yourself. Are you a hoarder? Here are 15 signs that you’re on the band wagon.

  1. You have birthday cards, pressed daisy chains + notes dating back to high school, chronicling Blake Feehan’s babelicious hair and what a total yawnfest Mr Love was in Physics. (Oliver Sacks kept nearly 1000 journals and you can’t say he wasn’t a success, I hear you say.)
  2. You are your own personal library. You’ve read less than 30% of the books you own. But how will you reread a book if you don’t own it? (Especially if you haven’t read it the first time.)

Margaret Olley – another creative sprite who existed in… well… mess. Images sourced L to R: blackwoodphoto.com.au and with Ben Quilty and his 2011 Archibald Prize winning portrait of Ms Olley from theage.com.au

  1. You could re-create Christo’s iconic wrapping of the Sydney Opera House with the wrapping paper that you’ve salvaged from gifts for future use.
  2. You’ve kept the course readers from your undergrad courses – that degree was expensive. You’re going to get your money’s worth when you sit down and read them cover-to-cover very soon.

All of the memories and Christo’s 1969 wrapping of the Sydney Opera House. Images sourced L to R: nothingbutsinkingships.tumblr.com, completelycontrived.com and deutscherandhackett.com

  1. You’ve kept Denny’s napkins, wonky Eiffel Tower key rings and motel shower caps from when you backpacked across Europe and the US. Good times…
  2. You have all your signed yearbooks. In fact, you have your signed school uniform complete with Muck Up Day egg stains and black markered messages from people you’ve never seen again.

A few of your favourite things… Images sourced L to R: michelle-s.com and nicety.livejournal.com

  1. You’ve hung onto that cheap terracotta-coloured foundation for emergency (oompaloompa) applications. (Waste not, want not.)
  2. Your filing system is more of a piling system. And it’s a movable feast. It can migrate easily from room to room.
  3. Bear, your very first teddy, still holds pride of place in your room even though his eyeless, formless face gives you horrid mares.

Arty or chaotic? American sculptor and maker of the mobile Alexander Calder’s home far right. Images sourced: markdsikes.com and mondo-blogo.blogspot.com

  1. You have an entire box devoted to random keys that will unlock unknown but undoubtedly important things.
  2. Your grundy drawer supports a tribe of Lone Ranger socks – you will not give up hope for the return of their better halves.

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” ― George R.R. Martin. Images sourced L to R: domainehome.com and newgreyarea.blogspot.co.uk

  1. You’ve relocated several unmarked boxes of stuff to your last three residences without once opening them.
  2. You’re stockpiling tins of asparagus and champignons for the apocalypse. The fact that you don’t like them will help to make them last.

Good times, good times… Images sourced L to R: msmadelyn.blogspot.com and indulgy.com

  1. You have a box full of badges, concert tickets, ripped band tees and cassettes that you’re going to make into a sculptural mural wall. Tomorrowish.
  2. When you spring clean, you spend more time re-living your glory days and retrieving things from the bin than actually culling anything.

Images sourced L to R: flickr.com and apartmenttherapy.com

Yes. I know this space well. So what can you do about it? We refer you to the expert, Peter Walsh. This man knows his stuff. De-cluttering is a skill. BUT everyone can learn it. Whether you stockpile your footy socks or play the dirty-plate-Jenga game, you can be saved…

Plus, gaining control over your space will enhance your life. It could even make you HAPPY. Read more here.


Images sourced L to R: squaremeal.tumblr.com and shopruche.blogspot.com

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.