You called yourself a hoarder, what made you change?

Hi Lissanne,

Thanks for your newsletters, really finding them useful. I have actually gone through most of your book and have put some of the suggestions in place. But i would like to ask you called yourself a hoarder in the beginning of the book, what made you change. Being also a hoarder I find it hard to “let-go” of stuff. I am tackling paper at the moment and scanning stuff to try and avoid build up, however it is taking forever…..going through magazines and tearing pages i like and chucking out the magazine, but i still find myself looking at my stuff and thinking, whoa this is still too much! This is partly due to having too many hobbies and therefore i have mags and articles for yoga, property, handyman, home, spirituality etc…..but what i am interested in is how you changed your thinking and decide this is what i will keep and this is what i will get rid of. After seeing a few other houses during open for inspection and most of them seem to be minimalists to me, they just don’t have much stuff. Really curious how the mental thing works from altering your mental view of clutter.

thanks in advance.


Hi Lucy

Great question! My answer has several parts.

Changing my thinking was mostly due to having to move house a number of times and physically lugging stuff about… Man, that is hard work. I think I also started thinking more about what “need” really was in my world, and that had an impact.

(this process was a good ten year period – from late teens to late 20’s)

Finally, I decided to travel, and I bought a one-way ticket to London and sold pretty much everything: car, furniture, loved bits and bobs. I really edited down to the PRECIOUS items, and I made good decisions as I still have those items today!!

Hope this helps… and btw, it doesn’t have to take ten years! 🙂

The old tearsheets (cutting stuff out from mags) is a tough habit to break, but it can be done.

For you Lucy, I would start thinking about the behaviours you currently have: our time needs to be spent on what MATTERS so if tearing, scanning, saving etc really matters, keep it up. I still have a small selection of tearsheets for creative projects, home renovation etc but I can tell you honestly, hand on heart, it’s still too much. I don’t refer to them as much as I think I will, all this kind of ‘hoarding’ (and I use that term loosely] in my life takes up precious space in our small apartment, and seriously wastes my time. It’s hard to think we might ‘miss out’ by not saving that nice picture, article or recipe, but let’s remember we use just 3% of the paper/information we keep. Part of the solution is also to make sure you REVIEW what you’re keeping periodically, once or twice a year (min) is ideal. You will realise how little these things matter when you REVIEW.

Also, don’t be misled by those ‘minimalist’ houses, particularly when a home is ‘staged’ for sage: there is often a lot that’s been scoop and dumped behind closed doors!

4 responses to “You called yourself a hoarder, what made you change?

  1. I lived with a hoarder for 8 years, although he wasnt your classic hoarder – he had plans for his stuff, but didnt live long enough to achieve it all, Everything he collected was for a reason.

    But after he died I had the job of disposing of it all, which was a huge job. It curbed my own, smaller, habit of hoarding, although I find it difficult to pass books by, and difficult to part with them.

    I think what can also help is a goal – not just for a tidy house and less stuff, but a repainted wall, curtains, floor coverings, even re-arranging the furniture so the room works better. Its all easier when there is less stuff in the way.

    Another side effect is that things are easier to find, and you know what you have, and what you need.

    I had boxes and boxes of magazines. I too tore out pages and kept them. but never opened the folders once they were full, so out they went. Unless you are actually going to use the recipes, articles, or pictures, its a waste of time. What I would do with recipes is follow them while in the magazine, and if I intended making it again, I pasted it into an exercise book.

    Magazines can be passed on to other people, hair dressers, hospitals, or friends who want them, but they appreciate them complete. I also figure once I have read it, that’s it – out it goes.

    As for what to keep and what to get rid of, start by sorting them into categories, with no decisions made until that sorting is done. Then sort each category of items – computer, electrical, stationery, paperwork, ornaments, toys, etc. Makes the decisions easier. Toss what is broken, or never used, or not appreciated, and keep the rest.

    hth, and good luck

  2. I’m loving the green-printed articles & arrows – and people’s comments. I was nearly going to print this page – so informative and inspiring it was – and put it into some file to file to file, but I’ve added it to Favorites on my computer instead.

  3. Some great comments, thanks. I have turned into an incredible hoarder, though at the moment it is not a great problem. But at times it can be dangerous.I am 60 with severe osteoarthritis in a hip, live by myself in a 4 bedroom house and 3 1/2 of those bedrooms are full. One, of course is my bedroom, another a guest room/sewing room and currently full of fabric, the ‘middle’ room was a massage room but I had a big birthday party here in February and it is now full of junk/stuff from other rooms/places in the house. The forth bedroom is partly sorted, about halfway done.
    I too have trouble with those patterns and recipes I will use one day. I am a size 20 and it was only for the party did I start to get rid of the clothes I had that were sizes 12 – 18. I knew I would not only loose the weight but would love to wear those clothes again. I have another largish box of clothes I keep threatening to take to the opshop. I make all sorts of excuses to not take them – it is too wet, I am too busy etc.
    I have been investigating the origins of hoarding and from what I can find out it is often related to poverty/low income status. Also I don’t know but I have bipolar and a touch of OCD. I am wondering if there may be a link there somehow.
    Thanks for your newsletter Lisanne (I hope I have spelled it correctly), I am now inspired to start by taking the box of clothes to the opshop on Monday.

  4. I no longer tear pages out of mags, as I don’t like to have the stacks of torn pages taking up my space, and I almost never look at them either. Now if I’m really keen on something I see in a magazine I’ll either take down the website attached to that article/ picture and look it up later or I take a photo of it on my ‘phone and then file it electronically or look up the website later. i have found that i don’t really take as many pics as I used to tear pages out of magazines, and even if I did they wouldn’t be cluttering my space and making dust.

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