It's time to stop hoarding. Let it go.

Image: iStock

I’m genetically predisposed to hoarding. My dad likes to get a good thirty years’ wear from a t-shirt before he’s satisfied that he’s got every last cent (and piece of elasticity) out of it.

While my mum is like a ruthless Tinder dater: gathering up possessions like men’s phone numbers, then deciding she’s over them all, binning them off (literally) and two days later deeply regretting it.

It’s no surprise that I’ve always clung onto material goods like they were limbs, or close pals. But friends they are not, with experts now describing many of us as ‘stuffocated’ – victims of an unhealthy, unfulfilling epidemic of mass material accumulation. Possibly fuelled by late-night binges on The Iconic, though this part is not scientifically proven.

The anti-venom for stuffocation is a bloody good clear out. And I’ve tried it. I was forced to minimise my life six months ago when I upped sticks from London to Sydney. And, the weirdest bit, I haven’t missed a single that thing I ditched.

It's not trash, I swear!

OK, people, you can do this too. Bin-liners at the ready…

1. Get back on eBay

I know what you’re thinking: ‘Isn’t that a bit 10 years ago?’ Actually, it’s more like 16. It’s like the MySpace of retail – you wonder if anyone is actually still on there. Well, let me tell you – they are. I earned the equivalent of a second month’s salary by eBaying clothes, unopened cosmetics and old tech. I’m not going to lie, it’s not the most fun you’ll ever have on a Sunday afternoon (possibly the least). It’s still a faff to upload the photos and the descriptions (though the app makes it a billion times easier), and the staff in the Post Office dread seeing you and your 15 packages almost as much as you dread the queue. But it works.

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2. Edit your ex-boyfriend box

We all have one: a top-secret box filled with romantic mementos of ex-partners past. My initial reaction was to store mine at my parents’ house, because obviously it was full of such romantic treasures that throwing it out would be a crime to St Valentine himself. Then I looked inside.
There was the Valentine’s poem written in 2006 from a guy who turned out to be a cock. There was an origami rose made by a guy who turned out to be a bit of a cock. And there was a ‘thanks for last night’ sex note from a guy who wasn’t a cock, but whose actual cock I didn’t need any reminding about. I binned everything.


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3. Be brutal with your wardrobe

A Fashion Editor friend once told me, “Never buy an item of clothing if you don’t want to wear it more than anything you already own.” It’s brilliant advice, and, ahem, had I actually acted on it, it would have saved me a lot of wardrobe space and money. But it’s a statement that’s just as relevant when sorting through your existing clothes. You’ve got to love an item to actually wear it – and you need to be in love right now, not three years ago or when you were a different dress size. If it doesn’t make you feel great, it’s gone. And it you ever catch yourself thinking the words, ‘Oh it will be fine once I’ve shortened it / fixed that hole / chopped the sleeves off and dyed it black’, well, you know the drill.

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4. Make a charity shop / homeless refuge’s day

This is the absolute best part of de-hoarding. Donating the things that you no longer need – but that someone else really does – gives a buzz like no other. During my de-cluttering period, I realised that while some families have heirlooms or jewels that get passed down the generations, I seemed to have inherited the entire bloodline’s supply of bed linen, duvets, towels and pillows. (What can I say, we like sleeping). The very last thing I did before I relocated to Australia was to donate them all to a women’s refuge. I left on a high.

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