The people who never throw things out.

Keep much?

Courtney Love’s hoarding habits killed the cat. Or so her daughter says.

Frances Bean, said in a statement to the courts (when she was filing from a restraining order from her mother in 2009) that the family’s beloved cat died after it became entangled in piles of fabrics, paperwork and mounds of trash.

That information has just been released in a book called Courtney Comes Clean. Although Courtney denies it is true and whether or not she is a true hoarder is the subject of much internet speculation.

But a new report – from Catholic Community Services – has suggested that more than 1 million Australians are compulsive hoarders – many of whom need urgent medical help.

The ABC reports:

A conference in Sydney is looking at the issue of hoarding and squalor.

Dr Chris Mogan, who treats compulsive hoarders in Australia, describes the problem as a “severe over-attachment to things”.

“Their relationships with people are affected … [it] is very difficult for the non-hoarder to understand, but the possessions become part of them,” he told ABC News Breakfast.

Anyone can be a hoarder according to Dr Morgan, who says the “condition” doesn’t discriminate on the basis of age either. He wants hoarding, which is “five times more prevalent than schizophrenia” recognised as a clinical condition.

In the US, there are shows dedicated to people’s compulsive hoarding habits.

Last week on ABC’s Life Matters, writer Clementine Ford admitted her own tendencies to hoard. She said she identified as a hoarder after she read a book by comedian Corrine Grant (

Lessons in Letting Go: Confessions of a Hoarder

She also spoke about the effect moving around as a child had effected her tendency to hold onto things. “I think that when you moved around a lot you tend to attach sentimentality to objects because it gives you what you feel is a grounded place in your own history,” she said.


But if you keep everything, she said, nothing means anything. Which is why she’s started clearing our years’ worth of stuff.

Calls and comments to the segment were interesting. People spoke of not being able to throw anything that they thought could be used one day. One woman admitted that hoarding had ended her marriage. And someone asked the question: ‘What right does anyone tell me I have to tidy up my home?’

You can listen to that full interview here.

I’ve always wondered where the line between nostalgia stops and the hoarding begins. Or what about collecting and hoarding? Trash and treasure? I never realised how much I’d held onto over the years until I attempted to pack up my life and move it interstate a few months ago. I’d kept everything from birthday cards to my ENTIRE high school uniform. Knee-high socks and all. But why?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is guilty of keeping special things. We all love to take trips down memory lane; they remind us of where we’ve come from, what we’ve achieved and the people who’ve played important roles in our lives. But I’m wondering – do we need physical objects to reminisce? If something has been significant enough in our lives, surely memory – is enough. Isn’t it?

Do you hold onto things you don’t need anymore? Where’s the line on what to keep and what to throw out? What have you kept and what have you saved?