Evening Standard - ES Magazine

Preparing to move home and witnessing a lifetime of accumulati­on boxed up in front of her eyes, was Susie Lau hoarder-shamed?

- @susiebubbl­e

Iam writing this while sitting on a small patch of floor space in the middle of a castle of piled-up giant laundry bags. The checked variety that you get in pound shops that are the only viable way to carry a high volume of clothes. They’re threatenin­g to collapse on top of me, so every sentence is being typed out with trepidatio­n. But that’s the least of my troubles in comparison to the mammoth task of packing up mine and my daughter’s life in a day and moving our mountain of material accumulati­on to my partner’s house. Oh, and I happened to time it with the hottest day in the UK this year. Well done me!

And so with sloth-like, sweat-drenched, heavy-limbed motions, a team of four movers packed my boxes. I couldn’t even muster sloth energy and instead, with hands raised above my head, implored to whatever celestial beings or powers-that-be were up in the skies: ‘Why on earth had I accrued SO. MUCH. STUFF?’

There’s a reason why I’ve kept the process of moving house to the absolute bare minimum in adult life. When vaguely stored and settled in an acceptable state of liveable chaos, my belongings disturb no one, and vice versa. Stacks of pretty fashion show invitation­s, lookbooks and random notes from designers sit there gathering dust but their presence soothes me. My ludicrous collection of vintage slip dresses rolled and tucked into little nude satin nuggets sits in a MatchesFas­hion box (big fan of their marbled packaging btw) and may or may not be worn, but at least they look pleasing. None of this quite possibly useless parapherna­lia is meant to be shifted from one place to another. They sit in static peace and that is perfectly fine by me.

Seeing strangers haul my things into plastic boxes sent me into a tissue-paper wrapped spin. I’m pretty sure they were shaming my low-level hoarding habits on the many breaks they had to take from the intensely hot working conditions. Then once the many, MANY (I’m not going to give an exact figure of how many crates were used but suffice to say the moving company grossly underestim­ated what was required) plastic containers were moved into the new house, I made the fundamenta­l mistake of asking my dad to come help me unpack.

My dad is a hardcore grafter, but the trade off for the free elbow grease that he’s proffering to his children is that he gets to criticise ceaselessl­y. The shaking of his head got increasing­ly more dramatic through the day. The more bags he saw, the deeper and deeper his eyebrows furrowed. And as he unwrapped jar after jar of chilli oil (look, they are all distinctly different flavours, okay?) he gravely said, ‘You’re going to scare him when he sees this,’ thus inferring that my STUFF will be a man repellent.

It’s the kind of inter-generation­al, patriarchy-lite comment that my sisters and I routinely roll our eyes at in instant dismissal. But in a fraught instant of this mammoth move, being goaded about my life’s work of holding onto things, I had to take a moment, sit in the bathroom, devour half a pork pie and a gallon of tap water and breathe some fresh (actually stale) air.

Just to be clear, this isn’t a tale of Marie Kondo-esque revelation. I am very much happy with the many, many Miuccia Prada-inspired skirt options. They just somehow need to get from box to hanger to rail, so that I can run my hands over everything and breathe out a stupidly giddy happy sigh. Easier said than done.

“In a fraught instant of this mammoth move, I had to take a moment, sit in the bathroom and devour half a pork pie”

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