The stress of moving house...and quitting a hoarding habit

In the digital age memories are so easily captured that you’d think we’d all have less “stuff”. Well, you’d be wrong in my case

Share

Moving time in the Hatfield household. Allegedly, it’s the third most stressful event in life after death and divorce, but whoever came up with that statement was clearly a man, because he left off childbirth, not to mention going to Craven Cottage.

Let’s not dwell on the predictable horror of estate agents, solicitors, house-price inflation, movers, councils and their taxes, parking permits, mortgages, Sky, Virgin, BT and the endless list of others I haven’t begun to get around to. Ultimately, they are simply a logistical nightmare that we all have to work through, without bankrupting ourselves. Bloody smoke alarms!

It’s the emotional toll that’s heavier. We really haven’t been at number 14 that long, but they were crucial teenage years in my girls’ short lives and, remarkably, I’m on my fourth job at this address. We know and like our neighbours, the Tube is literally around the corner, there is room to commune, and space to escape. We even get a decent crop from three olive trees – in Chiswick!

These alone would be enough to make this move melancholic, but that’s without factoring in all the memories that linger in our home’s DNA: from the moving-in champagne in the last spot of garden sunlight and planting those trees, to wonderful full-house Christmases, the laughter of teens around our circular dining table to their clomping footsteps on wood floors (note to self: get stair carpets) and ridiculous stage-shushing as they return from nights out a touch worse for wear.

Not all memories are great - from the worst: the bastard burglars who trashed our bedroom, and the day the police and their dogs chased other suspected burglars through our garden, to the relatively minor: the Wednesday morning bin-liner devastation wrought by too-friendly neighbourhood foxes and the endless cash expended in pursuit of a fully functioning and legal boiler.

In the digital age memories, good and bad, are so easily captured that you’d think we’d all have less “stuff”. Well, you’d be wrong in my case. Exactly because digital mementos reside within that laptop, iPad or cloud, physical ones have taken on even greater resonance.

Thus, I can’t bear to part with any souvenirs of five years lived in New York, and a previous London life, let alone the last five years. Then there’s holiday “tat”: tickets to Pompeii, the Langkawi turtles, cowboy hats from the Alamo, tea-tins from Thailand. And what about those LUFC and FFC matchday programmes? We haven’t even mentioned clothes!

I used to watch Obsessive Compulsive Hoarders or The Hoarder Next Door with horror, until the girls ever so kindly pointed out that I’ve become that person. But, dear reader, how do you throw out those memories? I can scarcely do the charity shop thing, let alone eBay. I’m in need of real help before Thursday because I am being told, firmly, that “it’s not going to number 9”. Purple fleece from the launch of a previous newspaper anyone? Anyone?

Stefano Hatfield is editorial director of London Live

Twitter.com: @stefanohat

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Client Services Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior / Senior Sales Broker - OTE £100,000

£20000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportuni...

Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Duty Manager is required to join one of the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Leader

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Team Leader is required to join one of the l...

Day In a Page

Read Next
9.4 million people watched the first of the three-way debates at the last election. The audience for the one on Thursday is likely to be far lower.  

David Cameron needs to learn some new tricks – and fast

Steve Richards
The 2010-formed Coalition was led by a partly reformed Conservative Party, checked and balanced by Nick Clegg  

How did the Coalition ever manage to work together so harmoniously?

Isabel Hardman
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor