Alison McQueen


Clutter Curse

I am not a hoarder. Never have been. There is nothing in our attics. Why box stuff up and shove it up there, never to see the light of day again? I don’t understand why people do that. When we moved here from our last house, we threw all the attic detritus into a skip without even looking at it. (Actually, that’s not entirely true: anything that was thought useful was taken to a charity shop.)

Clutter breeds all on its own. I’m convinced of it. One moment you’re minding your own business writing a book, and the next, you can hardly get through the front door. Why we insist on keeping things is rather beyond me: hideous Christmas gifts, impulse purchases that never suited you in the first place, mis-matched crockery and old threadbare towels. The general pattern in this house is that I go into de-clutter mode about once every 18 months, indisciminately throwing everything out that isn’t either nailed down or essential to our survival. Yet this time, I’m thinking I might take a leaf out of my elder daughter’s book and flog the whole lot on eBay. She is constantly selling things, and raking in a tidy fortune by the looks of it. I have to say, I wasn’t impressed when she helped herself to a few vintage dresses out of my wardrobe and sold them to supplement her student bar bill, but it was a lesson learned nonetheless.

I have no idea how to sell something on eBay, but I’m determined to drag myself into the 21st century and give it a bash. I have registered myself with an account, dusted off an old camera which I am assured is digital, and been given a quick demo of how to do it (none of which I can remember).

One of my cleaners listed her husband on eBay not so long ago when he was getting on her nerves. She posted up a photograph of him and gave a full description of the goods, stating “comes with his own clothes and everything”. She was subsequently contacted by the authorities, her eBay account closed, and told that she had been reported for attempted human trafficking.