In 2002, Judy Nicholas was almost killed in a road accident. The near-death experience was a wake-up call. For 35 years the former nurse had hoarded clothes, furniture and knick-knacks at her Eastwood home. She could be found collecting junk from the roadside and haunted garage sales and op shops, “stuffing the house with objects”.

The accident made her realise her daughters would be burdened with disposing of her possessions if she died.

“For 12 years now, I’ve been decluttering,” she said.

Ms Nicholas felt she had lost control over life. She suffered from post-natal depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and cared full-time for her mentally ill husband and daughters. But hoarding restored a sense of control.

“There’s also a real vacuum if you don’t have enough love and connection in your relationship,” she said. “Your identity becomes bound up in stuff to give you self-esteem.”

The 72-year-old is proud of tackling her problem but “overwhelmed by what I still have to do. I don’t want to be caught short and die before I’ve finished this exercise.”

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Remember, if you or someone you know is suffering from hoarding, you can contact us at for help.

1 Comment
  1. I think this is a common problem of each person in this world. We collect the things all our whole conscious life and then get into the trap of all that rubbish picked and bought for years of living. I had the similar situation and a special form of hoarding. I am an essayist, and I do not why, but I prefer to hold them printed in a large pile. Once after putting another essay kittens of mine were smashed by the huge pile of essays that has fallen on them. Hoarding is awful. Avoid it.

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