Written by Hazel Davis


For the children of hoarders

Growing up in the house of a hoarder offers a particular collection of experiences. And a passion for bleach. Hazel Davis has gathered them together, but didn’t want to sit on them.

Illustrations by Harriet Carmichael.

1. The smell of bleach makes you secretly happy. Even though you know it’s just about the worst thing there is, and it kills fish, and sucks the spirit from a house, it represents Clean and it can undo all ills.

2. A pile of anything makes you feel itchy and stressed, even if it’s chocolate. You know you’ll never be able to do the Marie Kondo thing because the very idea of putting your things in piles takes you back to your parents’ settee and the pile of clothes which was either dirty washing or ironing. Nobody really knew. See also: rising water in a sink.

3. Jumble sales do not represent bargains. They represent bulging sacks of clothes you inexplicably had in your hallway for five years as a teenager.

4. People coming to the door or “just passing” fills you with a weepy fear. Even though your house has clear surfaces and somewhere to sit and doesn’t smell like cat sick, a knock on the door makes you want to quickly redecorate.

5. You bloody love a hotel. Even though you’re extremely fond of your own house and pets and children and decor, the idea of being in a hotel where someone else cleans your room and you are 100 per cent guaranteed fresh sheets, makes you almost dizzy with happiness.

6. Your house is broadly tidy but you have a drawer (or two) absolutely rammed with stuff, like Monica’s cupboard in Friends. Nobody can ever go in them and if they do, you contemplate moving house afterwards.

7. When other people say, “Oh yeah our house was ‘messy’ growing up” you want to push their face in a patch of old cat sick and say, “I DON’T THINK YOU HAVE THE FAINTEST IDEA, MATE.”

8. You always wash up within 10 minutes of finishing a meal. Even though it makes you look super-neurotic and even though your every limb and all your guests are telling you to sit down, you’re worried you might accidentally go on holiday to Scotland for two weeks and leave it festering in the bowl (no YOUR parents did this).

9. You spray so much perfume on yourself that people wince when you walk in a room.

10. You never watched the TV show Stoppit and Tidyup, even though everyone said it was brilliant, because the title made you too stressed and sad and you were scared it was secretly about your house.

11. You sniff everything you touch. Just in case.


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Written by Hazel Davis

Hazel Davis is a freelance writer from West Yorkshire. She has two tiny children but the majority of her hours are taken up with thinking about Alec Baldwin singing sea shanties and the time someone once called her "moreishly interesting".