I HAVE a confession. I am a hoarder.

I’m moving house next month so thought it prudent to get an early start on the packing and now I wish I’d started last year.

It’s bad day when you realise your life could be part a reality tv show. I’ve watched the show Hoarders and been suitably aghast at the things people keep in their homes. I’ve recoiled in horror at the sheer volume of junk these people manage to squeeze in to every nook and cranny and thought to myself “Why on earth would you keep that?”.

Then I started packing and realised; I am one of them.

I collect everything and part with nothing. And I have no idea why.

I found an entire bag filled with wrapping paper, gift bags, cards and tags. You know, just in case. Everyone knows birthdays are unpredictable. You just never know when they’re going to pop up, so it’s best to be prepared.

An entire section in my cutlery draw was full of salt and sauce sachets collected from too many jaunts to fast food establishments. A sad indictment of my hangover diet (and more worryingly, perhaps, my appetite for red wine).

Why have I saved these things? I can only guess for a ‘rainy day’ when supplies of salt and sauce are dire and times are hard and desperate. Because, you know, come Armageddon, salt and sauce will be everyone’s priority.

A spaghetti bundle of mystery wires, cables and chargers were also uncovered. After the mammoth task of de-tangling, I found a home for them in a box. Under no circumstances can these be discarded. You might not recognise them right now, you may not know what device they match up to, you probably haven’t used them in five years, but they must be essential so are not to be parted with.

Not so essential, but something I seem to keep by the hundreds is plastic carrier bags. I like to think I’m a conscious recycler so it’s important that I keep every single plastic bag that comes into my possession. That way, see, I will most definitely remember to take them with me on my next trip to the supermarket. Except that never happens. I forget each and every time and have to buy another eight bags in there, which are then added to the already bulging selection.

Birthday and Christmas cards are another part of my clutter-collection. I have some dating back 16 years. I’m not even in touch with half the people they’re from anymore, but somehow, if I part with them I know that makes me a bad person, so I won’t. They, along with old concert tickets and school jotters, will stay at the back of a box marked ‘Lisa’s stuff’ for the next 10 years (read forever).

I also have batteries. A sea of them. All used. (It’s amazing how quickly you accumulate the things when you have young children). I’m not keeping these out of choice but I’m just not entirely sure how to discard them, but I know it doesn’t consist of just firing them into the bin. So unless I find out sharpish, they will be moving with me.

During the clear out my other half didn’t fare much better. He found a year and a half’s worth of National Geographics. He’s not as sentimental as me though and promptly binned the lot, prompting an involuntary nervous twitch in my eye (seriously though, what if, one time, we need to re-read that article on the evolution of Cuba?) This, after getting rid of 37 years’-worth of The Broons annuals just last year. One for every year he’s been alive. That was a difficult day for my sanity.

And so it continues. I have another four rooms to pack up, clear out and de-clutter and I need to be ruthless. I’m already twitching.