Are you a hoarder or a de-clutterer? Have you ever heard of anyone being both? Taken to extremes, both can have problems, and neither tends to have a great deal of understanding of the other. For the de-clutterer, it’s a case of tidy desk equals tidy mind, while the hoarder understands what the de-clutterer doesn’t: that tiny unidentified widget that you are about to throw out will obviously turn out to be the vital part of something much larger, and without the widget you won’t be able to use the larger machine / piece of furniture / whatever.
I’m not advocating filling your homes with rubbish or leaving a mess everywhere, but the well-organised hoarder ultimately has an advantage over the de-clutterer when it comes to auction. This is because, as long as they know where to put their hands on it, they are the one who won’t have thrown out that rare scrapbook of 1966 World Cup Player cards (as I did once when I moved house), now worth a small fortune, or 1950s tinplate toys.
The authorities at Durham Cathedral have learnt this lesson. They have just raised more than £125,000 by auctioning off superfluous parts of the building’s fabric, including old bits of masonry.