S1Ep05 Bowerbirds

Professional Organiser Blog – “Bowerbirds and Cherry Ripe Wrappers”

Geelong’s Professional Organiser, Elise Purkis, sees the world of hoarders in a completely different light to most.  Ask any bowerbird.


The male bowerbird during the courtship season is an amazing animal. In order to attract a mate he will spend hundreds of hours collecting prized possessions. Brightly coloured shells, bottle tops, lolly wrappers, stones, straws and twine are all scattered around to create his version of the red carpet.  When his goddess appears, he hopes she is sufficiently impressed with his threshold that she will walk over it to his nest so birds of a feather may flock together. Aah… what a romantic.

Okay, that’s his version. To the rest of us – his assortment of stuff often resembles a hoarder’s house! Let’s face it, we’re talking about stuff no one else wants!

Nonetheless, imagine the thrill of acquisition the boy bowerbird senses when he sees a Cherry Ripe wrapper.  Consider the feeling of ecstasy that overwhelms him when he realises this joyous new jewel is his and he can bring it back to his nest to make himself a babe-magnet. Imagine the sense of wealth and prosperity he bathes in knowing his future progeny are tied to this magical piece of discarded cellophane!

Like all analogies, eventually they fall apart when a full comparison is revealed. However, the similarities to this point between hoarders and bowerbirds are clear. A hoarder’s possessions are treasures to which there is often an emotional connection. This is why forced removal of their stuff is the wrong way to deal with the condition. Doing this will often result in resentment and distrust – no matter how well-meaning the removalist is.

So please, for your hoarder’s sake, resist the temptation to remove stuff without permission.  Instead, resign yourself to the idea that helping them will be a long-term effort and your support is critical. With this mindset, you’ll be welcome to walk through their bejewelled chambers and just be friends. And remember, that old Neil Diamond CD could in fact be a cherished drink-coaster which invokes fond memories.

Thanks for reading.

Geelong Professional Organiser

Elise Purkis

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