Space Invaders Season 3

Click here for the Season 1 recaps.

Click here for the Season 2 recaps.

Click here for the Season 4 recaps.

Watch all seasons on 9Now.

Georgina and Nathan

Space Invaders Season 3-10-1 - Georgina contemplates her clutter
Space Invaders Season 3-10-2 - time for a family meal

It’s the season finale and expectations are high. How can the team possibly top last week’s neighbourhood double-whammy?

This time we focus on Georgina and Nathan. As if having two little kids isn’t enough, the couple has a heap of incomplete renos and shattered dreams due to a shady builder who did a runner and left a mess in his wake. I would love to see a collab with A Current Affair on this one – name and shame.

Georgina’s mother’s-group buddy Becky weighs in on the debacle. Nothing better than a mum’s group bestie on your side. She’s got your back throughout baby poo-tastrophes, urgent child-minding requests, marriage problems and that time when the Space Invaders team arrives to take over from renovation strife. 

Georgina and Nathan have been residing in construction site chaos for years. They can’t afford to sell up and abandon ship, so have been in limbo with half-patched walls, missing doors, a growing sea of clutter and a marriage groaning under the weight of it all. 

I notice a narrow bookshelf organised by colour, which is a nice touch amidst the mayhem. Someone (I’m guessing Georgina) has sought calm by micro-focussing on a bookshelf for a couple of hours. Decluttering and organising can be extremely therapeutic – but not at the scale of a whole house like this one, a truly overwhelming prospect. 

The camera keeps zooming in on unpainted ceiling cornices, but that is the least of their troubles. 

We enter the bathroom, which is in terrible shape. Cherie notices the leaky shower, the mould and the crooked vanity door, but in reality it was always going to be ripped out. So what’s the diff if there are some spots of mould around? Tool belt on Chez, you’ve got this.

Next stop is the master bedroom, where there is a sea of clutter next to the bed – I mean zero floor space. Pop your feet down in the darkness for a midnight dash to the toilet and you’ll be surfing on clothes, toys and no doubt a hidden block of Lego to pierce your heel.

Cherie is looking at termite damage, rust and asbestos. It’s huge. Have they bitten off more than they can chew? The dramatic music suggests so. 

The volume of stuff at the hall is massive as usual. Six tables of kitchen stuff. Furniture galore. Kids’ crap and other crap, to the tune of 194 boxes. Not sure how to feel about that number though, because how big are the boxes? Actually even if I knew the size of the boxes, it’s an abstract concept. A lot of stuff can fit in a house. But as the camera pans over the family’s household shite, we know George and Nath have accumulated a LOT. 

The couple is bickering about how many bedding sets per bed is reasonable. Two … or three? Personally, I would say two is enough, but if you have an irregular washing schedule, or bed wetting incidents, or switch between winter and summer bedding – three is also fine. 

Peter notices that Nathan is steamrolling over Georgina and making all the decisions. And if Pete notices something, we ALL notice it. It’s a point of tension for sure. Pete also delicately points out that there are lots of diet books amidst the collection. Fun fact: Peter wrote a book in 2009 called “Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?” which talks about raised cortisol levels in cluttered homes, which can impact sleep, weight and health. 

To lighten things up but also stay on the topic of poor dietary choices we chat to Georgina about her side hustle – making cake toppers. “What the hell is a cake topper?” I hear you ask? Well in a world where parents feel compelled to stay up until 2am making their child’s birthday cake, it has also become necessary to create a nativity scene on top of it. Nobody asked for that amount of parental pressure, but here we are. OR we just pop into Coles for the $4 mudcake, which my kids love.

Angie hones in on a craft trolley which is destined to become Georgina’s mobile cake-topper station. She also finds George’s wedding rings and promises to expand them to fit her swollen mum-fingers. It’s little things like that, which people just never get around to, but which can make ALL the difference! Angie is restoring marital harmony with jewellery. The jeweller points out that the beautiful antique ring (Georgina’s nan’s) has a fake stone – but who cares, it’s gorgeous. 

Georgina has been bogged down with a failed cookie business, a deceased friend and a husband who wants too much bedding. But after a relationship breakthrough at the hall, cookie cutters are being tossed, and progress and healing are underway. 

There are lots of full discard boxes destined for the Salvos. I see a lonely Sistema container lid peeking out – good luck to the volunteers who spread everything out and pair up lids and containers. Orphans are inevitable, it’s like the odd-sock conundrum.

Also a heads-up that many charities will not take all the DVDs and CDs we see being slid into boxes. Like books, those old-media items can be hard to shift. A cheeky post on your local Facebook group might find some takers though. List as a ‘please take all’ offer if you don’t want punters selecting certain discs and running you ragged doing pick-and-pack all day.

Becky and Cherie varnish a timber wall. It’s a refreshing change from the painted panel walls that we have seen in almost every reno this season. A splash of raw timber never dates. Bright green or blue however, can get cloying in time.

Meanwhile, Peter gives us his ‘burrito’ doona cover hack. Anything that saves me from finding myself inside the doona desperately trying to find the cover corners and wondering if I will ever see the light of day again, is worth a try. 

The unveiling is well received. Angie’s cursive font on the baking trolley is a bit 2010, a tad “Eat, Laugh, Love” print.  But the house looks fresh and amazing. I see family meals, restful sleep and lots of cake toppers in the family’s future. Cherie sees sexy time with blue walls in the marital bedroom. It’s all a bit saucy, but what a relief that the botched reno has been unbotched. 

And that’s a wrap for Space Invaders Season Three. I hope the team is off to the pub to celebrate and dust their hands of everyone else’s clutter. Breaking news is that applications are open for Season Four. NSW only though – sorry rest of Australia!

Penny, Jaime & Carol, and neighbours Emma and Julian

Space Invaders Season 3-9-1 - Carol and her containers
Space Invaders Season 3-9-2 - Emma and Julian sorting

Tonight’s episode is a tangled web of multiple generations, families and homes. So here goes:

1. Penny and Jaime were living in domestic bliss with their teenage son when Jaime was diagnosed with an auto immune disease in recent years. 

2. They brought in Penny’s mum Carol for help and support. 

3. Carol was meant to live in the granny flat, but the contents of her three-bedroom house won’t all fit, so for six months she has been sharing a room and a bed with her teenage grandson. In teenager terminology, it’s totally cringe. As a nice generational juxtaposition, we see Carol knitting while the grandie bounces a ball menacingly behind her. 

4. In the adjacent property, neighbours Emma and Julian are also suffering. Julian’s office is being used as a dumping ground for kids’ toys, and it has become unbearable.

So far we have six people, two houses, a granny flat and a lot of clutter. Are you keeping up?

The team rolls in and starts by talking to Penny, who takes them to the granny flat where her mum Carol is nervously awaiting their arrival and pretending not to. The flat is crowded with boxes that contain the contents of her life. She looks like a mamma bird who is protecting her nest. 

In some ways, it’s an existential issue. You work for money, which you exchange for nice things. What is the value of a life if there is nothing to show for it? 

Carol has been wanting to sneak some of her shite into the main house and Penny is not having it. Pen has her own clutter to deal with. To be fair Carol always intended to gradually unpack her boxes, but it hasn’t happened. Me thinks, because:

– Unpacking boxes is boring at best and emotionally overwhelming at worst. When a task like that is put off, it will continue to be put off. Humans are great at pain avoidance.

– Her stuff is clearly not going to fit. Carol has downsized her space but not her belongings. So it’s particularly daunting.

Caz admits it’s going to be hard.

What a sweet deal for the Space Invaders packing team – almost everything is already boxed up. Peter quips that things would have been easier if all the boxes were better sorted and labelled. Settle down Pete, I can see that some boxes are labelled ‘wool’ and ‘keepsakes’, but undoubtedly there are a lot of others lurking off camera, unhelpfully called ‘miscellaneous’. Aaah the misc boxes, they always seem like a good idea at the time.

In a whimsical segue, Peter peers over the fence to chat to Emma and Julian, who have three kids and a clutter issue themselves. Julian needs his home office organised so that he can get away from the kids under the guise of work.

Peter ropes Emma and Julian into what he calls an ‘express declutter’. It is a refreshingly achievable scaled-down version of the usual Space Invaders procedure. Rather than hauling the belongings offsite, a smaller volume is processed on trestle tables on the verandah.

It’s a great teaching moment from the show because anyone can do it. Decide on a room or even a cupboard, find a sorting space and get decluttering. If you are following along at home, set up a ‘keep’ box for each room or child, and a big ‘donate’ box for decluttering, and go!

A lot of the toys are no longer age-appropriate, therefore an easy cull. Emma stumbles across some purses that belonged to a deceased farting grandmother, and tears and hilarity ensue in equal measure. 

In the hall with Carol’s stuff, Peter has the patience of a saint, and also a life-size mud map of the granny flat’s available living and storage space, which is a winning idea. It means everyone can see what fits, literally. “Sort to the space”, as Peter calls it.

Of course Carol is terrified, because it’s obvious that her nest is never going to fit and the cull will be huge. Those VHS tapes and knitted doilies will have to go. Two stick mixers in a tiny space are a silly idea Carol. But she is in denial and gets all manic about tiny Tupperware containers. Actually they are probably not even Tupperware – more like the shitty ones you get your dipping sauce in with takeaway dumplings. Either way, it illustrates how we often become fixated on particular belongings and forget the big picture and goal – decluttering. Ask yourself with each item “why do I need this and “how will it fit in my space?” 

Cherie decides to spruce up the yard and build Carol a nice pergola to compensate for the relatively small quarters she has to downsize to, and to take her mind off the stick-mixer compromise. 

Angie is doing something with an old bathtub and uses the word ‘bespoke’, so we know it’s going to be special. She also starts pulling apart a bike, and I suspect that no matter how much rust Angie removes, Caz ain’t going to be riding that bike. There is some outdoor furniture being installed with plump cushions which looks more like the ideal throne for Carol and a glass of bubbly. She has sacrificed a lot, but she will NOT be giving up happy hour. (My words, not hers)

But at the hall there is no bubbly in sight, and instead Carol and Penny are bickering. Carol is clinging onto her stuff and tensions are running high. The truth is, Carol is more than just a stubborn nana with too much linen – she has sacrificed a lot to help her daughter in a stressful situation (Jaime’s illness). The mention of this reminds everyone why they are there, and they start culling linen with renewed vigour.

THIS is the value of a life – relationships, love, family. Not stuff.

There is a picture quilt Carol lovingly made for Penny years ago, and an awkward realisation that neither of them wants it. Even more awkward is the fact that Peter decides to donate it. Who on earth will want a quilt with photos of strangers on it? Could make for a fun Dirty Santa gift I guess.

Carol removes 72% of her stuff and donates $2000 worth to the Salvos. The garden and granny flat look terrific. There is a big display cabinet of ornaments and teacups in her new kitchen, ensuring plenty of dusting in Carol’s future. Thankfully the bike ends up mounted on the fence rather than ready to ride, although it’s destined to rust and look terrible but possibly weirdly cool in the not-too-distant future.

Next door, Julian’s home office is equally lovely, and Julian is more enthused about the daybed than anything else. With three small kids, I suspect he will be ‘working’ a lot in this space. Peter has installed a family planning calendar to try and keep him accountable and off the bed. (My words, not his)

So everyone’s happy. I wonder what became of the poor grandchild who was sharing his room and bed with Carol for so long. I guess having his nan out is reward enough for him, and he will be furiously gaming and peeling off smelly socks in there from now on. Or is that just my teenagers?

Nina and Dom

Space Invaders Season 3-8-1 - Peter gets real with Nina and Dom
Space Invaders Season 3-8-2 - the light, bright space.

With stressful jobs in health care (cancer and critical care specifically), and three kids – Lucien, Sophie and Molly – life is hectic for Nina and Dom. 

Who is caring for the carers? The Space Invaders team, that’s who.

In comes the gang, and Peter is shook. Every nook and cranny is stuffed with … stuff. Cherie is disturbed by the revalation that the fam doesn’t even have a dining table or space for one – instead they erect a camp table for meals as though they are under a tarp in the bush. Blimey, those tables are hard enough to assemble in a campground – let’s not integrate them into the home. 

The kitchen in general is a clutter hotspot. No bench space, junk everywhere and curiosities like packets of food stored in empty pots on the stove. Speaking of food, there is a lot of that as well. It looks like someone in the house is a Costco member and loves a full trolley. 

Meanwhile, Cherie is saying the appliances look like they should be in a museum. Seems a bit extreme – settle down Chez, but we get the idea. 

Angie heads uo to the attic and declares that they’ll need a bigger sorting hall. That’s a big call, and panic sets in. Peter reiterates that this is the biggest declutter EVER. 

Meanwhile little Lucien aged 13 admits his own bedroom has been hijacked by clutter, and his everyday wear resides in the living room, so everything is topsy-turvy. The poor lad needs his own space so that he can be a true teenager and never emerge from his bedroom again. 

It always shocks me how much stuff comes out of a cupboard, a room, a home – and this one takes the cake. Peter says this is the biggest amount of clutter he has seen come out of one house, and that is really saying something. 80% of it has to go. But at least everything fits in the usual sorting hall.

The tally is in, and there are (drum roll please) 113 water bottles! That’s enough for someone to leave one behind at school every day until well into term 3. But I’ll bet they are not all matched with tops – cos that happens in every house, along with an equivalent Tupperware / lid crisis. 

Dom puts forth her case on the great drink bottle saga. Her kids keep losing them, so she keeps buying them. Anything to get them off to school on time, right? OK, maybe a couple of spares then Dom, but 113? Come on girl.

This illustrates the vicious circle that clutter creates. You have too much stuff so you can’f find X. Then you buy another X, and acquire even more stuff. Rinse and repeat. 

Amidst all her bargaining, Dom has a clutter breakthrough – how the feck are their kids ever going to learn about limits if the parents don’t model any restraint? 

Next rogue oversupply – 27 umbrellas! Again, let’s have fun taking these out and leaving them at bus stops and under cafe tables many many times, because that’s what they were designed for.

Pete gives the kids the Talking Stick (or the Clutter Phantom as he calls it) and it turns out they feel depressed, squashed, in danger (Nina glares in alarm at this one, hoping Child Protection Services aren’t furiously jotting notes) Lucien says he feels lonely, like the world is growing around him uncontrollably. Yikes.

But the kids aren’t completely portrayed as victims here. They are also part of the problem and the solution. Peter makes them promise to tidy their rooms once a week, and put their stuff away. Geez I wish I could get that kind of pledge out of my kids on national television. 

Neens and Dom like to show their love and make their kids happy by buying stuff. But here’s the thing – buying your kids stuff (in excess) can actually make their lives worse, not better. These kids have TWO mammas, so it’s double-trouble on the buying front. Excuse the sexist trope, but women do tend to do most of the purchasing for their kids. 

The children get busy decluttering and Lucien slams down an unwanted toy minion with conviction. The kids all pick a few faves, setting the standard for the decluttering project. Dom finds some hand-knitted dolls’ clothes from a deceased Belgian aunt, and recalls the pain of having a fragmented family. Peter pounces on their vulnerability like a lion on a stumbling deer. The mums have purchased stuff for their kids to alleviate the guilt of working hard. Such a common problem.

Angie has unearthed some hockey medals – including one from the Commonwealth games. Who is the over-achieving athlete then? Turns out it’s Nina, and it’s at this point in the show I finally figure out who is Dom and who is Nina in the dynamic duo – phew. Neen has some serious athletic cred, and has even met The Queen. I can sense an Angie Project coming on, and I hope it doesn’t involve brown string and a hula hoop like last week. 

Cherie and her team get busy with floors and doors. Plenty of kitchen cupboards will enable the fam to stash their Costco hauls out of site.  

Back at the hall, there are thousands of items to go to the Salvos, to the tune of $8815. Despite Peter’s quip, based on my experience I dunno if they’ll take the water bottles. 

The real estate segment shows a 205% increase in house value. It seems to be a different agent each week, no doubt watching at home tentatively with wine and slippers to see their tiny slice of TV fame. 

The reno is fab – sage green embossed tiles in the kitchen, and a coffee machine and oven from our good friends at DeLonghi. A removed wall means an accessible dining zone and no more camping table for din-dins. 

Angie’s memorabilia shelf houses Nina’s sporting accolades. Ang tells them they can keep adding to it – those are dangerous words. I see “junk shelves” in its future. But for now, the ladies are chuffed with it.

Lucien’s bedroom has gone from drab to fab with some yellow paint to match his drum kit. The teenage boy can now choose his clothes, play his yellow drums and get addicted to gaming all in the same room. The girls’ room/s are not touched upon and remain a mystery, but let’s hope they are inspired to keep it tidy as per public agreement. 

Silvana and Jose

Usually, I watch Space Invaders on catchup, but tonight I treat myself to a free-to-air experience. Except I happen to catch the end of A Current Affair and woah what a ride. A vexatious neighbour with a whipper snipper and an avid footy fan with a two-finger salute and a five year ban. Didn’t this show used to be about real issues?

I thank god when Space Invaders starts. Back to the comforting routine of turning someone’s house inside out and fixing their relationships at the same time, all in the space of a few crazy days.

Meet Silvana. She wants to entertain the fam and create a fiesta atmosphere at home, but the only thing having a party is the clutter. It is Out. Of. Control. 

The team saunters into a to a hectic room with lots of exposed brick, and everything from a treadmill (classic aspirational clutter), to a fridge. It feels like a mancave gone wrong, but it’s meant to be a living and entertaining space. 

It turns out that Silvana has control issues. And no wonder. She has been caring for multiple generations – her two adult kids, grand daughter, mum and an array of clients in her job as an aged care worker. Therefore the house and its contents have had zero maintenance, and chaos has reigned. Silv believes that it is a woman’s destiny to be tired, overwhelmed and in service to others.

As Peter soon discovers, Silvia is the type of lady who will restock the dishwasher if anyone dares do it for her. It’s relatable. I have been known to re-hang a cardigan on the clothesline (who the heck puts pegs ON THE SHOULDERS) and if your dishwasher has a cutlery tray (rather than baskets), the cutlery really does need to be categorised. (SO much easier to put it away) But Silvana’s level of perfectionism and martyrdom is next level. 

Jose likes the exposed brick in the living room – Cheryl doesn’t. We all know who’s going to win that one. I love that Jose’s Spanish-accented speech is subtitled – and I wonder who in the production team makes that call. How many r’s does someone have to roll to be deemed in need of subtitles? Jose’s pronunciation has made the cut. I wonder how he feels about that.

The living room and guest room are gutted, and so is Silvana when she sees how much stuff has come out of them.

At the hall, everything is categorised and consolidated. There are five tables of toys, all for just one lucky grandchild. What a nonna! Son Christian gets teary, and Silv gets a talking to from Peter Walsh. She has to promise to ease up on the dishwasher nonsense. 

Peter suggests limiting the toys to four tubs. Pete calls them bins because he has been living in the USA a bit long, but we know what he means. He is talking about the Container Concept, limiting a category to a particular volume to keep clutter in check. Silvana gets a bit cheeky during this part, and we get the impression she doesn’t like being told what to do. And fair enough – nonnas are going to nonna.

Silv grew up in poverty, so she has a scarcity mindset and wants the best for her grand daughter. Her attachment to books is testament to this. Books and an education provide escape from hardship. Also Silv is very resourceful and wants to keep and repurpose. That perspective is admirable, but doesn’t work well in the modern world of abundance, especially if everyone gives you their clutter to add to your own. If you continue to acquire, you have to also let things go, or else chaos is inevitable.

Peter agrees to compromise on the toy squabble and rather than dig his heels in, he opens up a conversation and Silvana admits she is overwhelmed. Hose stays completely quiet – his time to shine and be transcribed is over. 

Cheryl honours Hose’s heritage with some striking Mediterranean tiles behind the television, trying to soften the blow for the cladding over his beloved exposed brick walls. She has also picked up a second hand banquet table for entertaining – excellent! I’ll be looking out for Chez on Gumtree and Marketplace in future. Hopefully she’s not one of those annoying users who asks “is this available?” and then ghosts. Or wants me to express-post a huge dog bed at no extra cost.

Back at the hall it’s time for a clothing cull, and Silvana tearily wants to hang on to a bag from a client who passed away. Her daughter Christina tries to comfort her and is batted away. Peter pulls Silv into line and guides them through the clothing declutter accompanied by uplifting music. Three boxes of clothes are up for donation, including a geometric shirt that Christina says makes Silvana look like Ayres Rock. Peter likes that, Silvana shrugs and there is suddenly light at the end of the tunnel. Nothing like a bit of fashion shaming to lighten the mood.

The treadmill gets a red dot on it, which means out it goes. All that boring walking they were never going to do, is now impossible. As well as a lot of other stuff – $7900 worth of donations in fact. Silvana is pleased to be able to help others and is ready to move forward.

In the new dining zone Cherie gives a lesson on setting the table, which is an unexpected snippet of intel. 

Now for the big reveal, and it turns out Silvana is a big softie after all. Underneath her dishwasher-controlling facade, she is chuffed with the result of reliquishing control and handing the house reno over to the Space invaders team. It is light and bright with … oh my lord, vertical blinds! That hurts my eyes and reminds me of the 80s salmon pink ones I grew up with, that my cat used to sharpen her claws on.

But in general the space looks great. 

Angie Kent has pimped up some CD cabinets into some junk cabinets and does something truly wild with a hula hoop, some string and a selection of photos. It’s … interesting. I suspect the photos will soon become faded, dusty and curled in the Sydney humidity. Oh well, I guess a short term display is okay.

The guest room looks super neat, ready for the nonna of all nonnas Silvana’s mum, as well as grand daughter Giselle. 

The team hasn’t touched the kitchen so we don’t have to look at a coffee machine that nobody asked for, or the family battleground of the dishwasher.

Instead the team and family mill about sipping sangria in the revamped living room. Salute! The entertaining zone is complete and fabulous. 

Holly and Darren

Space Invaders Season 3-6-1 - cluttered toys
Space Invaders Season 3-6-1 - fab wardrobe

These harried parents have two littlies aged 4 months and 2 and a half.  Thank god they didn’t say 30 months instead of 2 and a half – I hate that.

And yes I do have kids. In fact when I saw the opening scene of the family home and all the Lego/Duplo on the floor, I could feel the pain – literally – in my feet. Cos what parent hasn’t stepped on a small piece of plastic and cried out that they never wanted kids in the first place? Ok just me then.

Stay-at-home mother Holly is frustrated and has the usual feelings of shame – that it seems like everyone else has their shit together except her. (Holly, they don’t.)

Darren wants to come home and not feel a sense of dread, and not question where all this stuff came from. Do you want a martini and slippers as well Darren? Cos dealing with 2 little kids all day is no walk in the park. Well sometimes it is, but then your toddler wants to stay on the swings all day and starts playing with dog poo, and things get real nasty. 

The Space Invaders team knows the family has too much stuff. Peter Walsh is also alarmed that the sleeping arrangements have descended into Darren being in the spare room. Holly is in the master bedroom with a baby and an itchy, rashy toddler who wakes up scratching. Darren is probably quite happy snoozing elsewhere. When I grow up I want to be a dad in the spare room, seems like a sweet deal.

But anyway the fam is at the horrible stage of being too stressed and busy to get organised, while being disorganised makes them stressed and busy. Not living, surviving.

Cherie wants to rip out the 1980s kitchen completely. She decides to knock out a wall and after some expert advice she literally pushes it out with her bare hands – is anyone surprised? 

At the sorting hall there is a huge amount of linen and Holly proclaims “ I don’t even like linen”.  Lol, where does this shit even come from? Darren agrees to get rid of his Oodie – clearly these guys do not live in Melbourne because Oodies are a must-have done south.

Peter is not interested in the Oodie but is perplexed by the couple’s communication style. He makes them set their vision for the home, talk about why they love each other and promise to bury some sad miscarriage memorabilia. It’s all very heartfelt and suddenly I feel like Daz is not the 1950s dad I thought be was.

Angie is interested in a wooden wishing well box that was made for their wedding by Holly’s dad. Ange wants to make it a toy box – that’s very ambitious considering its meagre size. Hands up who was given a huge trunk for their kids’ toys in the early days, and it was filled in the space of a week by little more than a train track, a Barbie funhouse and a plush toy or two.

But I spoke too soon and before you know it, Angie is in Kmart buying furniture to house more toys. Something about seeing her going down the aisles amidst all the future-landfill makes me cringe a little. But someone’s gotta pay the show’s bills.

Pics that flash up of the couple’s wedding are absolutely adorable and I want to be them. But then we are back at the sorting hall looking at dusty belongings and I don’t want to be them.

70% of their stuff is deemed for donation. Yipee. Lots of books! I hope the Salvos is ok with that – as they have been rejecting my book donations recently. (Pro tip: mixing a few books in with other items can get them over the line.)

Then for the fun part. Finishing touches and returning the minimised belongings to the revamped space.

The open-plan layout is a gamer-changer, with floral wallpaper and navy blue panels. Holly is resplendent with bright lippy and her stunning red hair. Please Holly and Darren, stay out of the shops and if the little tikes have a birthday party – say no presents or have a one-in, one-out policy. I know that’s boring. But so is rooms full of clutter. It accumulates so quickly. Look how much had gathered in just a couple of years.

Holly and Darren are instructed that the bedroom is just for them. Let’s see what happens when a mewling child needs a snuggle at 2am.

All the best to this gorgeous couple with a fresh start. Good luck keeping the Lego off the floor! 

Luke and David

Space Invaders Season 3-5-2 - after

Meet Luke and David. Some years ago, Luke lost his job and self medicated with food and shopping, and stacked on the kilos. Which is weird because don’t we hate shopping when we feel fat? 

Well I guess what you shop for, right? Figure-hugging zentai suits = no. Christmas decorations = OK. 

David was his rock throughout – supportive partner, enabler and possible feeder. 

Their house is cute, but upstairs the Doom Room awaits. It’s colourful and eclectic, but just a bit too much. And Dave has zero representation in the whole thing. He’s the silent partner working and operating in the shadows of Luke’s junk. Literally – as his home office is shrouded in Luke’s belongings.

Luke’s body has trimmed down by 43 kgs, but his stuff is crowding out David. He has more weight to lose, in the form of clutter. And that’s where the Space Invaders team comes in.

Angie is jazzed about a fold-up desk and Luke looks seriously nervous when she suggests zhuzhing it.  And at this stage he hasn’t even see the controversial piano makeover of episode 2 (cos it would not have been televised) – unless all the contestants have an ongoing WhatsApp chat to share gripes and gossip. Maybe Jill put the fear of god into everyone, telling them to keep Angie away from the sander and sticky paper.

At the warehouse, the duo is shocked. 14 side tables, Chrissy decorations for miles and enough trinkets and artworks to make nana blush.

David confesses that he has been shitty about Luke’s shit. He is scared to speak up about the clutter in case it leads to rejection, and is feeling insecure even after 10 years together. Basically he is worried that if there is any friction, Luke will pack up his clutter and leave. He has underestimated how difficult it is to shift hoardes of stuff. And that Luke loves him and wants them to become old gays together. Aww.

Throw cushions live up to their namesake and are tossed into boxes with gay abandon (sorry couldn’t help it). David is withdrawing again. His lack of communication and resultant resentment is obviously an ongoing problem. C’mon Dave, use your words. And your arms. Those donate boxes won’t fill themselves. 

The usual household dispute about who wraps gifts ensues. Luke doesn’t like David voicing his concern about gift bags, which demonstrates how these dysfunctional domestic roles are entrenched over time.

It goes like this:
Peter Walsh: “David you need to find your voice.”
David finds voice.
Luke: “How dare you.”

Clearly Luke is the alpha and Dave is the peacemaker, the bottom. This was reflected in the clutter collection, so is no surprise. 

Peter facilitates an honest convo and damn I think Esther Perele had better watch out – he is a great couples counsellor. The clutter chats facilitate intimacy and teamwork. Yipee!

No wonder it was gift wrapping that caused tension. Seriously every house has a horrible assortment of gift wrapping rolls which never fit anywhere. I call for a gift paper consortium where all paper is standardised to folded sheets. 

Cherie is working on a club lounge vibe for the pad, and a coffee keeps her and the team pepped. (Insert DeLonghi product placement here) It starts raining, so she hires an industrial heater to dry the paint coats. Great hack!

Angie is shining up a silver bowl, and a red toy Mercedes. Meanwhile she bundles up the donations and tallies them to $7750. 

The couple reduces their stuff by 73% – awesome. Having less makes organising and maintenance SO easy! 

A real estate agent pops in to appraise the post-reno pad. It has uplifted (a new word for me) by $70k. I find this segment a bit cringe-worthy but it’s harmless enough and someone is paying good money for it. 

Luke’s desk is freshened up and David’s home office is super shmick. No more embarrassing Zoom calls with clothes horses and Doom boxes in the background.  

The couple is delighted with the results. The future is looking bright. Almost as bright as the painted green desk, which works well actually.

Where is that cute French Bulldog we saw in the opening scene pulling on the lead? I hope he wasn’t sent to the Salvos – at least without puppy training.

The new pad is truly a joint representation of Luke and David’s interests. But the removal of what Peter calls ‘communication clutter’ was the biggest accomplishment of all.


Space Invaders Season 3-4-1 - Kim and her daughters and Peter
Space Invaders Season 3-4-2 - Matty J

B Grade celebrities (where B stars for The Bachelor of course) Laura Byrne and Matty J  are double-dipping in the reality show stakes. It’s like when a Big Brother resident pops up on Dancing With the Stars. Or wait, when Angie Kent goes from Gogglebox to The Bachelorette to this show. OK, not so weird after all. 

But in this case there is less romance and more clutter involved. And Laura’s mum Kim, who has accumulated and renovated, and accumulated again. The master bedroom has been in construction-site limbo for 3 years.

Kim’s broken hip and her dad’s passing have stalled progress. And a history of near-poverty has contributed to a fear of letting go. Scarcity mindset can be a negative influence on decluttering. It’s the perfect storm for the team to swoop in and improve lives. 

Angie wants to do something with a Pro Hart print and a wooden box. Hopefully separately – decoupage is best kept in the 18th and 19th centuries. Or in the 1990s when housewives everywhere were covering hat boxes.

The clutter laid out in the warehouse is vast. As usual the guests are shocked about the volume. Cupboards can hide a lot, and their contents on trestle tables is always confronting.  

There is an asbestos scare at the house while in a random act of kindness, Cherie and some tradies help push a broken-down car off the road. It’s an odd scene to make the final edit, but I’m here for it. Cherie is a born problem-solver.

Have you noticed the team always wears the same clothes?

Someone in the Space Invaders Facebook group says the reason is so the production team can swap scenes around and still have continuity, but are they really working on multiple shows at once? How many parallel universes of clutter collections could they possibly handle? I think it’s unlikely they have multiple projects on the boil at once, but anyway I am starting to enjoy the no-surprises uniform. Also I’ll bet the wardrobe department is loving its days off. 

Someone ELSE in the Facebook group suggests that as Laura’s mum, Kim is too wealthy to be a candidate for the show. Um, as far as I know, the mother of a mid-range reality TV personality is not catapulted to wealth herself. Calm down people.

Speaking of the Facebook group, can people stop complaining about Angie? She’s damn cute and has an unparalleled enthusiasm for other people’s junk.

At the hall, crafty Kim admits she has been over her head in clutter. I think she was drowning in balls of wool. Peter starts fossicking through the yarn. 

Cherie proclaims if the sanded and coated floors don’t dry in time we are in “big trouble”. I thought we had already dealt with the reno-drama of the episode during the Asbestos Panic Era. Aww but we love a narrative arc. 

Kim’s stuff is reduced by 73% and her donations equate to $5500. How they measure that I’m not sure, but Kimbo is keen to have guests over again. I think Laura wants to be able to dump her kids there and go out on the town. Grandparents make the best (and cheapest) babysitters. 

Kims house looks great as expected, and she even has one of the little house plants with legs on the pots. There is a great craft room which holds all her chosen materials. 

By the way, where were the husbands while the transformation was underway? At the pub I guess, bloody typical. Matty J was not involved and Kim’s hubby Neil was also absent, having also spent years avoiding making a frame for her Pro Hart pic. They skulked in at the end to admire the results. Thanks for nothing fellas, and thank god for the Space Invaders team!

Jo and Shayne

Space Invaders Season 3-3-1 - games clutter
Space Invaders Season 3-3-2 - the team and the happy couple

Teenagers Jack and Matt and their parents Jo and Shayne – not to mention two nuggety dogs, are the archetypal Australian family throwing a ball in the backyard.

But then there’s the clutter. 

The boys say it’s overwhelming the family, and they want to work on their motorbikes and have mates over – who can blame them? Through tears, Jo says the clutter is her connection to her parents (now deceased). We are never too sure what dad Shayne thinks, but he is the rock of the family. 

Jo also has a chronic medical condition, so the chaos has become untenable. That’s the irony of clutter – can’t remove it all because it’s too hard, and can’t live with it because it’s too hard. It’s like a frog slowly boiling in a big pot of water – an increasingly inhospitable environment that we need to leap out of before it consumes us.

It’s not going to be easy, but Jo and Shayne are ready. 

The team enters via the garage and heads to the living rooms. Every surface in the house seems to be full of … board games? And other things, including clothes hanging from a treadmill – a crucial and very common centrepiece in cluttered homes and wanna-be exercisers. Treadmills can be good for keeping fit, but as clothes horses they are a tad bulky.

Also there are is a lot of memorabilia. Jo and and Shayne have both lost their parents and are determined not to lose all the memories.

Because … if we don’t have the stuff to prove our loved ones were alive and accomplished, maybe their existence has less meaning. What on earth is the meaning of life anyway? It’s an existential problem smart people have debated since the beginning of time, and the Space Invaders team probably can’t answer it either.

But they CAN set about helping this lovely family move forward. Peter says that 70% of the clutter has to go.

Angie sets her sights on a display frame for memorabilia. And a Harley Davidson. And the Cosmic Princess pinball machine, which is handed over to pinnie-guru Rod to service. It’s game on.

At the warehouse, the family’s clutter is spread out. It’s always alarming to see everything out of the house and cupboards. Is that 9 golf club sets I see? 2 dart boards? At least 5 tents. And about 8 of those bears that people write messages on with a Sharpie. Why write on a card when you can write on a large, 3D object that takes up 10X more space?

Tools, motorcycle parts, and memorabilia galore. 

Meanwhile Cherie starts ripping up the bar and proclaims that every house requires renovations every 10 years. Really? Don’t call the reno-police on me. Sounds like a whole lot of landfill-creation. I DO love the furniture app that let her drag and drop furniture placement. Great idea.

Pete gets real with the couple. On the board game front, Mouse Trap and Test Match are obvious culls. I can’t even get my teens off their phones to pick up their dinner plates – imagine asking them to play a complicated miniature ball game – nope. 

But Jo says the games represent a time when her parents were alive. Grief is hard. Peter reminds them to look forward not backward.

Shayne is advised to keep Jo’s hoarding tendencies in check – in other words, don’t be a cuck. However the stress at the hall is mounting. He wants to build a bike with his sons. Jo is pissed about the garage clutter and I have no idea what Shayne is pissed about, but he is red and blustery like Harold from Neighbours. I think he wants autonomy over his decisions. Fair enough.

Angie has tallied the donations to $3940. Does she have a Salvos calculation app for these figures? If so, please share Ange. I don’t care about the paint colours and curtain styles – just get me that tally app! 

But Cherie’s reno is a delight of course. Instead of Mouse Trap they are going to be playing pool and pinnies. And I spy a bottle of Moet in the fridge to sip on. Not to mention space for 500 bottles of beer! Cheers. 

It turns out Jo’s dad quite enjoyed a drink, god rest his soul. He was barred from a few pubs, and there are coasters to testify – the 1970s version of a court order. The coasters take pride and place in Angie’s 90s style framed collage. Straight to the pool room with the memorabilia.

What a journey! Clutter, terrible board games, golf clubs for miles – all donated. As we speak Salvos workers are hauling dusty golf bags and looking for the tiny silver Mouse Trap ball which always goes missing. Jo acknowledges the relaxing space will be better for her health. 

The garage looks incredible and the lads Jack and Matt saunter in and approve wholeheartedly. It’s party time, one of them proclaims. Not sure which one, as they look very similar in a gorgeous down-to-earth Aussie blokey way. The only thing missing was the pop of the Champagne bottle at the end.

Quote of the episode: Memories are in my heart, not my hand. Thanks Jo, imma take that into the week ahead.


Space Invaders Season 3-toys galore

Single mum Jill lives with her two daughters 17-year-old Georgia and 8-year-old Ruby. Ruby has autism and thrives in a calm space. But that’s not what she’s got.

On the contrary, head downstairs behind the telltale lace curtain and wow, that’s definitely not what they’ve got. Apparently, it used to be a Man Cave but the man took off and now it’s a clutter cave. Jill’s ex has left a bunch of beer glasses and model cars, saying he has no space for them. I’ll bet he’s the kinda guy who doesn’t pay child maintenance either.

Off to a storage unit it goes for the ex to deal with. Nice handball Pete.

Georgia wants to have friends over, but the wall of clutter is impenetrable. Aside from the man-clutter, pink Huggies nappy boxes and piles of toys and clothes tell the story of a family of growing girls whose stuff has gotten out of control.

The hundreds of boxes that are removed are laid bare in a local hall and it looks like a Kmart toy department spewed up its contents. But only the girls’ section. What is with gendered toys by the way? 

Jill gets understandably emotional – she did years of IVF to fall pregnant and then worked hard and bought toys to assuage her guilt about having the girls in daycare. Peter calls it out as a trap – buying stuff to show love. It’s classic mum guilt and Jill is encouraged to let it go – the guilt AND the clutter. It’s a watershed moment.

80% of this pink vomit has to be culled.

Jill starts to panic when the Christmas decorations are pulled out. But how many santa hats do a family need? And Jill has a revelation that families don’t need stuff, they need love.

But then the clothes are tackled and Jill clams up again, especially when the $900 tutus are unearthed. A little dabble in some ceremonial clothing arsony adds a fun touch. But the tutus are staying. Jill has the last word on that one.

Angie has set her sights on a doll collection and calls in doll expert Linda. I’m sceptical. Is the man cave soon to become a nanna cave? 

Jill’s friend comes to the hall to help sort. Looking at the piles of unpaired shoes, the extra hands will be useful. Sorting is always more fun with friends. 

91% of the family’s stuff goes to charity and Georgia shows her gratitude with a heartfelt speech.

The new rumpus room looks fabulous. An art and craft area is set up using a Lazy Susan for supplies. Thanks Kmart, is there anything you don’t sell?

I’m a tiny bit sceptical about the revamped piano. Isn’t it a bit whimsical to take sandpaper and sticky paper to an expensive musical instrument? But the family is ecstatic, and that’s what counts. The girls were tinkling the ivories as the credits rolled, proving that your stuff needs to serve you, not the other way around.

Bec and Julian

Space Invaders Season 3-Peter, Bec and Julian
Space Invaders Season 3-Bec, Julian, Casper and Amy

The kick-off to Space Invaders Season 3 features Welsh couple Bec and Julian and their son Casper.

The show opens with a reflection on family trauma and ill-health, and Bec says her house has become an ‘assault course’. Yikes. Julian agrees that there are ensuing relationship tensions about their cluttered home.

And no wonder. The kitchen is doubling as Julian’s office space and is that a soldering iron on the dining table? Not sure what Jules is doing in there, but it doesn’t look conducive to family meals.

The family of three lives in a beautiful art deco building with character and great bones. But the bones are a little obscured by detritus, including a pile of scuba equipment gathering dust near the door. Bec looks nervous about the pile even though it’s rarely used, which brings up an Identity Clutter red flag. More about that later…

Some trauma layers are peeled back and it turns out Casper can’t sleep alone due to the memory of a devastating house fire in the adjacent apartment. Hence there are two cluttered master-ish bedrooms in high rotation between the three family members. But what if … Peter poses, Casper had his own bedroom retreat created just for him? Cas is enthused.

As an aside, nobody mentions the elephant in the room – that clutter in itself is a fire hazard.

Meanwhile Bec and Julian’s relationship has been compromised by fragmented sleeping arrangements and halls piled with household clutter. Peter understands how emotions and clutter are tangled together in a messy 2-ply. He sets about teasing it all apart by filling up box after box and carting it offsite to be examined under the harsh lights of a local hall.

May the fun begin!

Trestle tables are soon heaving with toys, enough linen to furnish a hospital, and mountains of clothes.

While Bec titters nervously about the magnitude of the project before them, Cherie gets to work restoring the beautiful apartment to its former 1930s glory.

Space Invaders Season 3 features Angie Kent as new DIY queen and treasure hunter, replacing Lucas from seasons 1 and 2. Ange commences a glow-up of the kitchen table. She also gathers some family photos and makes the frames consistent, a great decorating touch often overlooked. Her polish-and-display of Bec’s family miner’s lamps is a great example of the Rule of Three in interior design.

Back at the hall, and back to the scuba gear Identity Clutter. Let me explain. 20 years ago, while their romance flourished, Bec and Julian developed a passion for diving. Along came Casper and a much less welcome intrusion – Julian’s heart attack. The diving gear represents a time and a version of themselves which was fun and carefree. Pre near-death experiences for Jules. Pre triggering house fire memories and broken sleep. Pre power tools on the kitchen table.

Life was easier then. Look up Belk’s concept of the Extended Self for more phsych chat about identity and possessions.

Peter puts on his therapist hat and makes the duo realise the scuba clutter is holding them back.

Just like the Crooked Tiles Saga is holding Cherie back. They were laid along a wonky wall and Chez can’t get past the crookedness so they have to be re-done. I love the attention to detail. I’m guessing no askew paintings at her place.

Casper is a zen master at letting go of his toys – he could teach a lot of adults a thing or two. Peter gives him autonomy over decluttering his stuff, and Cas excels at the task.

Bec and Julian start tossing piles of linen into donate boxes. Did you know that old towels can often be handed on to pet shelters? But please call them and ask first. Post-Christmas is a popular time for people to declutter, and some of the usual charity streams have been groaning under the weight of people’s cast-offs. It’s a timely reminder to slow down consumption and (scrooge moment incoming…) re-think Christmas gift-giving also.

Bec and Jules have decluttered 86% of their shite, and let’s hope the Salvos have space for it all.

Next – the big reveal. The home reno is stunning and needless to say, smoke alarms are a key feature. Bec’s gutteral scream whe she sees the renos are just as loud. And Casper gets a bedroom door rather than the sheet he had over the doorway. He was more than happy to donate a mammoth 600 toys to achieve a calm, secure sleeping space. This says a lot about what makes a happy home. And speaking of which, it’s Game On for the dynamic duo who now have a terrific master boudoir all to themselves.

How to help a hoarder

How to help a hoarder

Now that I have your attention, ‘someone who hoards’ is a more respectful way to address them. Be mindful of your language AND your actions. Decluttering behind their back can actually make the problem worse. Take baby steps and let them retain control.

Read More »
Has Marie Kondo gone rogue

Has Marie Kondo gone rogue?

Marie Kondo the queen of clean let slip that since the birth of her third child, shit has gotten real at home. She has had to reprioritise her time, which is totes understandable.

Read More »