Space Invaders Season 4

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Christine and Daniel

This is the final ep of the series, and it’s a goodie. 

Christine and Daniel were planning to rebuild their home and even had a paint-the-walls party with their two infant girls. Rookie fail.

Next minute, the builder delivered a $100,000 budget variation notice, and the family was forced to abandon the project altogether. Damn.

The sudden change in plans made them feel completely powerless and lemme tell you what makes people feel empowered – buying stuff. 

They had shopped in anticipation of more space, then they shopped some more to compensate for failed plans. Then they wallowed.

The painting party has made the place look like a kindergarten crossed with a squatter’s den. There is technicolour vomit graffiti all over the walls. No wonder they are depressed.

The spare room is yet another dumping ground for clutter. There is no joy anywhere in the house or in Chris and Dan’s relationship.

Angie is determined to save a bit of the kid graffiti for an upcycle project and I’m like no thanks, let’s bury that in a traumatic past. But I’m sure Angie will put a positive spin on it.

At the warehouse, 147 boxes are spewed onto trestle tables. Almost 100 soft toys, 423 children’s books and 100 pairs of shoes that don’t seem to fit anyone. Weird, but okay.

Peter points out some important stuff. The failed reno needs to be put in the past. The couple has zero control over that, but they CAN control the future. And that means sorting out their shite.

A bigger house is a fun concept, but these guys kept expanding their inventory to fill a large home that never happened. Here is an idea Chris and Dan: be OK with a smaller home and stay out of Kmart and off Temu.

Pete reprimands the couple for mulling over plastic toy junk like it’s important, and then gives Chris a figurative bitch-slap. She calls herself an organised person and Pete says nope. And fair enough. Chris maybe you’re the gal who organises weekends away in Byron, maybe you’re a dab hand at sorting out date night. But your house is telling us all that your organising crown has slipped into a sea of fairy costumes and doll accessories.

Also it seems they have accepted hand-me-downs that extend for decades, hence the volume of clothes and ill-fitting shoes. Thank god they agree to limit it to 2 years ahead. Nobody wants a 9 year old Pumpkin Patch onesie that has yellowed in storage.

The couple has a mismatch in parenting styles. It’s alluded to that Dan has a mental health challenge, but pushing clothes into boxes is just the tonic. Pete joins in, and the uplifting music tells us that means there is a breakthrough.

Back at the house, a termite scare is fortunately dispelled, and they are also working on an outdoor area to extend the liveable space. Great idea Cherie, especially in light of the fact that their plan to extend was thwarted, so any extra space will be cherished.

The kids turn up and they are damn cute. I hope they don’t miss all the LOL dolls that were slid into boxes. 

The couple has hit their decluttering target and has a bunch of donations for the Salvos. They are holding hands, which is a great sign, Peter has done his usual relationship counselling and love is in the air. 

In the playroom, Pete fills some Kmart storage tubs with toys but hello team – we need labels! Eg. The drawers could be categorised and labelled into

– Barbies
– Barbie clothes
– Lego
– Textas


No labels means doom boxes, and then nobody can find anything and nobody uses the tubs any more. “Muuuum, where are my fidget toys?” “I dunno love, in one of the 20 tubs that all look exactly the same.” Much rummaging ensues.

Buy anyway I’m being pernickety. The house looks amazing. The living room is really plush, the kitchen is freshened and the dining room means they can finally have family meals. The playroom is the best of all. Angie has made the technicolour vomit into a table, so high five to her.

The episode is a great lesson in making the best of a smaller space and setting boundaries for ourselves and our kids. 

Garman and Ingrid

Single mum Ingrid lives with her sister Garman. They moved in together following the death of their parents, but Garman’s extreme collecting has left their home buried in clutter, creating tension and an unsafe place for Ingrid to raise her daughter Leila.

Ingrid has had a gutful. Leila is becoming mobile and there are safety issues. Can you imagine all the monopoly pieces that could end up in her little mouth? And the tower of Pop Vinyl figurines that could land on her soft little baby head?

Garman has quirky tastes, and loves manga and Asian kawaii style. It’s endearing, but it’s all a bit much. There are only so many squishy toys and cute collectibles a home can hold.

The cluttered kitchen makes food prep difficult, and the dining room is stuffed with stuff. There is nowhere to have a family meal.

They grew up a bit poor so Garman has a scarcity mentality and finds it had to let go. She collects and purchases like a frantic bower bird yet never declutters, so her inbox is working harder than her outbox. Which is basically hoarding, a stigmatised term but we gotta call a spade a spade.

Garman mostly shops online, so Australia Post has her address etched into their postie routes.

Shopping is fun right Garman? We all get a dopamine rush from acquiring new shiny objects. And our collections can be a reflection of our identity.

Garman has a lot of identity. At the hall, there are 198 board games, 100+ toys, and clothes a’plenty. Garman says she plays the board games “a few times a year”, but I don’t see how it’s possible.

They agree to reduce the collection by 70%.

Angie is pimping up Ingrid’s home made-bench, and Jim’s dogwash is pimping up the family canine with a wash and dry. It’s an interesting side-project. I love how the team manages to squeeze in ads at every turn. They are even popping in ducted heating and cooling – what a win for the gals!

Cherie digs deep and also tackles the laundry, cos everyone knows how much washing is required with a toddler.

As usual, Garman the collector is making decisions that don’t reflect the 70% goal. Garman has only let go of 18% of her shoes for example. Peter calls her out on it. Ingrid is on the sidelines and is struggling to communicate her resentment.

Garman is stuck. She has strong attachments to her belongings. Peter reminds her that it’s just stuff. And that little Leila is what’s important. You may lose some figurines but you gain a space for Leila to grow up in.

And yet, it’s still a struggle. Garman fears that minimising her large stash will impact her identity.

Pete gets bored with the procrastination and gives her a time limit. Garman is doing the classic clutter churn, which means moving items around and not making decisions. People who hoard have difficulty with limits – both time limits and space limits.

Back at the house Cherie has done a spot of acquiring herself, and has shopped up a storm at Kmart to deck out the kitchen.

At the end of the process, Peter is in an unusual situation. Garman and Ingrid didn’t reach their decluttering goal so Garman has more work to do. A unit at Storage King is arranged to hold the excess items. Let’s hope they can get through it before the storage unit starts billing them directly. It can be really hard to get your stuff out of storage because it involves difficult decisions.

The sisters bring their fluffed-up pooch to the big reveal, which looks fantastic. Kitchen, dining, laundry, living room and Garman’s bedroom are cohesive and spacious.

The wooden bench top is now a coffee table and a baby cheese board. They toast to the good life with a cheeky glass of red.

Someone needs to block Garman from her online shopping haunts, and hopefully they can maintain the home. And don’t forget to tackle that storage unit ladies!

Steve and Maria and the village – a collaboration

Space Invaders Season 4-8-3 Steve and Maria take 2 - their living room before
Space Invaders Season 4-8-3 Steve and Maria take 2 - their living room after
Space Invaders Season 4-8-3 The collaborative decluttering team says cheers!

It seems it’s not enough that the Space Invaders team transforms the lives of cluttered Australians every week, they have decided to revisit prior subjects and dig up more dirt on them – um, I mean help them again. 

This episode is a trio of cheeky check-ins and a reunion of people who had actually never met. It’s a very special mission. The team says it’s three of their favourites, but I think it’s a couple in need and two other subjects who were prepared to have their homes scrutinised on national TV again. 

1. Steve and Maria 

Back in Season 2 Episode 7, the team decluttered and revamped this fabulous Greek couple’s back deck so they could entertain. And entertain they did! But also Maria had aneurysms and strokes and is currently wheelchair-bound. Yikes!

The crew steps inside to investigate. To see what can be done in light of new challenges. Cherie instantly finds layout issues, and also it transpires that Maria has been sleeping on the couch.A peek in the marital bedroom shows us why – it’s all junked up and Maria would need to be slingshot onto the bed if she wanted to share it with Steve. The team knows that Maria needs some relaxed and no-strings-attached spooning sessions on that bed with hubby to aid her recovery.

In a highly-elevated example of product placement, the decluttering is performed at an actual Storage King facility. This is marketing on steroids. There is a huge drone shot from outside, and footage inside the building – showing that you can store stuff while renovating. Great idea but I wonder how many occupants of those desolate places are actually in the throes of renos. I suspect most tenants have an out-of-sight, out-of-mind, out-of-wallet relationship with the likes of Storage King. Their stuff can be in there for years, even decades. $20,000 later they still have crap they don’t want and rarely think about (especially if they are in a direct debit situation) in an expensive warehouse.

This is not Storage King or Space Invaders’ fault – it’s a problem with consumerism and the availability of cheap junk.

But anyway on with the show.

Within the hallowed walls of Storage King, Maria is trying to cling to high heels and tight jeans that do not lend themselves to wheelchair life. Wait, but she is planning to recover and burst out of her wheelchair. Will you ever dance again Maria? Yes, but let’s cut down on the aspirational clutter anyway.

Maria would be a rare soul if she wanted to be in restrictive clothing. Since Covid lockdowns many of us have less tolerance to uncomfortable attire. My body recoils at the idea of heels, tailored clothes and underwire bras. Loungewear and flat shoes only, please.

Cheryl pops into Kmart and the footage is clearly after-hours, as K Town is NEVER empty like this, nor are the aisles this neat. 

Angie and Steve paint up a study nook, and more tears are shed about the trials and tribulations of getting old, having health problems and a family you love. Existential crisis mode.

2. Luke and David 

In Season 3 Episode 5, these guys had a cluttered townhouse and a cluttered communication style. Their communication style has improved, their place still looks brilliant and they have expanded on it by jazzing up the loft. They have extended Cherie’s sense of style and action – or maybe they have hidden a bunch of stuff in the garage and closed the door on it before the crew turned up. 

Jokes aside it seems the duo is no longer acquiring belongings, and they have a one-in-one-out policy for their stuff.

A+ fellas! 

Like the Dux of Year 12 who is asked back to their high school the following year to give a speech, Luke and David are enlisted to roll up their sleeves for Steve and Maria. Yay, it’s a crossover episode! 

3.  Jaime

This gorgeous gal was way back in Season 1 Episode 4, an ep which looked like the diaries of a shopaholic and dinner party queen. Peter pops back and Jaime has obviously done a whip-around with the Dyson and a big tub to hide in her car because the place looks immaculate. Or she is just a brilliant decluttering student, which is the version I will run with. 

Up in the bedroom also, she has maintained the team’s efforts and the boudoir is orderly. She has given up on shopping-as-sport, but alas she’s been nibbling too much so a healthy eating challenge is on the agenda. Damn, you did a great job girl but now you are being fat-shamed by the show. 

So she gets an A+ for her home clutter and a B- for her body clutter. 

She too, is swept up in the quest to help Steve and Maria.

It takes a village. And what a great village it is.

At the reveal, Steve and Maria’s lounge room looks great, but did Cherie factor in the wheelchair struggling over that completely unnecessary rug in the centre? 

A splash of Ya-Ya’s tiles on the bookcase and the couple is ready to see the bedroom. Cherie has nailed it decor-wise and the new bed is nice and low with side-clutter removed so that the couple can spoon and snuggle and watch TV. 

The table spread is abundant for the episode’s after-party, as the three episodes join as one. 

Tracey and Stuart

Space Invaders Season 4-7-1 0- the teen bedroom
Space Invaders Season 4-7-2 - The family is happy

Here’s the story, of a lovely lady. Who was bringing up two very lovely girls. All of them had lots of stuff. Like their mother. 

Apologies for the Brady Bunch ear worm, I couldn’t help myself.

Stuart moved in with two girls of his own and now we have lots of people and all their stuff. Blending two households means clutter a’plenty.

Throw in Tracey’s dad having a heart attack as well as work and life, and the house was never set up properly. Clothes live on beds and floors.

One of the gals glumly says that she tries to clean but the next day chaos is back. 

Dear readers that is the problem with disorganisation. When belongings don’t have a home, they can’t be put away. And neither can anything new that enters the home. Having too much stuff is also a major contributor to the entropy, because even if items DO have a home, they will be spilling out and the system quickly falls apart. 

As the camera pans across photos of Tracey’s ex, Stuart awkwardly explains that some of Tracey’s stuff is from a previous relationship. 

The Space Invaders team is greeted by mess on the front porch, a precursor for inside the home. They spot a sign that says “Good mums have sticky floors, messy kitchens, piles of laundry, dirty ovens and happy kids.” I’m no domestic goddess but that’s gross. 

Tracey explains that she used to be a housework queen but she decided to take the girls out and about rather than mop her sticky floors and clean her dirty oven. Okaaaay. 

She explains that she welcomed the Stuart trio with open arms but a lot of their stuff is living on the chaotic porch. And Peter gives her grief about her ex’s stuff, and suggests that she’s not as open-armed as she says. She looks a bit sheepish. 

We see the Hall of Shame, a hallway which became a dumping ground for stuff. I hope they don’t have to traverse that hallway regularly, because stepping over ladders and ironing boards to get to the toilet would drive me insane. 

Cherie eyeballs the carpet and the salmon pink wall trims. She has her sights set on Stu’s office, which lives on the dining table. It’s moving into a nook in the corner, and a (hopefully unnecessary) doorway is boarded up to make that happen. 

Pete suggests to the older girls that they are setting a dishevelled example for the younger step sisters. If the teens didn’t already hate those messy little brats, they do now. 

As soon as Cherie mentions that she hopes there is no asbestos, it’s apparent to me that there WILL be asbestos. It’s not an episode of Space Invaders without a renovating spanner in the works.  But no, it’s just an advertisement for Jim’s Asbestos Removal. Phew! 

The warehouse has a huge amount of stuff, and someone has been doing some counting. 113 plushies, 534 DVDs and trestles full of clothes. 

Peter claims the Brady Bunch has to get rid of 70% of their belongings. I hope that embarrassing “Good mums” sign is in the chuck pile. Do good mums have a photo of their ex in the entryway Tracey? Peter digs deeper on this travesty, and accuses Trace of still holding a tiny flame for him. She denies all of this and wants to move on. Peter demands she prove it by smashing shit up, so in a symbolic gesture some champagne flutes hit the walls and shatter.

Thank god Space Invaders has contacted the ex to see if he wants his stuff. He is probably watching the show in private, desperate to get his hands on his stubby holders. I wonder if he has a matching sign that says “Good dads leave junk with their ex and don’t pick it up”.

The teenagers start squabbling about their shite. Peter does what every young adult hates – confronts them. A long-winded conversation about towels aims to snap them out of their apathy.

The young girls do a bit of Plush Toy Push, which looks like a heap of fun, and soft toys are shoved and thrown with abandon. Poor soft Dora the Explorer does a triple spin midair before landing on the concrete. 

Angie unearths a box of figurines which are meaningful to Trace, and starts conjuring up a plan for them. A trinket box is underway. She also gets on the tools to zhuzh up the dining table. Stu grabs a paint brush to help Cherie, and reiterates that he is looking forward to getting his stuff off the porch.

There is a plug for the Paintback program for donating unused paint. What do they do with it all? I am picturing a giant mixing vat in a warehouse somewhere creating a murky brown product that nobody would want. But no, it’s used in industry as an alternative energy source – good to know!

The decluttering results at the warehouse show how much the fam has donated. They ht the 71% mark, which is on track. The Salvo’s are getting $7500 worth of stuff. I’d love to know which branch, as I have my eye on a pink Squishmallow. 

The couple is given a bunch of weight loss shakes and a gym membership, to declutter their bodies, which seems a bit off-brand and fat-shamey for Space Invaders. In a contradictory move, Chez gives them a box of gourmet treats at the big reveal. Despite this tiny touch of sabotage, we later learn they dropped a few kilos from their mum tum and dad bod. 

The family is agog at the house transformation. Tracey nearly hyperventilates, and I am expecting an advertisement for the ambulance to pop up next. But she recovers and they finish the house tour with appreciation and excitement. 

Stuart looks like Alf from Home and Away and I am expecting him to say “Stone the flamin’ crows’ when he sees his office nook, but he doesn’t. 

The Hall of Shame is deshamified, and can now be walked down – a reasonable expectation of a hallway.

Angie’s table job is impressive. I love the two-tone timber and white. 

The teens love their bedroom and promise to “Don’t put it down, put it away”. Words to live by.

Kathy, Ruby and Ella

Space Invaders Season 4-6-1 The room of doom
Space Invaders Season 4-6-2 clean light spaces

Full-time nurse and single mum Kathy has dedicated her life to caring for others, but who the hell is caring for her? The Space Invaders team, that’s who. They step in and investigate. 

Adult daughters Ella and Ruby have not been able to sit at the table for 10 years. Kathy’s mum passed away 8 years ago and the room she used to stay in is a hoarded shrine of sentimental and emotional clutter. On top of that, there are piles everywhere in the house. Peter says the house is immaculate, but there is definitely dust in those piles, it’s inevitable. 

Kathy explains that she wants to come home and live, not sort through things. Babe don’t we all. Life maintenance is a lot, especially when you have a high volume of belongings. A montage scans across and shows Kathy fossicking, searching, and wrestling with a wardrobe door. It’s comical and heartwrenching all at once.

Ella lives in the home but hides out in her bedroom away from the chaos. Attempts to help her mum declutter have failed, as Kathy has strong attachments to her stuff, and a brand of perfectionism that means if it’s not done perfectly, it’s not done at all. 

Ruby lives somewhere else and cringes every time she claps eyes on her mum’s hoard. It would be nice if she could stay in the guest bedroom at least. 

The house is packed up, interestingly by people wearing cheeky Kmart polos. Does Kmart have any idea how much they are contributing to clutter and landfill across the nation? (But they do have some damn fine bargains.)

At the hall the camera scans across 150 handbags, 120 pairs of shoes, 100+ Tupperware style containers with lids in disarray. And a linen closet which has spewed onto a trestle table. 

At the house Cherie hits the usual traps – mould in the bedroom, an unpolished patch of floorboards in the kitchen, and a time limit. The clock is ticking and Chez needs to problem-solve. 6 strapping lads carry in a stone bench in a great display of OH&S knowhow. But how on earth is Cherie going to make the horrid blue cabinetry look acceptable?

Kathy is trying to cling onto shoes and clothes, particularly a huge amount of undershirts. Kathy’s an expert at finding excuses to keep things. It turns out she has a scarcity mentality from years as a single mumma. The irony is that the just-in-case clutter causes more problems than it solves.

Kathy receives some stern words and a hug from Peter on more than one occasion. At one stage she is threatening to repurchase some of the decluttered objects later, and Pete is NOT having it. Kath do not receive a massive televised makeover and then pop onto Amazon to buy more junk. Nooo mumma, to maintain your space you have to stop getting your dopamine hits from acquiring. Stay out of Westfield Shoppingtown and unsubscribe from Catch of the Day. Consumerism – it’s a helluva drug.

Then a classic case of Kathy keeping junk for her daughters that they don’t even want. The discovery of a beloved hand-knitted jumper helps to put things into perspective. As Peter says, “we surround ourselves with stuff and we bury the treasures.” Sing it Peter.

Angie curates some artworks and her eyes sparkle when she finds out that Kathy has been chatting to her dead friends and mum via these pieces. 

Back at the sorting hall, donations are finally being slid into boxes. Thank goodness the plastic containers have been magically matched with their lids. The volunteers at the Salvos will be pleased. Having said that, I quite enjoy the matchy-matchy process.. Plastic containers and their lids, odd socks being reunited with their long lost partners – it makes my heart sing. 

The house reveal is stunning as always. It looks like a real estate ad. This is what Kathy deserves, after a lifetime of looking after others. She has been administering medications and redressing wounds since she was fresh out of high school, now she gets to enjoy a veggie sprayer on her tap and some room to move. 

At the end of Space Invaders, a QR code is displayed so that you can follow along at home and declutter by shopping! Well I guess the show has gotta pay the bills, including someone to match all the Tupperware and lids (although I would do it for free). For those wondering who forks out for the renovations, it’s not a wealthy benefactor with a penchant for scatter cushions. it’s the advertisers and products in the program.

Kylie and Paul

Space Invaders Season 4-5-1 - clutter galore
Space Invaders Season 4-5-2 - Kylie and Paul are rapt

Kylie and Paul’s lives and homes have spiralled out of control. 

Kylie’s dearly departed mum Denise had a problem with ‘collecting’ which followed Kylie figuratively and literally. K has been busy adding to the hoard, and the family has been pushed into one room, where the fridge is adorned with butterfly magnets and I spy Easter decorations on the dining table and Christmas decorations under the TV. 

So it’s a weird room where anything is possible but nothing really happens. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. They don’t even dine at the table. 

The master bedroom is as sad as Kylie and Paul’s relationship. Pete makes them say on national TV that they haven’t had sex in a very long time. 

You see, after a 17-year wait for their miracle baby, the couple now lets 6-year-old Aysha rule the roost. She sleeps in the master bedroom and it’s all a bit stifling. I’m sure Aysha will love re-watching this episode in years to come and learning about her parents’ lack of ‘intimacy’. 

It has taken me this long to realise that Space Invaders season 4 has a dedicated warehouse complete with cube shelving for shoe display. The days of setting up random Scout halls across Sydney are gone.

The clutter volume at the hall is massive. There is a whole trestle table of high-vis clothes alone. But it’s Denise’s stuff which is occupying a shitload of real estate, and so is Denise’s mental legacy.

Kyles is worried she has her mum’s hoarding traits. She and Paul are at a crossroads. Their relationship is strained and Paul has had a gutful.

It’s so bad that they have dusted off a decluttering expert called Rachel from The Block, who baulks at Kylie’s aspirational baking clutter, and Peter puts his foot down. 

And he also lifts Kylie up, literally. She is propped up on the shoe racks and awkwardly repeats mantras about how to move forward. 

There are seven rooms to renovate, which puts Cherie to the test. Wall panels, licks of paint and plenty of Kmart decor are deployed. 

Angie has her eye on some vintage jewellery and even sniffs out a diamond. She also utilises some frames to display Aysha’s artwork. Angie obviously doesn’t have children, or she would have given up on that battle after term 1 of kindergarten.

Back at the hall, the lovebirds renew their vows Space Invaders style, which involves tipping clutter off trestle tables onto the floor for someone else to pick up. Space Invaders behind-the-scenes team, I see you.

The project leads to a record 91% reduction in stuff and although I had never seen Rachel before, if this is all her doing, let’s bring her out more often. 

At the big reveal, Cherie has renovated and styled the home beautifully, and K & P have also had a glow-up, with fresh clothes and hair. 

And thank god, because by the look of their new bedroom, they’ll be getting lucky tonight. 

Sandra and Denise

Space Invaders Season 4-4-1 brown 70s decor
Space Invaders Season 4-4-2 - pastel paradise

After the death of her husband Ron, Sandra was left drowning in his belongings and unable to move forward. With the help of the team and daughter Denise, she tackles the clutter head-on.

As covered in the SBS show The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, processing a loved one’s clutter after they die, is a necessary but heart-wrenching task. Removing their stuff can feel like gradually erasing them as if they didn’t exist at all. Most grievers want proof and recognition that the dead person was vibrant and fantastic. How does one do that while removing all the stuff they used, loved and touched?

But Sandra is not burdened by any of that. The opening scene shows her admit that she is lonely, but overwhelmed and tired of living in a cluttered shrine to Ron. Her readiness to cull is refreshing. Often, grief and attachment can hold us back, but Sandra is ready to go. 

The house is iconic. Brown wood panelling, 70s wallpaper and a huge amount of table tennis trophies. Trophies can be difficult to declutter because they feel personal and represent achievement.

And Sandra has a thing for frogs. Collecting a certain animal was a vibe in the 80s when stuff was more difficult to acquire. My mum collected seals and her sister had 100+ elephants. These days a Pinterest board would do the job of all those figurines, and collect zero dust. Technology has its benefits.

Sandra admits that frogs aside, there is not much of her in the house. As if Ron hadn’t occupied the entire place, we are invited into Ron’s Room (the spare room). His presence looms large, and Sandra has been in the shadows. Daughter Denise is sad about this, partly because Ron was not always the greatest dude – he was a big drinker. This episode is getting as dark as the brown rooms in Sandra’s home. 

Personally, I see the retro appeal of Sandra’s wallpaper, but it has to go, to bring the house forward 50 years. Sandra says she likes pastel colours, which tells me she might be headed only 10 years ahead, into the 80s. But in Cherie’s hands, I know that won’t happen. It’s gonna be great. 

At the sorting hall, Peter says Sandra needs to remove 70% of the stuff. The hall is loaded with 238 trophies, 77 frogs, books galore and plenty of weird decor items. 

Peter hones in on Sandra’s goals – love, comfort, welcoming. This is a great idea to keep her on track. Each item she processes should match one or more of these criteria or else they go.. 

Sandra plucks out a small number of frogs as keepers, and the mother-daughter relationship is strained. Peter calls Denise a nag and Sandra stubborn, in an affectionate way that only he can get away with. 

At the house, the 1970s bar (where Ron probably got inebriated) is demolished, and there is symbolism in this.

Angie digs deep into the table tennis memorabilia and starts working on a memory wall.

At the hall, Sandra is sorting through trinkets with a brutality that makes Pete wonder. We organisers love it when clients let go of their stuff, but when they are TOO keen to declutter, it can be a red flag. As it turns out, Ron was a right pisspot and Sandra wants to leave all that behind, in the form of figurines.

Every glass and wooden trinket assigned to the donate box puts her further away from her former life as the wife of an alcoholic. Usually, people can’t speak highly enough of the deceased, so it’s a brutally honest revelation.

Then it’s trophy time. Sandra gets culling, and Peter wants to see the crappiest of the prizes hurled against the wall as a cathartic exercise. Sandra’s table tennis arm seems to have stiffened up a bit, but she gets into it with some trophy-chucking and mantra-reciting. Denise loves this, and her gorgeous dimples show up. 

Books, clothes and furniture are also farewelled. Sandra is unstoppable. 83% of her stuff is kicked to the curb. Sandra says she has made space for more in her life, in this post-Ron era. She says repeatedly “I am alive” with lovely twinkling blue eyes, which reminds us how stifling and deadening clutter can be. 

The house-reveal is impressive. The living room has comfortable seating and a TV, which is no longer tucked under the demolished bar where Ron got wasted.

Lulu the pink frog gets pride of place, and Sandra’s table tennis achievements are put on a Wall of Fame. Boasting rights granted. 

The sewing room is amazing, a complete erasure of the dark, oppressive space that represented Ron. The grand kiddies are equally pleased. Sandra has won a lot of table tennis prizes, but this is her real win. 

Simon and Karisha

Space Invaders Season 4-3-1 the cluttered living room
Space Invaders Season 4-3-2 The team and the happy couple

Simon and Karisha are proud parents to six kids, but with all the housework and running them around, things have become chaotic. 

As a self-confessed dance mum, Karisha says there are no less than 1000 dance costumes and yet little space to dance. 

The laundry looks like a technicolour vomit, and the lounge room is littered with dance costumes, toys and games. 

The master bedroom has piles and tubs of clothes on the floor. I’ll bet the cupboards are full too. It’s not conducive to romance or relaxation. 

Clutter has spread across every surface, stifling family time and couple time.

Simon laments the lack of any system. Belongings are shoved in the corner, nobody can find them again and they are repurchased. Rinse and repeat. He is bummed about the expense and the waste, and implies his wife is a spend-thrift.

The team’s goal is to unify the family and make space for them to gather, rather than the current fragmented situation where they are dodging clutter and each other.

At the warehouse, there are 4000 items laid out, including a whopping 50 laundry baskets! This goes to show that buying more tubs and baskets does not solve the problem of Too. Much. Stuff. 

Peter pulls a literal lever and reveals a theatrical shower of socks. Who the heck is going to pair them all? We never find out, as instead the attention turns to the dance costumes. Simon is salty about the time and money spent on this hobby, and the fact that Karisha makes all the decisions about it. Who knew that tulle and sequins could cause this much tension? Peter puts his relationship counsellor hat on and tells them a team effort is crucial. 

He also talks to Karisha about the one-in, one-out method to maintain the space. There are concerns that she’ll be reaching for the credit card as soon as their backs are turned. 

Cherie rips out ceiling fans and cornices, and Angie gets busy making over the dance studio. A home cinema is planned, and there is feigned distress at a too-big TV just purchased. Surely it can be returned. Where did you guys buy it – at a garage sale?

Peter teaches the kids how to sort laundry, and the avalanche of socks reappears. The idea is to take some of the load off Karisha, but let’s hope that won’t give her more time to shop.

It turns out that clothes were a way for her to connect with her mum who has since died, and Peter reminds her that stuff and memories are different. “What would your mum say about this?” Pete asks, which is a great question. Stuff does not replace a loved-one, and staying cluttered helps nobody. 

With renewed vigour, clothes are culled as well as 280 pairs of shoes, and countless DVDs and homewares. The keep pile still includes two big tubs of socks, paired by a sock angel somehow. Shoutout to the behind-the-scenes team of Space Invaders, pairing socks, loading trucks and laying out clutter on trestle tables since 2021.

Kmart gets a good mention this series, and we even see Peter perusing the aisles for laundry storage ideas. 

At the big reveal, the marital couple gasps at the sight of their bedroom which looks like a boutique hotel. Karisha implies there will be romance.

But even more of a turn-on is Peter’s laundry sorting station, which puts some responsibility in the hands of the kids. Each child is assigned a cubby in a cube unit, where their clean, folded clothes end up for them to put away.

Personally I would like to see tubs in the cubbies so they can be taken to the respective bedrooms. I also think maybe a laundry hamper in each of the kids’ bedrooms (especially the older sprites) could work. The small Kmart Lights and Darks hamper ain’t going to cut it for 8 people. But we didn’t get a peek into the kids’ bedrooms, so I guess the team just worked with the rooms they were assigned.

The dance room is fit to inspire anyone to do a routine, and the lounge has been configured for movie nights and family gatherings.

Seeing them all milling about admiring the renos, reminds me that they have six children. SIX! Honestly guys, get a room. Wait, they did! But please no more kids – there are only six cubes in the laundry unit.

Ben, Carla and Christine

Space Invaders Season 4-2-1 clutter everywhere
Space Invaders Season 4-2-2 Carla, her mum and the team

30-year-old Ben lives with his mum Christine in Sydney’s west. 

He has a flamboyant alter ego – drag queen Carla from Bankstown. Ben has always been messy, but Carla amplified that. Think makeup, statement coats, rows of shoes, mounds of wigs and all the things that an Instagram celebrity needs and wants to maintain their persona. 

Along with the rise of the star has come the rise of the clutter.

It has spilled from Ben’s room into the living spaces. Christine is feeling trapped. It’s hard to sit down, let alone entertain guests. 

Having an adult child at home can be hard, and Christine has both Ben and Carla and all their stuff to contain. 

And of course, there is a back story. Ben was relentlessly bullied at school for his weight and his sexuality, and his only solace was his mum Christine, and then his alter ego Carla. 

And his Crocs. Even after Carla rubs off her makeup in the first scene to reveal Ben, he is sporting a flashy pair of pink crocs. And who can blame him – comfort and style all in a shoe. The Crocs with heels add a touch of class. 

On the reno front, Cherie has an additional challenge. This is a rental property, so structural change is out of the question. The suburban 80s brick archways will need to be covered to separate Carla’s private glam room from what will become a dining space. 

At the warehouse, Ben steps up (in pink Crocs of course) out of Carla’s shadow to confront all the clutter that has been clogging up their home. 

The footwear range includes no less than 35 pairs of Crocs – and I LOVE the gold glitter pair. There are clothes aplenty, bags, wigs and also loads of DVDs, games and collectables. 

Christine wonders how they lived with it all, and Peter notes that they were not living, only surviving. Sharing your space with that much stuff is overwhelming. And it’s always confronting to see the contents of a cupboard or house laid bare. Our cupboards and surfaces are great at containing and concealing the volume that we own. 

Cherie heats up the wallpaper in Ben’s room to strip it off cleanly, and images of peeling off sunburned skin in the 80s come to mind. Around the time of the Slip, Slop, Slap campaign. The removable wallpaper she finds as a replacement is a great rental-friendly solution, and it promises to come off even more easily.

Ben starts culling shoes but he is barely scratching the surface. Peter uses tape to mark out the floor of Carla’s room, as a reminder that space is a finite resource. There are only so many feather boas and sequinned dresses one can comfortably store. As it turns out, due to a 75kg weight loss, many of Carla’s clothes are too big.

This is the opposite of many cluttered wardrobes, which contain clothes that people want to shrink back into. I call this aspirational clutter.

As a segue, a diet company pokes their head in to offer what seems like unsolicited advice on how Ben and Christine can lose even more weight. But heck, bills have to be paid and temporary walls need to be constructed.  

Angie takes control of the wig storage. A standout – the yellow mullet wig. Meanwhile, the glam room is looking fit for a queen – a drag queen. The team is separating Ben’s chill space from Carla’s dressing and livestream room. 

Some Kmart AR (Augmented Reality) software for furniture placement is spruiked, and it looks like fun. 

At the warehouse, Peter delves into the family dynamic. Ben and Carla’s stuff has smothered Christine in her home for years. Christine has protected her son from bullying for so long, that she has felt unable to set boundaries. But with Peter’s coaching and some uplifting music, this is changing, and the decluttering project accelerates as belongings slide into donate boxes with ease. 

Now for the fun part – Cherie starts styling. Floor lamps. House plants. Slightly tacky placemats. 

The donate pile is hefty, and someone in Sydney’s west has happily enlarged their collection of Crocs and sequins. Actually Ben has bequeathed a selection to Twenty10, a charity which benefits the queer community. The rest goes to the Salvos, and let’s not go there with the history of transphobia and homophobia and the Salvos – something the church has scrabbled to rectify in recent years. 

Onwards and upwards – the results are stunning as usual. The dining room is bright and welcoming, and those white placemats don’t look so bad after all (until they inevitably get a dollop of spaghetti sauce on them in the future). A games cupboard promises to promote family unity even more. 

Ben and Carla both get perfect rooms. Texture and style for Ben, glamour and colour for Carla. Ben sheds tears of joy, then transforms into Carla who is exultant. Makeup and outfits are sorted meticulously, and I can see lots of batwing eyeliner and sparkles in her future. 

Organising is all about categorising, and it’s interesting that Peter has categorised Ben and Carla’s stuff into each persona. It makes perfect sense and the whole family is thrilled.

They even declutter their bodies a bit more, and shed some more weight. Winning! 

This episode was sponsored by Crocs (joke).

Jo and Efrem

If you have just finished The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning on SBS like I have, you were thirsty for more televised decluttering.

Space Invaders Season 4 starts with Jo and Efrem and their kids. They are a close-knit family, but true to the story of each episode, there was a change in circumstances which kickstarted the clutter issue.

It’s a common clutter trajectory actually, and not unique to the show. A lot of clients tell me they were fine until Covid, or fine until someone they loved passed away, or fine until an injury or trauma. There is often a fulcrum to a descension into household chaos.

In Jo’s case, six months ago she shattered her kneecap, and I don’t know about you but any time someone uses the word ‘shatter’ in relation to a bone, it’s always bad. Jo became immobile and had to shut down her event staging business. 

Cascade of clutter incoming. All of Jo’s work and staging props ended up in the garage and in Efrem’s music room. He says it makes the place look like a $2 shop. That’s not very nice Ef, imagine if someone said that about all your drums.

And for Jo it’s much more than cheap homewares. Her business was her life and her identity. If Jo gets rid of all the bric-a-brac, any chance of returning to her work and sense of identity, are gone. Shattered kneecap, shattered hopes and dreams.

The team arrives to check out the dreaded garage and Peter starts tossing cushions with abandon. Before he gets too excited and turns on the vases, the makeshift homewares storeroom is loaded onto the truck. Stuffed animals, statues and faux plants are marched towards the sorting hall where their fates will be determined. 

At the hall, the couple is understandably shocked by the volume of stuff. Over 1200 candles and 200 cushions – I wonder who counts this stuff?

No wonder Jo can’t figure out what to do with her career, she has been drowning in clutter. 

Meanwhile, Cherie and the team get to work in the garage. An existing bench is repurposed and pimped, and some sexy task lighting goes in.

Jo’s decision-making seems to be impaired. She wants to keep all the pieces. It’s a common response, related to the endowment effect and people’s general attachment to their stuff. And of course Jo’s sense of self.

Then the truth comes out – Jo loves shopping. Her staging business had been a vehicle for the dopamine hit she got from acquiring. An event staging company – the perfect smokescreen for a shopaholic!

Peter asks some good questions about the items Jo wants to keep, like “where is this going to live?”. They also workshop Jo’s packrat tendencies, and it turns out she wants to get married to Efrem, and has been feathering her nest for decades. Awww.

Ef has his own touching story – he has an unfinished chess table Angie will restore to honour his late father. Efrem has some other emotions float to the surface, including the passing of his first wife and some communication issues with Jo.

A man-hug from Peter and the couples therapy session is complete. We head back to the garage where we are expecting a lighter mood, but a looming storm threatens the project. 

At the hall, Jo is looking at some high-end stock, and Peter suggests selling some of her wares. He offers 3 months of storage at Storage King, to give her the chance to make some cash. Peter insists this is not a procrastination tactic – it needs to be actioned. The idea puts a spring in her step, and she becomes more determined to declutter in the name of sales. Peter estimates the (new) value of her selling stash at $6800.

With my recent experience on Marketplace, I would whittle this right down to $1000, and hours and hours of answering ridiculous questions, being ghosted and having hopes crushed. But you never know, if the team takes beautifully staged photos and the listings are detailed and clear, miracles may happen. Good luck Jo! 

The garage team starts bickering in a scene that was an interesting inclusion in the episode.

There is more cushion-tossing in the hall, and Jo is feeling as liberated as the stuffed tiger which sits atop the donations stack. It is pleased to be finally freed from the clutter pile. 

The garage and music room look fabulous, ready for the couple to indulge in their respective hobbies. Jo is encouraged to get creative, and Ef has customised storage for his music gear. There is more music gear inside the house in the music room, and I’m starting to wonder whether Efrem needs to address HIS acquiring tendencies as well. A shopaholic partner – the perfect smokescreen for a man who keeps buying drums.

Now to hunt down Jo’s listings online to find me some discounted brass candlestick holders.

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