At Bourke Accounting, we’re allowed to have personal items on our desks. Pictures of family, funky bits of art, flowers – as long as it’s not offensive, it’s permitted. However, we are not allowed clutter; if a worker’s “World’s Best Mom” mug collection is stacked three deep on her desk with more on the floor, Bill is going to schedule a little talk.

I see his point. Obviously, an organized space makes finding important documents easy and leads to greater productivity. As we are not hoarders at Bourke, we’re not included in the five to 14 million Americans who are ( Because of reality television shows, most people know what it means to be a hoarder. Just in case, a hoarder is a person who fills up her/his house with – what appears to be – junk. Most of those afflicted have suffered some sort of traumatic experience or varying degrees of abandonment. They find comfort in being surrounded by stuff.

Most of the time, hoarders keep pretty innocuous things: too many pictures of clowns or angel figurines. However, sometimes the hoarder keeps dangerous weirdness. For example, in 2013, a woman was found to have 67 dead cats in her freezer and 100 live ones in crates crammed to the ceiling ( She wasn’t an evil animal abuser; she was simply very damaged and did not realize the harm she was causing these creatures.

While not all of us hoard physical items, a lot of us are mental hoarders. Some of us take old memories out of the closet to examine over and over. Just like physical hoarders, some of these ancient things are harmless and some are insanely detrimental. Not opening an umbrella indoors because your grandma said it was bad luck doesn’t affect your life (and might save a vase by the door). However, it’s when we relive negative experiences that we hurt ourselves. Remembering harsh words screamed by a friend or berating ourselves for losing the love of our life is not at all beneficial unless we learned something from it. If we simply relive a very bad memory thoughtlessly and automatically, we will never find happiness.

These negative thoughts are especially true when considering self-esteem. The things that are said to us as children stick. While we might be the most capable person in the world, some of us cling so desperately to damaging assessments given to us while young that we constantly doubt ourselves.

Right now, it’s very apparent that our mental hoarding is doing damage. For instance, I know someone who doesn’t like a particular group of people. He has never had any disastrous dealings with said group, yet he still feels that they’re vaguely out to get him and, somehow, beneath him. Wouldn’t you know it? His father was part of a club that enjoyed wearing pointy hats and dresses at night. While this man, logically, knows that we’re all the same, he still can’t totally clean out the mental storage unit that was filled by his father. We have to be better.

So how do we avoid cutting ourselves on the broken glass of bad memories and early indoctrination? Think of a pink elephant. The next time you’re remembering something that you wish you could throw away, think of a pink elephant. If it’s a seriously terrible memory, put some glitter on that beast. You lived the experience and you examined the memory endlessly. Now it’s time to call 1-800-GOTJUNK and get rid of it.

Besides continuing education lessons, Bourke Accounting experts don’t hoard memories. You won’t be tortured with reminders of past financial missteps by your Bourke Accounting expert. Bourke Accounting bookkeepers and tax preparers understand that every day is a new day and there’s no percentage in living in the past.

Come see us any time. Our number is 502-451-8773 and don’t forget to visit our website at See you soon!

Written by Sue H.