12-30-09 11:34 PM

If you've seen episodes of RenovAid, you'll know that the reality show, which combines charity and home renovation for the less fortunate, featured a family of six which lived in flat crammed with items.

When we caught up with Michelle Chia at the filming, the host described in a serious tone the entire home to be "just stuffed with stuff.

"Like things that you've had for years but just left aside. It's packed from the floor to the ceiling. And none of the wardrobes can be opened because the doors are all blocked by boxes and stacks of clothes or whatever, we don't even know yet. We only just cleared the corridor, and now we're moving into the living room next."

Michelle shared that during her visits to the house, she "felt very uncomfortable and a lot of discomfort. It was just not good energy. We needed to give them a new environment to live in, better energy, better vibe."

Her forehead very nearly throbbed as she said with steely determination, "We're gonna try and convince them to throw any as much stuff as possible." Though it could be quite the challenge at times, "'cos there's still some stuff they want to keep, which we can't understand, like 'Why do you want this?'"

But is the pot calling the kettle black, when Michelle admitted to being a bit of a hoarder herself? "But I found a very good way to throw stuff away. If I realize I haven't thought about that thing at all in the last one or two years, that means I won't miss it. So I just chuck it away or donate it. Especially clothes (sheepishly), just give them away. My mum's good at that!"

Guess it also helps that her hubby, fellow actor Shaun Chen is "quite minimalist. And he's very organized-more organized that me!"

Besides battling the clutter (and dust) during the shoot, Michelle also had to be ultra careful because of her sinus problem and a recently-acquired back injury. She chuckled when we enquired how her nose was doing. "I've always had sinus problem. Whenever it's dusty I get very itchy, I start sneezing, and my eyes get very watery.

But right now, the biggest problem is my back. The lower part of my spine isn't doing very well, so I can't bend up and down, carrying heavy stuff. Fortunately, we have some volunteers, including two of the show's producers. (Laughs)"

RenovAid airs Thurs, 10pm on Ch 5.

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