So two years ago I decluttered and tidied the house and then one year ago I decluttered again prior to our house move and once more after we had moved.
You'd think I was living a zen minimalist life - but no, quite the opposite - we are not wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling in possessions (and we have an empty loft space) but I often get that creeping feeling of disorganisation when there is just stuff in my way, I feel crowded or I can't find something quickly.
In the first week of January, three people on Instagram and two friends mentioned Marie Kondo's book on tidying - and as I have a personal rule 'if something is mentioned to me two to three times it must be explored' I bought her book as part of my Big New Year Book Buy (I get lots of book vouchers for Christmas).
All I knew was that you asked yourself if each item 'sparked joy' before you decided whether to keep or recycle and you thank your items for working hard. The latter was way too woo for me so the book sat on my shelf for a week and I read something else.
After a particularly annoying day of delving around in my Tardis-like handbag for phone, keys and lipstick (but only finding a lolly, three times) I cherry-picked the section on bags - rolled my eyes and put the book back on the shelf.
But then I thought about what I had read and realised that I do carry an awful lot of stuff I need, but not everyday - so I allocated an empty drawer in the kitchen and unpacked my handbag - throwing the damned lolly away.
The next morning I picked a joyful handbag, packed what I needed and unpacked again when I came home. I had no problems finding one of the three things I had packed and I didn't feel as if I was lugging a big sack around all day.
This was my epiphany. My sudden revelation.
I have now read the book from cover to cover and have worked through my clothes (four wardrobes down to two), books (I adore her Hall of Fame idea), toiletries (a shocking level of hoarding - how many cotton buds does one family need?) and I am halfway through papers. Previously I have tidied by room, but following a list of categories is simpler.
Luckily all that previous decluttering has made this a much easier journey and I am already pretty good at keeping alike items in one location (something she recommends for ease when it comes to living back in the real world).
Back to the woo - when she suggests you don't fold your socks as they have worked hard and need a rest I try not to think of them as sentient beings and remember that the elastic on socks/tights continues to be stretched when you ball them up (as I did, tightly, pre-epiphany), and who wants saggy clothes?
It has now been a few days since I tidied my clothes - I feel quite energised when I think about what I am going to wear, there are no conversations in my head about why I should wear this or what needs to happen before I wear that. I have even maintained the neat drawers of underwear/gym clothes/tops/nightwear/cardigans - yes, I have fitted all that in one big drawer - and am almost quite fast at her way of folding, even when tired.
The only downside has been that I am very sniffly and I am not sure if I have a cold or if this is a reaction to all the dust I have unsettled.....
PS apparently this is my 200th blog. Wow.