So it all started with THAT BOOK. I think it was around New Year when it first turned up on my Facebook news feed. You know that time when you’re reflecting on the past, looking to the future and are far more receptive to the idea of making changes to your life.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about you must have been hiding under a pile of unfolded laundry for the last few months. The Life-changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo is a book that promises to transform your home into a clutter-free space and in doing so, change your whole life.
As a self-confessed hoarder I jumped at the chance to get rid of all the stuff around me that I felt was holding me back. In a couple of clicks I had purchased it on Amazon and was eagerly anticipating its arrival through my letter box.
To be honest, the first stage of the decluttering process was easy. As instructed I threw every item of clothing I owned, including shoes and handbags, onto the living room floor and went through each item methodically deciding whether it inspired joy or not. This is what the author asks you to do, if something doesn’t bring you joy, she instructs you to throw it out.
The folding technique Kondo uses was a bit of a challenge initially but when it was completed I felt incredibly proud of my neat drawers and minimalist wardrobe. I also took five big bags of ‘stuff’ to a charity shop.
But then my emotions got involved. The thing is I don’t seem to have the same attachment to my clothes as I do to my children’s. It took me a long time to finally agree to give away items my son had worn when he was a baby and toddler even though, by this time I was expecting a baby girl, and they were going to a good home. It would seem that having children has turned me into a sentimental fool. Every babygrow and t-shirt seemed to bring back memories of a developmental milestone, a funny moment or a day out.
Even now I haven’t had the heart to get rid of the mini morning suit my son wore when his dad and I got married eight years ago, a tie dye t-shirt we bought for him when we were on honeymoon in Brighton and an furry all-in-one pram suit, my daughter also wore, which made them both look like teddy bears. I find it hardest to throw their shoes away. Thoughts of the tentative steps they took whilst barely bending their chubby knees flood into my head. My heart melts and they stay piled up in the cupboard.
Another source of clutter in our house is old cards. When I started out on this process I realised that I had kept every card any of us had been given in the almost nine years we have lived here. The space these take up when you put them all together is mind blowing. My son has celebrated eight birthdays and my daughter five and I have the cards from every one of them. Just seeing a giant three on a card takes me back to when they were that age. I have all of their Christmas cards too.
I am getting better with their clothes and I’ve even given away and sold old toys they have outgrown. Some of these toys tug at the heart strings more than others. Saying farewell to my daughter’s Happyland was much harder for me than for her but I’ve consoled myself with how much joy playing with them used to bring her and hopefully they will do the same thing for their new owners. These days she is far more interested in building random things with her Lego Friends bricks to give them a second thought.
I try, wherever possible, to make sure things go to a good home. I’ve sent books to a nursery, toys to a Sunday school and blankets and sheets to my children’s school for den building. Most weeks I will take a bag or two into one of my favourite charity shops.
So I’m getting there, our home is actually looking less cluttered these days. You can actually see the floor in some places. I’ve realised this task is going to take a while. I’m several months into the process but there is still so much to do or should I say so much to go. Watch this space (there is so much more of it than there used to be) and I’ll keep you informed.