As we approach a brand new year, it’s a good time to shift all that energy-sapping clutter that’s invaded our homes, our lives and our headspace. Stuff we’ve been given as presents, never liked but felt guilty getting rid of; stuff we spent far too much on to ditch… even though we’ve never worn/used it; stuff that’s just accumulated because clearing it just seems too daunting. All these things make us feel bad every time we open an overfilled cupboard, drawer or wardrobe and they stare back at us accusingly.
As anyone in my family will tell you, decluttering is not a skill I was naturally blessed with. I’ve found that reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo has, indeed, been life-changing.
In her international bestseller, Marie guides you through a really easy strategy for clearing your space of things that you’ve been hanging on to but which are blocking your energy. The basic premise is that you lay out on the floor all the stuff of the same ilk (eg. every single one of your dresses) and then you pick up each one in turn in your hand. If it gives you what she calls a spark of joy (don’t worry… you’ll recognise this when you do it) then you keep it. If it doesn’t, then – and be open-minded here – you thank it, say goodbye to it and release it on its journey. No feeling guilty or beating yourself up.
So, earlier this year, I spent a couple of pleasant afternoons talking to everything from a lip gloss to a pair of leg-warmers – much to the merriment (if not surprise) of my kids. I was amazed at how quickly and painlessly I cleared out room after room. However, the one area I didn’t have the heart to tackle at the time was the drawers under my husband’s side of our bed – home to random keepsakes dumped there when we moved in 19 years ago.
According to the laws of Feng Shui, storing old stuff under your bed is a no-no as it prevents energy (known in traditional Chinese culture as “chi”) from circulating. It’s also like sleeping on lots of old memories when you’re supposed to be renewing yourself through sleep.
As 2015 draws to a close, and, in the interests of practising what I preach for a fresh start to 2016, I’ve finally grasped the nettle.
Prising open the drawers, I’ve discovered just what my poor husband has been lying on at night for nearly two decades: my final year university dissertations on Spanish literature; my Chartered Institute of Marketing diploma coursework; all my school reports, courtesy of Mum; a German dictionary from when I optimistically took evening classes; a random assortment of photos and negatives that didn’t make the grade for albums; a collection of my diaries, which I kept between 1987 and 2000; and a bin bag of my husband’s momentos, labelled “my first 18 years”. Cripes! Talk about sleeping on memories.
Two bursting bin bags later and, voilà! All of it was binned (sorry… sent on the next part of its journey) or stored somewhere more suitable.
Have you got a stash of old stuff begging to be released? Now’s the time to let it go!
And if you’d like to share what you’re finding difficult to ditch, just leave a comment below.