Tidying up and cutting back as a life-changing experience

In the light of our recent experience of getting rid of years of clutter and excess possessions, I was intrigued to read an article in the Telegraph titled ‘How my year of tidying up changed my life and my family‘.  Here’s an excerpt.

I’ll be honest, when you walk into  my (tiny, suburban) cottage, the  first thing that strikes you isn’t, ‘Wow, look at this stark minimalist paradise!’ or even ‘Where are all  the things?’ and certainly not ‘What do you mean they have a toddler?!’ Yet I am now a certifiable decluttering freak, having recently got rid of around 65 per cent of my possessions.

The reason is Marie Kondo’s blockbusting book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. You may have heard of it. You may even have bought it.

And if you read it, you will definitely have fantasised about how ‘tidying increases good fortune… and dramatically transforms our lives’. And then, as with all good self-help books, you probably wedged it back on your (overcrowded) bookshelf.

Not me. I actually did it. And let me tell you, it took me a whole freaking year of stress, confusion, humiliation, heavy lifting and bloody-minded determination.

On reading the book, I was an instant convert. Trapped at home with a toddler and feeling OCD about my environment,  I was entranced by Marie’s promise that ‘putting [your] house in order positively affects all other aspects of [your] life.’

I was seduced by her ‘KonMari’ method, with  its geometrically folded, vertically stored clothes that allow you to see everything  you own at a glance. I wanted less stuff to maintain and wade through; or as the author puts it, ‘to be surrounded [only] by things that bring joy.’ I started on 1 January 2015 and never looked back.

One of her strictures is that you complete the clutter banishment in one hit, ‘one category at a time!’ But Marie, 30, is an ‘expert declutterer and professional cleaner’ and also something of an obsessive who won’t ball her socks in pairs because they need to ‘rest’.

By contrast, I am a mother with a chaotic work-life balance  and no car; and I’m married to a graphic designer/artist who cannot throw anything away and thinks it appropriate to display, say, luxury bath-product packaging on our bookshelves because it is ‘inspirational’.

But I made it work. And if you’re intrigued enough to give it a try, let me give you some idea of what may be in store for you over the next 12 months (and counting).

There’s more at the link.

I must confess, I’ve changed my views on possessions and clutter (what Miss D. derisively calls “Stuff!”) as a result of our big throw-out and sort-out.  I found myself nodding in agreement and sympathy as I read the article.  I’m going to do my best to keep on top of our possessions in future, and stop accumulating so much that simply isn’t necessary.  I haven’t (yet) read Ms. Kondo’s book, but based on our experience preparing to move to a different state, I’m willing to bet it’ll contain some useful ideas.

Read the full article for yourself, and give it some thought.  You might find the process of de-cluttering and simplifying your life works for you, too.



  1. William Morris had a saying, – something to the effect of keeping nothing around unless it was USEFUL, or BEAUTIFUL. Gives a bit more leeway there.

  2. Moving is a great incentive, when you figure out that it costs almost a buck a pound nowadays to professionally move your stuff.

  3. If she would have been my little sister, she'd have been dead. The book is worth reading, but, see my first sentence,

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