They say you should start at the beginning, but not all beginnings are clear. I had read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up with a reasonable dose of cynicism shortly after its publication. I liked the concept but it all felt a bit too full on, too complete for my life at that point. Still, it stayed on my Kindle and I dipped in and out occasionally.
One house move across London later I had upgraded from half an IKEA PAX wardrobe to a full wall of built in John Lewis carpentry, and very nice it was too. So why did I have a nagging feeling of discontent every time I entered ‘the wardrobe room’?
Because it was a tip.
How was it possible to have an entire room dedicated to wardrobe loveliness within a four bedroom house, and still find oneself surrounded by ‘stuff’ constantly?
Out came KonMari, and this time I loved it. I was pregnant at the time so the hormones probably played some sort of part. Category 1? Done. Wardrobe room clear, calm, and joy-sparking.
Then came our relocation to Malta. We had a couple of months to prepare but with a small baby demanding our attention, opportunities to KonMari were limited. We stuck to a gentler but less satisfying ‘Keep? Discard? Store for our return?’ system. Due to ongoing renovation work it wasn’t possible to collect all items from each category in one space and if I’m honest, it once again felt too much to be decluttering at the same time as learning how to parent and planning a move to the other side of the continent.
And here we are. In our nice apartment in a hot place, surrounded by the things we most wanted to have with us in an unfamiliar country. More ‘stuff’ that we could ever imagine was directed to a rather disbelieving local charity before we came, so in a sense we began the ‘discard’ process a few months before moving. However, I wasn’t quite satisfied that the balance had been reached. I looked into my wardrobe, my personal filing system, our kitchen cupboards and still saw a sea of things that most definitely did not spark joy.
So call it a maintenance trim, call it a recap, call it round two, call it ‘the real thing’, but it was time to begin. Not quite at the beginning but…..