Happy New Year! Have you managed to make it through the first two weeks of January with your resolutions intact?
At the start of each year we tend to focus on what we would like to change about our lives. With the world outside our front door getting more and more complicated every day, it's more than understandable that people want their lives to be as straight forward as possible.
A keen interest in 'decluttering' over the last couple of years comes from our longing for a simple life, and at the centre of this tidying up revolution is Marie Kondo, a Japanese author.
Marie Kondo had topped international bestseller lists with her 2014 book 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising' and in 2016 released 'Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying'.
It's easy to dismiss the decluttering fad as a flash in the pan, but there are some important ideas underlying the drive for a well organised life.
Reducing the number of possessions you keep around can be seen as a positive antidote to our society's consumption of disposable consumer goods. Kondo believes we should only keep items that 'spark joy' and, if you are surrounded only by things that you really love, you should feel happier.
On a more practical level, it's not difficult to accept the idea that, if you're surroundings are well organised, it's easier to organise your life.
But seeing the value of decluttering and actually doing it are two very different things. Whilst the idea of clearing out those drawers can be frightening; decluttering an entire household can seem like a daunting challenge to say the least.
One of the most common pieces of advice given to anyone starting to think about de-cluttering is to try not to see it as one huge job, but to break it down into manageable pieces. Kondo recommends a specific order for tidying: Clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items and, finally, mementoes.
The order may not seem important, but how many times have you started tidying only to be been derailed by some old photos you found at the back of a drawer.
On the hit list are shoes and clothes you never wear, kitchen equipment you never use, half used cleaning supplies, toiletries and cooking ingredients, books and magazines, and papers - from ancient bank statements and utility bills to lapsed guarantees and instruction manuals for appliances long gone.
Once the house is wonderfully tidy, you can start clearing up other areas of your life, reducing your commitments and ditching anything that is not essential. Then you will have more time to say yes to the things that spark joy, such as spending time with your friends and family.