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We’re almost at the end of January and many of us are now coping with KonMari. This isn’t a winter affliction like the Norovirus (although my husband would argue its effects are as extreme and uncomfortable) and of course most of you will be aware of the organisation consultant to whom I refer. If you don’t know who Marie Kondo is then you are clearly trapped under a pile of your own belongings so deep that you are beyond help, or perhaps you’re hiding there on purpose in which case keep quiet and carry on hoarding.

If the media are to be believed, charity shops in the UK have been inundated with donations of items that no longer spark joy for their previous owners. In our local town alone we have three such shops where you can snap yourself up any number of different husbands, mothers-in-law, toddlers and teenagers who have been graciously thanked for their service, folded nicely and given away.

At Swallowtail Hill we’re a divided territory. I feel strongly that Marie is my soul sister – she’s validated my life-long urge to only keep that which is beautiful or useful in my home, and that everything has a place. Christopher has developed a method of living which, on a good day I’d describe as artistic-chaos. Readers will no doubt recall the infamous blog entry detailing his shelf of keepsakes that I refer to as ‘The Museum of Crap’ (see photo). His main rule for organisation is that all items he possesses must remain on display in order for him to remember than he owns them. His criteria for keeping anything are that, ‘it might one day be handy’, and ‘I like it’. Hence he keeps everything. This is challenging for me. Particularly the ten empty ‘interesting’ jars and boxes currently on a shelf in our living room waiting to be given their life’s purpose.

While he doesn’t want to de-junk his own possessions neither can I risk him working alongside me to de-junk shared areas – like the kitchen or the bedroom. If he had his way he’d instantly throw out all of the useful Tupperware because although it sparks something in him, the spark is more closely related to rage than joy (because he can never find a lid that fits). He’d also throw out all of our bed linen and choose a sleeping bag instead – because putting a cover on the duvet is his idea of the ninth circle of hell.

This is why we are often to be found enjoying our own spaces in the house – mine ordered, his chaotic, occasionally meeting in the neutral area of the snug – where we can sit in front of the fire and read. There is one area we do both disagree with Marie on – books. She advocates keeping only 30 books. Any visitor to our home wil telll you that we own MANY books. Hundreds. Possibly thousands. They add flavour, soul and personality to our home and we wouldn’t have it any other way. So the books are staying, but if you’re looking for Christopher, check the barn – I may have folded him up and filed him between the spare tractor parts and the garden tools. 

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