Spring has arrived (if temporarily) in London.
People are ditching their coats, smiling more, and the ice cream vans have started prowling the streets.
This is the traditional time for the SoberMummy wardrobe assault.
I only have one (largeish) wardrobe. Not enough space to store four seasons worth of clothes. So, twice a year I store away winter garments and bring out summer ones, or same thing in reverse.
This is always a fabulous opportunity for decluttering, and decluttering is a brilliant activity for sober people.
Why? Well, for a start it keeps you, and your hands, busy. Also, it's great mindfulness training. You have to totally focus on the job in hand.
Plus there's a beautiful symmetry about it - you turn chaos into order externally, mirroring what's going on inside your head.
And, after years of drinking too much, you're bound to have created quite a lot of chaos, right?
This year, I decided to take some expert advice, so I looked up Marie Kondo, enthusiast of the Japanese art of 'KonMari', and author of 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying.'
Life Changing Magic! What's not to like?
Marie's method applies to your whole home, but she says to take one category at a time - in my case clothes.
What you do is lay out everything you own. All your clothes, dug up from every recess. It's frightening.
Then, quite simply, you pick up each piece and ask yourself does it spark joy? If it does, you keep it, if not you give it away.
Try it! It's extraordinarily liberating.
So many of our clothes are laden with emotion: guilt (it cost me a fortune, but I never wear it), sadness (I loved it once, but it's too young for me now), nostalgia (I looked amazing at that wedding, back in the day).
(I got positively weepy over a pair of bright orange Versace jeans (UK size 10) from my clubbing days).
But much of that emotion is negative. Plus, we only wear a tiny proportion of what's in our wardrobes.
So, when we open the closet, we're confronted by chaos. We can't see the clothes we could wear, because they're hidden by all the clothes we're never going to wear again. It's a Pandora's box of confusion, guilt, shame and regret.
So, Marie says be ruthless. Keep only those clothes that 'spark joy.'
(What I love about this is that it does allow you to keep the nostalgia dress you'll never wear again but has such happy memories. Or the shoes that cripple your feet but are so beautiful that you love them anyway. It's about emotion, not boring practicality).
Once you're done, you rearrange your wardrobe and drawers so that everything is easily visible and simple to locate. (She has special folding methods for drawers which you can check out on YouTube).
And you know what? It really works!
Now, when I open a drawer I can look at everything with fondness, with enthusiasm, with anticipation. I know I love it all, for one reason or another.
Plus, I can see it all! Some gorgeous, forgotten items have resurfaced after the purge. No need to go shopping for ages, Mr SM ;-)
And what you're left with, after all of that, is a feeling of peace. Of joy in a life made more simple.
And we all need a bit of that, don't we?
Now for the children's wardrobes.... *flexes fingers and cracks knuckles.*
So, go spark some joy, my friends.