3,000 copies published quarterly and delivered FREE to all households in Barrow upon Soar
www.barrowvoice.co.uk - First Publised 1975
Winter 2016

The life-changing magic of tidying up or the book review that never happened


Last week I was talking to a friend of mine. She lives in a one-bedroomed flat and she loves to shop. She told me that whenever she buys anything new, something has to go. She also mentioned that she has just four mugs, claiming that's all she needs.

I'm not sure how many mugs I have but there are definitely a lot more than four.

I moved house recently - and packing up all my possessions certainly made me think about what should be kept and what should perhaps be recycled, donated or binned - particularly as I have down-sized, so space is much more of an issue.

Around about the time I first started thinking about moving, I was reading a book with an intriguing title, 'The Life-changing Magic of Tidying' by Marie Kondo. I read the first few chapters and, following the advice in the book, (typically I was too impatient to read all the instructions before getting started) I sorted out all my clothes. I started with socks. I collected every single pair of socks I owned (inevitably some of them turned out to be solitary socks so they were abandoned quite quickly) then I considered each pair in turn, handling them and asking myself the key question, ' Do these socks bring me joy? Okay - I know what you're thinking - and it's true I felt as nutty as a fruit cake. But, it wasn't long before I had a neat pile of socks that I really like wearing and all those socks that didn't stay up, and the ones that were too big so I never wore, and the ones that were a horrible colour, were all ready to go to charity or to the bin.

I did this with all my clothes. It was useful. I discovered a few quite wearable things that had been lurking in the back of my wardrobe for years. I realised that there really was no point in keeping that old shirt that I used when painting ceilings because I have decided that I don't ever want to paint ceilings again. Once everything was sorted my wardrobes and drawers looked great - well organised, uncluttered.

It was around about that point that I offered to review the book for Barrow Voice. But it was also around about that point that I decided to put my house on the market and of course, that called for a less considered tidy up. By the time the estate agent came to take pictures, it all looked fine on the surface, but the clutter of books and papers, CDs and DVDs, notebooks, pens and pencils had been hidden and somehow 'The life-changing magic of tidying up' had been tidied away. I couldn't find it anywhere.

I wasn't too worried. I was expecting to move early July which would, I thought, give me plenty of time to find the book and write the review in time for the Autumn issue of Barrow Voice. But ten days before I was expecting to move, the bottom if the chain broke down and all was uncertainty again. I half-heartedly unpacked a few of the boxes I'd packed but the book remained in hiding. A couple of weeks later the chain was complete again and looking for a lost book was not my priority.

After much uncertainty, I moved on Friday, 14th October. A few days after moving I finally found the book but, unsurprisingly, I've been too busy to actually finish reading it.

But I can certainly recommend it. After all, I only read a few chapters and not only did I sort out all my clothes, but I ended up moving from a house in Barrow to a flat in Nottingham. That was life changing magic!

I lived in Barrow for thirteen years (between 1985 and 1998) and then for another twelve years (between 2004 and 2016). My children grew up in Barrow. It will remain very dear to me and I know I will keep coming back because I have so many friends in the village as well as an excellent dentist and optician. I have loved writing for Barrow Voice and I hope I might continue to do so from time to time. Who knows, I might even finish the book and review it!

Julie Gardner