Space and light should be the mantra.
These are always worth a read, especially at this time of year when you suddenly get the urge to throw everything out.
I’m not sure that it really has anything dramatically new to say, butit has some advice that is worth repeating, such as: "You don’t have to be ruthless, but you do need to be dispassionate. Don’t feel guilty about getting rid of something just because somebody gave it to you, or you spent a lot of money on it."
Harder said than done when you’re a tightwad, of course. And the DH just a couple of weeks ago found a use for some things I sold two years ago – oops.
More important perhaps is the link to Terence Conran’s page on decluttering (I like the pictures here – it’s how I fondly imagine I would live if I actually had some organisation and no cats). Although, again, the advice is familiar, one phrase did strike me:
"Anything that you are keeping on the off chance that it might either come in useful or become valuable one day. What is more useful and more valuable is the space that it is occupying"
Aha. Space is indeed useful and valuable, especially in Britain, where people live in the smallest houses in Europe, on the smallest plots of land. For instance, few people can really afford luxuries like a spare bedroom any more – far better to put a clic-clack in the dining room and turn the spare room into an ensuite – at least that way you get to actually use it.
Maybe what we all need is gigantic lockups to put all our junk in, then when we’re dead, all our rellies can come round and exclaim at the crap – or, as I did last night – cry out in wonder at the rackds of vintage clothing batty-as-a-fruitcake Cornelia Bailey had managed to amass in her Jacobean pile in Country House Rescue. I would have given my eye teeth to trawl through those two rooms, I tell you what…