Comment: Don’t lose yourself to the new you

All that's missing is a CD tower and a pile of books...

All that's missing is a CD tower and a pile of books... - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

How many times have you heard the phrase ‘new year, new you’ in the last fortnight? It is, after all, the buzz phrase of early January – and it’s not only being wheeled out with regard to weight loss.

Extreme amounts of stuff are obviously right up there with the Quality Street spare tyre in the post-Christmas comedown league.

The regret over the failed attempt at clearing some space back in November, followed by being swamped by piles of pressies over the festive period has created a loss of order and feeling of mild panic in many of us.

Local Facebook groups are clogged with declutterers re-gifting unwanted presents, or clearing out old stuff they’ve had enough of to make way for the new things they do want to keep.

In these trying times, Japanese ‘organising consultant’ Marie Kondo has made a mint. Her best-selling book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying has become a bible to many a reformed hoarder.

But amid all this frantic tidying up, is there a chance we could be getting a bit carried away? (I say this as someone who hasn’t every got carried away with any form of tidying, by the way.)

My concern is that, while we’re all desperately trying to create calm – undeniably a good thing – in doing so, we’re following a growing trend to depersonalise altogether.

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Those of us over a certain age will remember the days of CD towers, those high rise collections of all of our toppermost tunes. They would invariably feature alongside a well-stacked book shelf or pile of DVDs, allowing the homeowner to show off their fabulous taste to their visitors.

With Kindle ownership rising and increasing numbers of us opting for digital music and movie collections, displays of this sort are becoming about as rare as a VHS.

And now, as we embrace this new minimalism in our neutrally-decorated homes, are we selling out our individuality in favour of identikit, clutter-free living?

Tidying is a good for the soul, I’d agree with that – but let’s not lose ourselves in the process.