19 January

When you wake up in the morning what do you see when you look around your bedroom? Is it an oasis of calm or is there are pile of ironing on the floor, your laptop on your dressing table and yesterday’s clothes on the floor?

It is not coincidence that many books and experts on decluttering suggest that you start with your bedroom. It is the last room you see as you fall asleep and the first one you see when you awake. Your waking hours are bookended by the view of your bedroom.

When our daughters were small we frequently played musical beds when one of them had a nightmare and crept into our bed. I would crawl out and go and grab what sleep I could in the now empty bed. Our eldest daughter is incurably messy, the complete opposite of me. I often would crawl into her bed and then have to get up, turn on the light and tidy her room before I could go back to sleep. Even knowing there was chaos around me, even if I couldn’t see it, was enough to stop me relaxing.

I may be an extreme case, but if your bedroom is a mess and full of clutter it will affect how you sleep. Then when you wake up, if instead of being welcomed by a calm and nurturing room you are surrounded by clutter you will go into the new day in a cluttered and messy frame of mind.

Don’t try and clear your entire bedroom in one day, we can take things bit by bit, we have a whole year. For today concentrate on the surfaces, dressing tables, bedside tables, bookshelves. Remove anything that doesn’t either have a useful purpose or is beautiful and gives you joy when you see it.

If there are ten books piled next to your bed, remove all but the one you want to read before you go to sleep. If your dressing table is covered with knick knacks gathering dust, take them down and leave the few that make you smile. It shouldn’t take long, no more than 20 minutes. That twenty minutes will pay back night after night, morning after morning, day after day.