[Have I just coined a new phrase? “Domestic archaeology” – I like it.]

Everyone loves finding treasure; it’s primal. It’s even more rewarding when it’s treasure you made yourself and forgot about. You mainly forgot about it because it was buried among the masses of stuff you have in your home. Dig through that stuff and you’ll find your very own buried treasures.

One of the sublime joys of decluttering is that when you declutter you simultaneously reframe all the things you have collected in your home. You look at everything with a fresh perspective and see it differently.

When you go through all your belongings, deciding what to keep and what to, ahem, ‘pay forward’ to the local charity shop or bin, you don’t just get a rush of feeling lighter by having less, you love the things you keep even more. You appreciate them. When you decide they can stay, they are the ‘chosen’ things, they are intrinsically allocated a higher status.

Like the little watercolor painting above, for example, which I made of my cat Mr Smoochy back in 1996. (I only know that because I cleverly wrote the date in the painting!) I found it in a tiny sketchpad in a box of books and papers.

I do not know why I am loving this little watercolor so much it now has pride of place in my kitchen. I suspect it has less to do with the fact that my Mr Smoochy died ages ago and much more to do with honoring something pretty that I made in a moment of whimsy – yikes, 14 years ago.

Now I look at it all the time and get little pangs of pure loveliness.

Out of my (fewer) piles of ephemera comes my little piece of art treasure.

Yeah, go through your boxes and see what beautiful things you’ve made in the past. Dig them out of the dark and enjoy them in the space and light you’ll create decluttering.

Image made by me.