How did I get myself into this mess? And it is a mess. I’m standing in the living room of our lovely, roomy tenement flat that we’ve rented for exactly a year and there is barely an inch of floor space.

By the window there are eight bulging bin bags of clothes to take to the charity shop. On the second sofa, yes, for some reason a family of three bought an extra sofa – madness – there are two huge boxes filled with things to sell. Along the length of the room my toddler’s toys spill out of boxes, a tsunami of primary coloured plastics, Lego faces smiling eerily, cuddly toy voice-boxes screeching, ‘Hello, can I have a hug? I love you,’ threatening to consume the whole room.

It’s nightmarish. I'm trying to remain calm but the task in front of me is overwhelming. That task, in this case, isn’t simply a summer clear out but taking the belongings we've accumulated over years and reducing them by 95%. Actually at least 95%, 98% would be better.

You see, we finally did find our narrowboat to live on. A beautiful scarlet and sky blue number currently floating away in west Yorkshire now just waiting for our family. But they aren’t called narrow boats for nothing, at only 56 feet long and two metres wide, sacrifices will have to be made.

Kerry Hudson: I love a bargain so how did my year of secondhand fashion go?

In my defence, I don't think I'm alone accruing things. But it is perhaps more of a shock to me since eight years ago, I was shuttling between London and whatever continent I felt like travelling to, and all I owned was a black and white postcard collection, an Elvis chopping board, a bright pink second hand laptop bought from a Lisbon Cash Converters and a carry-on suitcase of clothes.

Whenever anyone would visit me, they’d look at my bare walls and bookshelves and, I thought enviably, empty cupboards and ask, ‘But…where's all your stuff?’ The fact was that I had given up having stuff to have more freedom, more travel, more adventure. I didn't have a lot of money so everything I earned went on plane tickets and the luxury of time to write my books.

Even three or four years ago, it wasn't so bad. When my husband and I arrived to live in Prague we had four medium boxes and two rucksacks. But when we were due to leave, Peter drove across Europe to Glasgow with a whole van full of stuff we just couldn't bring ourselves to part with.

This is partly because I’d become a mother and things had started to have a truly sentimental value. That wasn’t just any Zara jumper, that’s one I wore when I went to the hospital to give birth to my child. This was the tablecloth I spread out for our first Christmas together. This is the vase with flowers that Peter bought me when I came out of hospital.

The Herald: Narrowboats don't have much in the way of storageNarrowboats don't have much in the way of storage (Image: free)

It’s fair to say, I don’t care very much about stuff but I care a great deal about stories and memories and it seemed that every single thing we owned was something that we should cherish as part of our family life. Except, of course they really are just things and often things that no longer serve us.

I'll admit that though we mostly only buy him second hand toys, my son has everything he could wish for and much, much more. And you know what? What he actually wishes for is the same 10 bright duplo blocks, his Elmo snuggly, the same three books, a set of stubby crayons to line up in a rainbow.

My husband would also concur that he probably doesn't need his stacks of language and linguistic books since he actually primarily reads on the lit up phone of a screen.

So the hard work begins. We channel William Morris (he doesn’t mind, he’s glad of the day out), "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be beautiful or believe to be useful."

We sort everything into two piles that will come onto our new tiny home with us.

At first, it’s painful. I know it's just a cheap plastic lemon squeezer but we bought it on our first holiday in Sicily together wandering streets where someone was grilling horse meat and later in the trip, as though it was fated, a lovely man gave us a whole bag of homegrown lemons so we…yes, made lemonade. Still it is neither beautiful nor honestly particularly useful and so into the charity shop box it goes.

Kerry Hudson: I'm waving goodbye to housing woes by sailing off into the sunset

Eventually, like casting off your clothes for your first nude swim, we start to enjoy ourselves. I hadn't realised, perhaps I didn't want to acknowledge, how weighed down I was by all of these possessions that made it harder for us to not just move through life but even through our own home with ease and simplicity.

With every bunch of bin bags delivered to Kinder Handl or Merry Go Round, I feel lighter. As I parcel up beautiful, unique clothes I've picked up on my travels to send to other women, I take pleasure in imagining the new stories they’ll play a part in.

I’d always scoffed at the idea of Marie Kondo’s theory of belongings ‘sparking joy’ but from what we have, we have no choice but to only keep the most precious. There's something deeply satisfying about everything earning its place in our lives and having no more than we actually need.

As we slowly become unencumbered, metaphorically throwing things overboard so we can move faster, we’re closer to bobbing along on the river. We’ll have fewer possessions yes, but far fewer cares too.