You go into your handbag looking for something (lets say a chap stick). It’s small so obviously it will be right at the bottom - you pull all the big stuff out, the purse, MP3 player, umbrella, letters you forgot to post, the hand lotion your never use and o on until you are left with the small stuff - the tissues, scraps of paper and old till receipts, lipstick the pens and the dead batteries until you get to the debris at the very bottom - the hairpins, lone sticks of chewing gum and the old and the packet of silica you never got around to throwing away.
By now you have an empty handbag, except for the dust, fluff and crumbs, which you tip out over your waste paper basket.
Now with a newly emptied and much cleaner bag you remember that this spring clean started with a purpose – but you’ll be damned if you can remember what that is. So you start loading everything back into your bag in some semblance of order so that when you eventually remember what you wanted in the first place you’ll actually be able to find it.