And so Christmas is nearly upon us again and with it those same feelings – the fear, the cold-sweats and the horror. This year I will be asking myself the same question…
Where the flippin’ heck am I going to put all those new toys?
Argh.. the big ones (thank you, so generous = palpitations), the complicated one (ta, so educational = panic), the ones they will grow into (cheers, so thoughtful = despair).
So this year I am game-ready. Come on Christmas, do your worst I am prepared. I have cleared the clutter, jettisoned the junk and shed the stuff. Yes people, I have tackled the toy mountain!
Here are my top tips for getting rid of those unloved and no longer needed playthings.
Trash the Trash
Now I’m not heartless and I appreciate de-cluttering anything is an emotional business and that is especially true when it comes to your childrens’ possessions. Even the simplest knickknack can hold memories. So I suggest that you start with the easiest things; all the broken stuff, the things with parts missing, the toys that have been left out in the garden, the Barbie with one leg and a bald head. Chuck ’em out. No one needs them – least of all your kids!
Earlier in the year I changed the dining room/craft room (sounds grander than it really is) into a play room. This was the best and worst thing I ever did. The best because every evening I shut the door on a pile of toys and games. The worst because every morning I am confronted with a giant heap of crayons, jigsaw pieces, diggers, duplo and Lord only knows what else. So, I say before you fling everything out regardless, just step back, get in touch with your inner container goddess (every women has one!) and sort that sh*t out. Once everything has a rightful place tidying up will be a breeze and the kids will want to help too (apparently).
NB. Always have a container for miscellaneous items (for those times when you can’t be bothered to separate all the
Store #1 (for a while at least)
I don’t have an attic, but I do have a garage which I tend to pile stuff in. I am not going to recommend you throw everything up into the attic, ‘cos that my friend ain’t de-cluttering that is re-arranging. Moving junk up to the loft just delays the inevitable (plus the fact that it is very very very bad Feng Shui). However, if you have items that your child no longer plays with but you can’t bear to be parted with – store them. Store them somewhere where you will regularly see them: the garage, a cupboard, under the bed. This way you will get so fed up of not being able to put the vacuum cleaner back in the cupboard, or tripping over a bag of cuddly toys every time you go to use the tumble-drier that the sentimentally will wear off and you will be glad to see the back of those toys.
A tidy home is a happy home (apparently).
Amongst the clutter there may be toys your children haven’t played with because there are not old enough or not interested in that subject yet. Don’t fling these. Put them in the attic or some other storage space. My husband is always amazed that I have the entire contents of our house curated in a file in my brain, however, the likelihood is that once things are out of sight they are out of mind. Therefore before birthdays and Christmas get back up in the loft and score yourself some presents from the toys you stashed up there. RESULT!
*Plus – since you got rid of all the junk, the flowers in the attic will be easily accessible, not buried under a mound of long-forgotten baby Annabel clothes.
Take your time
For me de-cluttering is my life’s work. It is a never-ending task, a bit like that mythical guy pushing rock up a mountain. So don’t try to tackle the clear out in one go – take your time. Perhaps allot 10 minutes a day to the task. But be firm and try to get rid of some stuff everyday. Get them bin bags out and don’t give up til they are brimming with charity shop donations. Once you see a clear space on the floor, an empty shelf or a box of organised toys you will feel an inner peace. A zen-like feeling that will last until 25th December….
….and then you can start all over again!