A new year has begun, and with it has come an overwhelming urge to get rid of everything. So obviously I am sitting here telling you all about it, rather than actually doing anything.
That would be altogether too simple.
The problem with my house is there’s just too much stuff in it. And there’s nowhere to put any of the stuff because all the places I can put stuff already have stuff in them!
Do you think I used the word ‘stuff’ too many times there?
I think a cluttered house often comes with the territory when you have small children. Unless you’re super disciplined with sorting things out and getting rid of them, it all just builds up.
I am not super disciplined. In fact, I have always been pro keeping-things-just-in-case. But, my dear friends, change is afoot.
I have been guilty of letting things sliiiiide since Squeak was born. The basics get done, but anything more involved and time consuming that that has been left.
This has been for a multitude of reasons. First, it was because she wanted to feed constantly, and screamed every time she was put down. Everything I did was restricted to five minute intervals. You would not believe how much you can get done in five minutes. I couldn’t believe it. I managed meals, and homework, and even found the time to flop on the couch and weep, once in a while.
It was wonderful, as I’m sure you can imagine.
After a while, this intense feeding phase eased. And it is got a lot easier.
Ha, no it didn’t.
Because then, she got mobile. And became a human wrecking ball. Except whereas a wrecking ball usual wrecks other objects, Squeak prefers to wreck herself.
Her newest hobby is to climb on things, and then casually walk off the edge. Because fuck science.
Just do it in her naptimes, you say?
Come on, don’t get silly now.
So the big jobs have kind of fallen by the wayside. Which I can accept, up to a point. Kids come first when they’re small, and I’d rather spend the spare time cuddling them than categorising underpants. But that point has now come, and I have had enough.
So I wrote a list. In capitals. Because this woman means business.
It even has a title. With stars around it. There’ll be no procrastination or underachievement here.
Apart from this bit, right now. After this is done, I’m totally going to start.
I expect the kids to be about as useful as an upside-down kettle in my quest. In my life, I have never met a kid who actually likes getting rid of stuff.
Except maybe for bank cards. Or birth certificates.
As soon as my kids sense that I am even thinking about getting rid of some old things, they suddenly become irrevocably attached to them. You know, those things that are never played with and spend most of their time in a corner gathering dust? Yeah, those.
Here are the top items in my house which cause the most clutter:
1. Soft toys
The kid have never really been all that attached to soft toys. Big Girl has only recently started taking a special few to bed with her. Little Girl can take them or leave them.
Which begs the question: Why do we have so fucking many of them then?
I’m not going to count them. That would just be too shameful. But it’s safe to say that they have rather more than they need.
Just try telling them that, though.
I think I’ve probably got two choices here. Either bag up a load of the toys and wait to see if they miss any, or sit down with them and discuss which ones they want to get rid of.
Yeah, I’m going for option one.
I would love to lay the blame for this solely on the kids, but frankly I think Mark and I are a larger part of the problem here.
It would be reasonable, maybe, to label us as slight book hoarders.
We’ve got tons of the things. And seeing as we mostly read on e readers now, it’s bordering on ridiculous.
I’m not getting rid of them, though. That would be a step too far. Well, maybe a few can go. But just a few.
Better storage is the solution, right?
The kids have more than their fair share of books, too. And most of them will be staying, too. But the ripped ones, the tatty ones, the plain old crappy and boring ones? They can go.
Man, I suck at this decluttering thing.
Of course, this is the big one. The ultimate barrier between me and the minimalistic house of my dreams.
There are too many fucking toys in this house.
They’re in every room. They’re hidden under couch cushions and rugs. They’re inside my shoes and behind heavy furniture.
And the kids love every single one of them.
Or not, as the case may be. There’s only one time when kids profess to love all of the toys they own.
That is, at the point where you are trying to get rid of some of them.
Even the broken ones, the useless ones, the ugly ones. Especially the ugly ones. Toys they haven’t touched in months, and toys that they’ve long since grown out of.
I can only conclude that I will have to remove some in secret, while they are sleeping. So far, I’ve taken out two full bin bags, and hidden them in a cupboard. And how many do you think they’ve noticed are gone?
That’s right. Zero.
Just another three trillion bags to go…
This is not an exhaustive list. Think of it more as a top 3. I haven’t even mentioned my fabric which, if pieced together, would probably reach around the world a couple of times. Or Mark’s camera stuff. Or the kids’ outgrown clothes.
Man, it’s going to be a big job. I’m definitely going to do it, though. Not least because I’ve told you all about it.
People say that shame is not a great motivator. Personally, I think that’s bullshit. For me, anyway. I’m not going to go shaming the kids or anything. Questionable though they may be, I do have some morals.
I do. I do! God, you lot are harsh.
Hmmm, I think I may have procrastinated enough. Time to get to work!
In a minute. First, I’d better just… [insert mundane and unimportant activity here]. It could wait, but… [insert completely shitty excuse here].
But after that, I’m totally there. Armed with hopefully too many binbags, a ruthless frame of mind and a pack of doughnuts as a reward.
Are any of you planning a spring clearout?