There isn’t a human being on this planet who hasn’t battled with clutter at one point or another in their lives. Whether it’s that one cupboard that holds unknown quantities of ‘stuff we might need’, the garden shed with jar after jar of screws and nails and draws of invoices and packets of seeds you’ll never plant, or the whole house including the kids’ rooms, the British people know clutter. Often it’s easier to have massive ‘tidy ups’, rather than go through it all and get rid of it, because that means buying endless bin bags, sorting through it all methodically, battling with your kids, your hubby and yourself over whether you actually really need that top you haven’t worn in two years/the tennis racket you bought last year on a whim thinking you’d do something new/the fifty-four MacDonalds toys you’ve found, and then actually getting it all out of the house and to the tip. The trap often fallen into is putting things in boxes and bags to give to friends and family and then never actually getting round to doing it, so that now you have two cardboard boxes in the porch and a bin bag perched precariously on top of them.
You have to go about this a different way. None of this “Right. We are sorting this house out this weekend” lark. The kids need to be out of the house completely. Hubby might find he is more keen on getting stuck in if the kids aren’t there to peck his head about various things, too. Choose a day like a Saturday where you can try farming the kids out to relatives or on playdates, or if you think you can tackle it alone, send hubby off out with packed lunches and the kids on the train somewhere so that you can have the car for tip runs. Throw the windows open, put some comfy clothes on, tie your hair back and get stuck in. Put music on if you have to, but not the television. It will only distract you. Crack open the bin bags, drag a box/bag/drawer/jar out and sit cross legged right in the mess. It will immerse you in the situation and you will find it easier to attack once you’re in the middle of it.
If you come across ANY of the following, THROW IT AWAY!
- MacDonalds toys
- Broken crayons/dried felt pens/pens with missing caps
- Books with torn/missing/scribbled on pages
- Odd socks/socks that are too small
- Any clothing that has not been worn in a year
- Odd pieces of Lego
- Tiny Barbie shoes/fiddly accessories/other doll bits (if it’s buried under piles of stuff they won’t have played with it in a while anyway!)
- Crumpled piece of paper/random drawings or doodles (use discretion; don’t bin a masterpiece!)
- Stretched bobbles/broken hairclips
- Stiff paintbrushes
- Cut up bits of card/paper/felt
- String – they all find some somewhere!
- Scratched DVDs or CDs
- Those plastic little brushes that come with dolls
- Old letters from school
- Old letters from banks/building societies – shred these!
- Junk models – again use discretion
- Empty shampoo/cosmetics/beauty products
- Hairbrushes that are beyond saving – be realistic
- Expired vouchers
- Cinema ticket stubs, bus passes, slips, anything outdated or void (You can recall that cinema trip without the stub, come off it…)
- Boxes to electrical items – it’s been three years, the warranty is only for twelve months!
- Old prescription medicine
- Batteries – they didn’t need a rest, and being in a drawer in the kitchen won’t have magically added charge to them!
- Recipes you cut out of magazines – you’ll never make them
- Pebbles – kids always collect them at one point or another…
- Last years flips flops – the foam is like a wafer. Bin them.
- Birthday cards – unless you wrote a sonnet in there, throw it away.
- Suncream older than a year
- Makeup older than two years
- Samples of bath products
- Dusty cotton wool balls
- Broken coat hangers
- Too small hats/gloves/mittens
And we are SURE, that once you start with those you’ll not be able to stop! So get stuck in and by the summer six week holidays, you’ll have a lovely clear home to relax in!