Decluttering before Christmas
There’s one big part of Christmas that makes me cringe.
It’s not the late night Christmas Eve, finalising wrapping of oddly shaped gifts, assembling “3 step” toys that take 85 steps and 3 wines to get you through it and then realising you don’t have any batteries so looting every battery powered device in the house to come up with the goods.
It’s also not the exorbitant amount of money I’ve spent trying to get things here at the last minute because somehow we went from November 1st to December 20th and I missed it all.
It’s actually the aftermath, which goes something like: WHERE THE HELL AM I GOING TO PUT ALL THIS NEW STUFF.
I mean, our house is already over run with kids toys despite regularly sneaky trips to the tip.
The toyboxes and storage baskets are constantly tested, bulging with STUFF that somewhow accumulates faster than I can say “sorry honey, I haven’t seen that toy in ages… maybe it’s lost?”
(knowing full well that I waved that sucker goodbye in last week’s rubbish).
So here are my tips to GET SORTED NOW to make some space for the new stuff.
1. DON’T GET BUSTED
Not the worst toy storage bag, just filled with random stuff that I know shouldn’t really be in there.
But Rhys knows what’s in there. You know why? Because he stole it from the one of the other kid’s rooms.
Get your ninja gear on, this is some serious top secret business you’re about to undertake if you’re looking to tackle it in one big swipe.
Whatever you do, don’t do it while they are up.
They know. They sense it.
It’s kind of like when you’re trying to smuggle a freddo frog into your mouth and as you stand in the cupboard and slowly and quietly tear open the packet, their previously oblivious little ears prick up and you’re forced to hand it over or deal with massive meltdowns (sometimes I have a massive meltdown after handing it over, so potentially you’ll have to deal with both anyway).
And don’t think for a second that just because you managed to squirrel the old maccas toys out of the toybox without being noticed that you can just pop them in a bin, or a regular bag.
You need to go into full incognito mode.
LEAVE NO TRACE.
No bright colours that can be seen through a rubbish bag.
And don’t throw it on the top of the trailer because it’ll get dragged back inside and then they’ll be even filthier and less appealing (to you) than ever.
Use black rubbish bags if you have to. JUST DON’T GET BUSTED.
Because once they know you’re throwing things out, all of a sudden they’ve inventoried their entire room despite not being able to spell their own name.
And then you’re screwed for the next 12mths.
2 – BE RUTHLESS
This is no time for nerves or doubt. Be strong you just have to get in and get it done without being busted. If you need some motivational tunes, crank some inspiration to Let It Go from Frozen’s Anna. Just change the word “cold” to “nagging” in the last line.
Think of the last time they used it, will they use it again… do you actually WANT them to have it?
Ie: is it a stick that they found at the park and named Sticky which has been sitting in the bottom of the toybox since Autumn? #askingforafriend
And if you think it’s sentimental, ask yourself if it REALLY is. What are you holding onto with that toy? We have some special things that I couldn’t bear to part with, that were gifts from my mum to my babies before she passed away. If it’s sentimental because it reminds you of that time you played at maccas, then *maybe* have a rethink.
Sorting it into piles – chuck, maybe keep, where the hell did this come from , (was once) food, moving/alive…...
3. USE A STEP-DOWN APPROACH
Ok, so being ruthless is harder than we think, right? Because in the back of your mind, you know that the day after you throw away a broken red car that they haven’t used in 2yrs is the day that they’ll suddenly get the urge to play with it.
So this tip is the next best thing to doing the chuck on items you’re not sure about. It’s not the solution to ALL the stuff though – just the things you think have the potential to be searched for.
Get a plastic tub or a thick rubbish bag, and stash your “step down” stuff in it. Now here is the tricky part. HIDE IT. Hide it like it’s the freaking Mona Lisa and it’s your duty to make sure no one touches it.
My solution is to put it up in the roof, knowing full well it’s the only place that NO CHILD CAN GET TO.
And don’t cave and say you have it the first time they ask for it. This is only for times when the nagging has gone beyond ridiculous and you either give them back the toy or sell the child.
One option has more legal ramifications than the other, so I’d go the easy option and just give it back.
But don’t let them see where it came from, out of fear that they see ALL the stuff in the Step Down box.
If they haven’t asked for it after a few weeks/months/decades/whenever you remember it’s up there – it’s time to get your Anna on and Let It Go.
The step down stuff from one of Rhys’ toyboxes. I’ll pack this stuff away for a few weeks, and if he hasn’t missed it, it’ll go to Vinnies.
4. DO IT GRADUALLY
If time is up your sleeve, then I recommend doing it gradually.
Smuggling out one or two toys at a time is way easier to conceal than a toybox suddenly going from overflowing to almost empty.
I like to do the whole “one thing a day” approach. So if I’m tidying or cleaning up, I use the opportunity to quickly smuggle something small into my pocket. But remember Tip 1 – DON’T GET BUSTED.
This approach usually only works if it’s small ticket stuff, so I wouldn’t recommend trying to take a Barbie House to the Op Shop using this method.
If it can be hidden in amongst other stuff, then try your luck. Maybe this step is more for those of you who like to walk on the wild side.
We all have those toys that are in perfect or near new condition. That have heaps of play left in them. And we all know that there are plenty of kids around who would give their last M&M for some of those toys.
Call around to local Salvos, St Vincent’s and even Kindergartens and day care centres to see if they would be interested in taking it.
This time of year especially.
And the reason I say call is because sometimes charities and donations can have limited space – so rather than driving it around in your boot, check out where you can take it first so it goes to someone who needs it.
The end result – half the volume, stuff has been returned to its home and I’ve got one bag full of rubbish and one bag full of “step down” stuff that will go in the roof while we wait to see if he notices it has gone missing.
GOOD LUCK. And may the wine and ruthlessness be with you on your toy-culling journey.
Love Kel x