If you’re going to tackle your kids’ toys, I can’t emphasise enough how important it is that they’re out of the way when you do it. Anything else is pure folly, like sweeping leaves in a hurricane. You have been forewarned.
That’s what I found when I did a little pre-declutter with my daughter around. Lot’s of “oohing” and “aahing” out of her as she re-discovered lost “treasures” (mostly things that made lots of noise). I quickly admitted defeat and deferred the project to a later date.
If you have kids of your own, you’ll understand and empathise when I tell you that it’s like lodging with a hoarder. There’s stuff everywhere, you’ll forever be tripping and falling over things, and woe betide you if you try to tidy stuff away. (And by “away”, I mean “into the bin”.) Kids are like mini dictators, and it’s their way or insanity highway. They have a habit of initially appearing all innocent and innocuous… until you wake up one morning to what sounds like a foghorn and find your landscape looking very different indeed.
As a perfectionist and OCD sufferer, I was in a constant state of the crazies. So I finally decided it was time to stage a coup, and reclaim what little I could of my oasis of calm. I needed an immediate victory under my belt to fuel my decluttering fire, so I started with the bulkier toys. These were the ones that took up the most space and wouldn’t fit on a shelf or in a storage bin — the ride-alongs, the blackboard, the big table for building blocks… Some of these were the first to fall, and gained me a foothold in foreign territories.
Buoyed by my quick and easy success, I set my sights on soft toys next. And so I steeled myself against an army of teddies and dolls, about 60-strong, and slayed several in one fell swoop, sparing only about 25. And then, embarrassingly, I realised that about 10 of those were actually allies of mine from long ago, and I separated them from my daughter’s troops and set them to rest in a beautiful basket, to be returned to when I later tackle mementos.
There was only one mountain left to climb… but it was a big’un.
Or so it seemed, for a mere 15 minutes into the journey I reached the summit and planted a flag for parents everywhere. As any good explorer would, I divvied up and separated the spoils, and gave them good homes.
The ones that didn’t survive were supposed to be bundled into the boot of the car to be donated to a good cause. Instead, the car crapped out and had to be brought to the local garage to be fixed, and I had to load up the laundry room with all the evidence of my war waging. (Normally, being able to avoid laundry for a week would be a good thing, but when your attempts at potty training are hit and miss… Not so much.)
Overall, I won the battle. And victory was a lot closer at hand than I anticipated. In fact, the bulk of the time was spent re-imagining the lay of the land, and re-organising what little was left. Still, I think my daughter (still ruler ‘round these here parts) was happy with the results.
How about a look at those amazing ‘before’ and ‘afters’, yeah?
Ah, sweet success.
And so my tiny-fingered terror still roams these lands, but her movements are watched carefully and her toys cleared away quickly. Her name is Scout and she has my heart… and also a huge heap of OHHOLYJAYSUS. Be right back!
Do you get your kids involved in the decluttering process, or do you use the sneak attack on their toys too?
Wanna watch the video in which I yap about the process? Click here.
Wanna buy the KonMari book that got me started on my decluttering spree? Here you go: