Mission Clutter Control

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Any illusion that I am nearing a more minimalist clutter-free way of life were brutally shattered over the weekend when we embarked on mission Loft Clearout. There is an NCT sale* in our village next weekend so my husband and I decided that, now that the baby days are behind us, it would a good opportunity to sell some of the toys and clothes that have been lurking in the loft for far too long. Only I hadn’t realised just how much stuff was residing up there – seriously, it is a wonder the ceiling hasn’t caved in under the weight of it all. So there we were, the children and I, standing on the first floor landing while my husband chucked down bags and boxes through the loft cavity for us to catch. At first it was kind of fun seeing all these long forgotten things again, but when the bags and boxes just kept on coming, I started to feel slightly alarmed – I know a good clear out has been long overdue but this was something else. Before long the kids and I were standing on the only small patch of clear flooring left, pushed up against the ladder with boxes and zip-up bags, as well as big bulky plastic toys, a rocking horse and a travel cot, taking up the rest of the space and blocking all the bedroom doorways. It was dusty too, as would be expected since no one ever cleans the loft. In the end, we counted 12 zip-up bags crammed full of baby and toddler clothes, five big boxes of toys and all the other bits, including no less than five cot mobiles (all in good working order so why we have so many I have no idea!).

Now I am faced with the mammoth task of dividing it all into three different piles for selling, giving to charity or keeping (only those very special pieces that I can’t bear to part with – I plan to whittle this down to one smallish box – wish me luck!). Upstairs is still a mess – to clear the landing so we can actually get into our bedrooms I have moved everything into our room and the boys’ rooms so the poor things now have to climb over umpteen boxes to get to their beds. I never thought of myself as a hoarder but now I am not so sure. I guess it’s true that however much space you have, the tendency is to fill it up. It was easier to just send everything up to loft to be dealt with at some later stage – out of sight, out of mind! – so the boxes kept on accumulating. Now that we’re planning to convert the loft into a bedroom, we will have to think a lot harder about what we hold onto, and frankly, I’m pleased. There is something about having so much stuff that you don’t use or plan on using in the near future, that makes me feel very uneasy.

My eldest son is ten years old now and while lots of clothes were passed down to his younger siblings, his brother was a bigger baby and his sister was born in the summer so some of the items had not seen the light of day for over a decade! If I leave the next clear out for another ten years, he will probably have left home by the time I get around to it. So I’m determined to try and stay on top of it and the trick seems to be little and often when it comes to decluttering.

*Any UK mums will probably be familiar with these ‘good as new sales’ run by the National Childbirth Trust.

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As I am obviously in no position to offer tips myself here is a useful guide that I found on the blog We Only Do This Once – to read the full article click here.

Start small – Pick one small section of a room to start with, whether it’s a chest of drawers or a kitchen cupboard

Stay motivated – If you declutter consistently it will become a habit. Don’t get obsessive, try to keep it to 15 minutes a day

One area at a time – Tempting as it may be, don’t move onto another area until the first one is finished

Limit your time spent – Set the timer and give yourself half an hour to clear out one small section

Make it a routine – Set a regular schedule for decluttering that works for you and your lifestyle

Make piles – As you go along sort the stuff into piles for keeping/giving away/garbage/selling etc

Organize – Once you’ve whittled down your possessions make sure each one has a home

Take breaks often and stay chill
 

Linked in: Spring Cleaning Tips

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There is a theme to this week’s Linked In post: Spring Cleaning. I don’t know about you, but each year when March rolls around I start thinking about decluttering, reorganising and cleaning up both the house and the garden. I have to confess that this week I have not accomplished much, in fact I have even been struggling to do the everyday tasks like cleaning the kitchen and keeping up with the washing (with five people there is a lot of washing!). Obviously I have my excuses at the ready: I have been working more hours than normal and also we took delivery of a new tumble dryer this week, which didn’t fit through the door to the laundry room so I couldn’t do any washing for two days. Ever the optimist, I’m determined to get on top of things next week so here is a bit on inspiration from around the web to help me (and you) do just that!

1. Find some tips on how to make a spring cleaning checklist

2. The starting date for this challenge to purge five items a day from your home may have passed but it is not too late to join in

3. Here is how to clean and still be kind to the environment

4. Need some help? Here are some tips to get the kids involved with the cleaning

5. Spring is also a good time for a digital declutter

6. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be confined to the inside of your house: here are some tips for sprucing up your garden

7. Ever get the feeling that however much cleaning you do, it is never done? This article shows you how to look at cleaning as a practice  not a project

 

Linked In

I wanted to share with you some of my favourite links that I’ve come across on the Internet in the last week:

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1. What makes a home happy? Hint: It’s not designer furniture or immaculate carpets… (Thehappiesthome.com)

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2. I’ve discovered a great website for furniture and home inspiration: Nest.co.uk I want this chair for the desk in my bedroom.

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3. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Read this article to find out. I think I’m a sociable introvert (if there is such a thing?) who prefers one-to-ones and smaller groups. I get quite shy at larger gatherings and absolutely loathe networking.

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4. Emails and texts are great but sometimes only proper stationery will do and you can’t go wrong with classic Smythson of Bond Street.

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5. Check out the best new nail polishes for Fall. Which one is your favourite?

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6.Halloween is fast approaching and I can’t wait to get our box of decorations and costumes down from the loft. Here are some great tips for decorating your house.

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7. Turn your Instagram photos into fridge magnets at Stickygram. They cost $14.99 per sheet of 9 and shipping is free worldwide. I just ordered two sheets today so will let you know what I think when they arrive.

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8. If, like me, you struggle to keep on top of all the clutter that mysteriously accumulates in the house, Oprah’s ‘organizational guru’ Peter Walsh has some very useful strategies to get you on the right track.