Everyone’s decluttering – is it time to throw out all your children’s toys and artworks?

YES! Guilt replaced by vindication. I’m talking about myself, and decluttering – because decluttering is all anyone seems to talk about at the moment (Brexit is just a form of it).

Not Marie Kondo – she was yesterday’s declutterer, now cleared away herself. Today, it’s about the aptly named Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, professional organisers to the stars, including Gwyneth Paltrow. I’ve always said if it’s good enough for Gwynnie, it’s good enough for me.

Anyway, I’m particularly interested in the section in their new book, The Home Edit: Conquering the Clutter with Style, about how to get rid of kids’ things. Advice includes: disposing of anything originating from a party bag, never asking your kids if they still like something and always binning their clutter when they’re out. I have a couple of them – children – and I bloody love them, but what I really don’t bloody love is the rubbish that is in my house because of them. So, naturally, I get rid of it; if I didn’t, we would drown.

Anything missing a part or broken in any way, out it goes. So this noisy flashing car isn’t technically broken, but I hate it, out! OK, so I may have actually broken toys, to justify (to myself) getting rid of them. Oops. Out!

I’ve destroyed things that they’ve made, thrown out their artwork. I’ve stolen cuddly toys from them as they’ve slept; will he notice his Kevin the Carrot family from Aldi is being picked off, one by one, at night? And Then There Were None.

Probably not, I generally get away with it (with them, if not their mum, but she is a diagnosed hoarder).

I haven’t always felt free of guilt. Until now. The Home Edit’s tips for kids’ stuff is basically a description of what I do. Get rid of anything they haven’t played with for months; never ask them (duh!); missing parts are never found; never keep anything from party gift bags (agghh, don’t get me started on them); do it when they’re out …

Yeah, on that last one, they’re going away at Easter – for a week, with their mum. It’s going to be a brutal, purge-ageddon, starting with the play kitchen on the pavement. (Where we live, you can put anything out, it just goes. Them being away will make it easier.)

Clea(r) and Joanna suggest a “purge purgatory” – put it in storage to see if they miss it. Here, for the first time, they are wrong. As well as showing weakness it allows the play kitchen to return one day. Also, storage where? We don’t have the room.


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