Sunday was one of those rare days in our house where none of us had anywhere to be. I always imagine spending those days curled up on the sofa drinking endless cups of tea but in reality, there are always a million things lurking, waiting for attention. One of those things has been the double cupboard in my son’s bedroom. As soon as I heard him utter the ‘b’ word (Muuuuum, I’m bored!!), I was straight on the case enlisting his help to tackle the mountain of ‘treasures’ he had tucked away in there! This cupboard is floor to ceiling, double width storage sent from heaven. It’s so fantastic to have concealed storage like this, especially in a child’s bedroom. The down side to it however, is that it fills up over the months (and years!) and gradually becomes so full that you can’t really remember what’s in there any more! I last had a sort-out in this cupboard around a year ago but even by last Christmas when we updated our little man’s bedroom with new bed and overhead storage, I found that the contents of that cupboard had been sneakily breeding and resolved to do something about it soon. Ten months later and lo and behold, we are back to square one!
I feel like there is definitely a cyclical process when it comes to cupboards like this. It is inevitable that as new ‘things’ find their way into our homes and lives, the space we have to store them becomes fuller and fuller until you can’t avoid having to go through it all and decide what you really want to keep and what can go. Sometimes, if there’s an emotional attachment, I find myself moving these items from one place to another (like the loft or garage) until sufficient time has passed that we are mentally ready to ‘let go.’ I think this can take anything from a couple of months to a couple of years and whilst I don’t want a home (or loft) full of clutter, I also don’t want to feel panicked into ‘ejecting’ items with sentimental value from our lives without a second thought.
One tactic I have embraced in negotiating this situation is to allocate each of our children a ‘memory box’ which sits in the top of their cupboard. They each have special items tucked away and when the box is full, they need to think about whether there is anything in there that they don’t want to keep any more. There are usually items that no longer hold as much significance and they are happy to let them go and add something else that they consider to be important now.
Two other things happen when we go through this type of de-cluttering exercise. The first is that we find all sorts of things that we had forgotten all about but which we would definitely still like to use/play with. The second, of course, is that there are also things we don’t need or want any more so we are able to make a donation to our charity shop of choice!
On this particular occasion, we filled one dustbin liner with rubbish, one with clothes and two big bags with games and toys to take to charity. We also found a few items to pass on to younger family members. The things we held on to are now much more easily accessible and therefore more likely to be used and enjoyed.
In order to reduce the ‘volume’ of the cupboard contents, we unpacked lego and puzzles into re-sealable bags and included a picture and/or instructions. I labelled all the bags and this exercise had a big impact on the amount of space available at the end of the process.
The cupboard is actually now surprisingly empty! The two new green storage boxes are empty as is the stripy bin on the bottom shelf. I’ve decided to keep the bed linen for our son’s bed in his room from now on and one of the bins has been re-purposed to this effect.
I’ve labelled the boxes and baskets so that things can be found and returned to their proper home more easily in the future. I live in hope that labels will lead to a less chaotic build-up going forward!
I also added a couple of command hooks to the door for baseball hats which always inspire a storage conundrum. I may add more as they become necessary. Shall we see a before and after?
I am actually feeling ridiculously
smug happy that this cupboard is now ready and waiting for the Christmas ‘in-flux’ and our little dude is very pleased with his newly organised storage.
Has anyone else been spending their only free day in weeks clearing out the clutter? I would love to hear about it. Remember you can follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter or email me with your pictures at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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