There are a few events in my life I’m not overly proud of. The time I broke the TV (and can I please just reiterate once again because I know he reads this, I was not aiming for the TV with the candlesticks. I was aiming for the wall, thus why I do not play sports.) The time I flashed someone in the dorms at Uni, informing my friend at a 21st I was just off to have a little spew so I could come back and continue drinking and that one time I yelled at a prostitute in Kings Cross. To be fair, she yelled at me first.
Of course there’s plenty more cringy moments since I became a parent, and it’s usually because I’ve been pushed to the brink aka 4pm. And look I’m sure there’s some sort of psychology behind parental outbursts that can be related to the complete and utter lack of control that one experiences when dealing with one or more small people. This year though, it’s become abundantly clear to me, that my frustration builds to bursting based on one thing.
Yeah I swore and no, I’m not sorry. Because clutter is deserved of a swear, so beastly it is. You see, most people who know me well, know that I do not do clutter. I hate stuff, truly, I hate it. Remember that scene in Friends where Monica goes to the ex girlfriend’s house to ask if she can clean up? Well, I get that. In high school I used to clean other kid’s desks out for them. I like order and I like organising and being organised. You know sometimes I secretly watch Hoarders: Buried Alive and eat chocolate; gleefully gasping at the dead cats buried under 20 years worth of newspapers and bike parts. Both repulsive and compelling, that show is my secret passion.
But of course, you know what the antithesis to order and calm is don’t you? That’s right, kids. Kids facking love stuff. They are the clutter women in Labyrinth embodied. The more clutter the better. My children would legit cover themselves in stuff if they could and what’s worse is they bloody know if you remove stuff. Before Christmas I did some sort of stealth operation clean up of the rooms and spirited the bags of crap out to the garage under the cover of darkness. Next morning I’ve got Addison all up in my grills demanding to know where her collection of cut off My Little Pony hair is. I just, I don’t know where to go with that.
Anyway, a little while back I added one of those not so proud moments to my list when I lost my shit at a basket full of roads and kicked it so hard it broke into a thousand and forty two pieces. Which was so ridiculous as it just made the whole situation worse because I then had to clean up the basket and the toys. This all happened as we were trying to leave the house on time and the kids had pulled toys out and were refusing to pack up and well yeah, in Addison’s words, “Daddy; Mummy went cray cray at the aqua basket, said 3 rude words and now we have to go to Kmart.”
2017 has been a year of monumental growth and positive change for me and it’s now time to stretch that out over the ones I love. So in 2018 I am making the pledge to return to form, in the organising sense. To restore calm and create the kind of breathing space we all need in our home.
Pre kids I used to write e books and articles for several websites on organising. I used the techniques in my work and home spaces back then, why not now? So what am I going to do? Well as we count down the last days of 2017 my plan is to remove all visible, unused stuff. Today I basically put the timer on for 15 minutes and collected whatever I deemed useless. I’ll do the same several times over the next few days. I wouldn’t fall for the trick of deep decluttering at this point; especially if you’ve got some level 5 hoarding situation happening. Last time I tried to completely clean out the kitchen I got one hour in and sank to the floor hyperventilating, surrounded by piles of plates and saucepans. It was dramatic and exhausting. Just remove visible stuff and don’t put it in the boot and drive around for 8 months with it. Take it to charity, gift it to friends, sell it or chuck it. My mantra from way back, briefly forgotten but always important….The best way to let go of crap; is to let go of crap.
Tomorrow I’m going to clean bins, change sheets and sort the fridge and pantry. (I recently found a bottle of Dijon mustard in there from 2011. This is a concern considering we spent most of 2011 living in Los Angeles.) NYE I’ll do the last of the washing and tidy up. I want to step into 2018 ready.
I have my cheap but cute diary for keeping track of the chaos, and plan on continuing my Stepford wife routine of cleaning days. It works for me, it may not for you but I was getting too overwhelmed by not having a schedule in place. Like meal planning, it takes some effort to get going, but pays off. Pinterest is your friend when it comes to this sort of malarkey and if I get some time I’ll pull out and post the routines/lists I’ve made.
My biggest plan for 2018 though is to greatly reduce my consumption. Firstly of cheezels and second of all the stuff we don’t need. You know what I mean right? Plastic toys at the checkout, clothes you’ll never wear, homewares you don’t really need…basically landfill. I don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t need to do it anymore. For me, I was buying (and eating) to fill a need. A need which cannot be filled by stuff and things, by mindless consumption. That need is no longer there but the fallout remains in the form of stuff and my thighs. And so, it’s time to take out the trash.
The best way to let go of crap; is to let go of crap.