Do you ever get to the point where you can't take the mess any longer? I do.
I've tried therapy: Watching Anthea Turner, (British would-be Martha Stewart,) torture housewives has, I confess, given me some nifty ideas for clearing up. She advocates placing an empty wicker basket in the corner of each room, so you can whip round, throwing misplaced items, (children's toys generally,) into it. When the room is cleansed you simply pick up the basket and appoint yourself 'Head of Relocations' putting everything back from whence it came! - Nice theory, I generally only get as far as filling the basket, carefully balancing books and plastic aliens on top of the multiple handbags my squirrel daughter seems to wander about with.
My sister, A-M, was in the pilot programme for Ms Turner's Perfect Housewife show. The show that outed slovenly housewives.... such a great concept..not. Mind you, how A-M didn't get her own series from it, I will never know: Picture Anthea lecturing my sister and another victim: The three of them are standing by Saint Anthea's bedroom closet which has perfectly hung clothes organised in colour groupings. The Saint pulls out an exquisite leather skirt grasped by a crocodile hanger. The hanger's crocodile jaws have been lined with two cotton wool pads, presumably to protect the leather. [Anyone thinking: Oh that's a good idea, please stop reading now!]
With a satisfied smile and a condescending bob of her head Anthea turned to my sister and fellow inmate.
'Well ladies, why do you think I've lined this hanger with cotton pads?'
My sister opened her eyes wide and replied in as innocent a voice as she could muster....
'Is it because you've got too much time on your hands?'
Priceless, please give my sister her OWN show!
Later in the same episode, the two errant housewives were treated to a movie in Anthea's private home cinema! (A house that later was sold during the recession.) Sadly, it wasn't a Brigid Jones movie, but rather a secret film shot in my sister's bedroom!!! Wha..... ? With sister's mouth agape, Anthea chastised A-M for her shoddy knicker drawer, (is nothing sacred!!!) The Saint, clearly trying to score back the point she lost earlier:
'Oh A-M,' she tutted. 'Look how disorganised this drawer is! How would you ever find a matching pants and bra set in there?'
Sister was quick to respond. Hot with crossness!
'Wait-just-a cotton-picking-minute,' said Outraged from Guildford [my sis] eyes narrowed. 'You're not seriously telling me they make bras and pants that MATCH?!'
Game, Set, Matching pants and bra!! You're not even in the same game Anthea!
'Oh actually,' A-M smiled. 'Scuse me but mine do match. They're ALL grey!' She and the other contestant dissolved into school-girl shrieks!
Maybe she should have quit while she was ahead!
Anyhow back to my ramblings. When we moved house I did take the opportunity to de-clutter but I never really tackled the children's toys. They have lots and lot of toys, all, except a few, came from charity shops or car boot sales and now I feel it's time they were returned to these places. The worst offenders are the huge trucks, fire engines, Barbie and Action Man jeeps and one particularly gigantic and sinister Batman Dark Knight car. These toys are never played with, yet take up a considerable amount of floor space in the attic bed room.
In the previous house the five year old, who was four, lived in the box room. I say 'box room' but it was more like a cupboard, a Harry Potter 'under-the-stairs' sized room. My boy loved it. Now at The Larches, he has been rewarded for the time he spent in the box; he has the HUGE attic room. Room for all toys, for car track to whizz hot wheels down. A brilliant room. He absolutely HATES it, apparently it's too big .
One day last week I duly donned my AT wicker basket and, feeling like Snow White on her first day at the cottage, though with far less help, I set about my task. The 'chosen items' were soon packed into industrial strength refuse sacks and hurled into the back of the car. A particularly satisfying sound, as I drove to Ludlow, was the sad wail of the plastic fire engines from my boot.
That was two weeks ago. My seven year old daughter seems to appreciate the cathartic process as her room is spotless even now but the five year old and the husband are traumatised. Who knew that the bloomin Batman car was some sort of prized possession: A genuine find among so much crud! Worth a considerable amount on eBay! Red eyed, the five year old (and the 50yo,) begged me to go back to the shop to retrieve it. The very next day I did. The toy was gone! I have promised to keep looking for another one just like it.....hmmmm [Saw one on eBay but my mortgage paperwork hasn't come through yet.. Let's not tell the boys!]
The five year old's room is now the box room at The Larches and he loves it. Husband occasionally still shakes his head and mutters, 'How could you?'
I feel awful, really I do, honestly the guilt almost keeps me awake at night....Mind you, I'm loving the fact that the attic room looks gorgeous and now it's our guest suite!