Sunday, 3 January 2010

The Dark Side of Decluttering

The beginning of a new year.  A fresh start.  Time, surely, for a purge of the house and a major decluttering session?

Well, yes, that's what normally happens at the start of every January for me.  However, I have to pause and recall a past declutter session which went awry.  In fact I came very close to A Declutter Too Far.  That's a bit like A Bridge Too Far but without the guns.

Several years ago, when my girls were probably about 4 and 7  I was looking in their rooms before a decluttering day and I decided that they had Too Many Dolls. Yes, there were way too many for two children to play with, that much was very clear. I mean, c'mon, how many dolls do two girls need for goodness sake?  So, it was decreed that several of the dolls must go to the local charity shop which, I told the girls, would give them to children without any toys.  Okay, not strictly accurate but I was decluttering!  Sometimes you have to stretch the truth a little bit don't you?  Don't you?

Neither girl was very happy about giving their precious dolls away, but I was insistent.  "I'll come back in half an hour to see which ones you want to donate."  Fair enough?

So, off I went to begin the frenzied sorting, recycling and tidying.  A bit later I went upstairs to find see how they were getting on with sorting the dolls, and overheard this:

Daughter aged 7: *sobbing* "..and don't forget that I love you, but I hope another little girl will love you just as much as I do"
Daughter aged 4:  "I love you too, but Mummy says you can't live here anymore...." "weeping*

I looked in on them, sitting on the floor hugging their beloved dolls, and sobbing uncontrollably.  How cruel can one mother be? 

Oh, the shame. The absolute, unforgiveable shame.

Of course I told them that they could keep the dolls, because we didn't have as many as I'd thought (ahem). But the agony didn't stop there, because then both girls jumped up and hugged me, crying "Oh, Mummy you're so kind, you're the nicest Mummy in the whole wide world..."  I tell you, I couldn't have felt more ashamed than at that moment. 

So...all you manic declutterers out there, be careful.  Don't say you haven't been warned.


Heather said...

oh my. I got a little teary eyed for you there.

The wife of bold said...

Is it wrong that i was laughing through this, i'm a terrible mum and ruthless when it comes to decluttering - I have to be i have four doll loving girls x Happy New year x

TheMadHouse said...

pmsl - The boys dont have dolls, but they do have the mind of elephants. I put things in black bags in the loft for a month a nd then if not mentioned out they go. However, they volunteered toys for children that needed them before christmas.

Oh and how I have just nearly wet myself when the word verification was clittedic

Dan said...

it's like a scene out of sophies choice.

notSupermum said...

Ang - that would be a more sensible option! I just decided to go for the kill.

Heather - I hesitated before posting it, the shame still haunts me.

Wife of Bold - I love doing a bit of decluttering, it's so satisfying. That's if you don't pyschologically damage your children in the process of course.

The Madhouse - love the word verification!

Dan - yes, you're right. That would make me the Nazi guard then?

Kelloggsville said...

LOL That's sooooooooo mean!!!!

I do the black bag in the attic trick too!

Tara@Sticky Fingers said...

Ye gods, a lesson to us all indeed.
I'm worse than that - I just go into their rooms and declutter when they're not there then claim I have no idea where their missing toy is when they go looking . . . .

Anonymous said...

Dare I admit it? Okay I will. Two years ago I decided to declutter and sold some of my daughter's old toys on ebay. Then she asked where they were. I have never felt so guilty in all my life. Worse still, I miscalculated the postage costs and made no money at all from the sales!

Stigmum said...

Ah what a heart wrenching story! I am non ruthless mother but ridding my own stuff is the hardest of all! Happy New Year mamma! x

La Belette Rouge said...

You are a SuperMum!

Happy De-clutter day and New Year to you and your girls.xoxo

Debbie said...

ha!! so cute and I can SO relate! I tend to declutter when the kids are not around and it always turned out I misjudged their attachment to SOMETHING!!:)

lunarossa said...

oh so sad. I bet you had to fight not to cry yourself. Every year, my main year resolution is to declutter, but I never manage totally with the result that the clutter piles up.Fortunatelu most of the clutter belongs to me! All the best. Ciao. A.

ThatGirl39 said...

this made me smile.. only because I had a similar incident with a plastic Dora house whilst clearing out before Christmas! Bad Mummies!!!

notSupermum said...

Kellogsville, I know - so mean. It still makes me squirm when I think of it.

Tara, good to know that you're more evil than me :-)

Rosie - oh no that's even worse! Poor IJ!

Stigmum, I need to do some real decluttering of my own things come to think of it! Happy new year!

notSupermum said...

La belette, not sure my girls would have agreed with you that day! Happy new year x

Debbie, thanks for visiting! Oh yes, very easy to misjudge the emotional attachment children have to certain toys isn't it?

Antonella, yes it did make me choke up with shame, they were so heartbroken.

Thatgirl - hurray, another bad mummy! Thanks x

Muddling Along Mummy said...

Its for this reason I secretly declutter (and then feel the guilt when stuff I've hidden away from Toddlergirl comes out again and she acts like its her most favourite thing ever)

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

As tragic as it is, I love this story. Kids - they certainly bring us back to reality...usually with a thud!