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I was standing over the kitchen sink. Sobbing. Silently.
Hoping no one could hear me.
Crazy bad PMT wasn’t helping.
But mostly I was just feeling overloaded.
And overwhelmed with the clutter of our modern lives.
Every cupboard in the house was full.
There was stuff rammed under every bed.
And there seemed to be great piles of things everywhere.
No one could put anything anyway because there was nowhere to put it.
And no one could find anything because no one put anything anyway.
And the whole house felt grubby, because any time I had free for cleaning was spent moving random piles of stuff around – sort of musical clutter, minus the music. And the prizes.
And any party atmosphere.
We were drowning in a great whirlpool of clutter sucking us down, further and further.
OK I exaggerate a bit. But only a bit.
‘Cos that’s what it felt like. And I wanted to scream.
And then my seven year old came in and said “Mummy, I’ve got lego up my nose!”
At which point I am ashamed to say I did scream.
A deep mother wail of complete and utter panic …
… but never fear, because far off – unseen on the horizon – Woody was riding to my rescue!
Woody?!! Yep him. The cowboy from Toy Story.
On a one man mission to save this mummy in distress.
Now, I should probably make totally clear here that unfortunately, fictional characters from Hollywood films cannot actually extract lego from your child’s nose!
You MUST take them to the emergency room.
And you shouldn’t try to extract lego yourself.
And if they struggle to breath call an ambulance.
But Woody did rescue me!
Because while we were at the hospital waiting for the doctor to arrive with her well used lego-up-the-nose extraction tools, we got talking.
My seven year old and me.
About clutter. And why it makes mummy sad.
And how hard it is for everyone when we all have so much stuff.
And right there, right then, Woody rode in and saved the day.
Because somehow or other we got onto Toy Story.
When after all their adventures at the horrible children’s centre, Andy gives Woody and Buzz Lightyear and all his other long neglected toys to the little girl Bonnie.
Who showers them with love and imagination.
Remembering that story, my daughter was suddenly ready to say goodbye to her old toys.
And by the time we were home – minus the lego – she had decided to give away her beloved balance bike AND her wooden cargo truck AND her fabric blocks AND her lovely Galt animal skittles.
And this from a kid who saves the foil off her Easter eggs, was a big deal!
We’d discussed getting rid of stuff before but Woody and his story got through to her in a way that my railing and reasoning and rationalising just couldn’t.
It was a lovely reminder of the pure power for children – for all of us – of story telling.
And it’s made a massive difference for the whole family.
We’ve all found the strength to declutter all sorts of things we never imagined we would let go.
And week by week – little by little – we’re sending stuff off to better homes!
If you’re struggling to get your family to declutter, do see if Woody can help out!
And for more help decluttering do check out my …