Set it on fire

This morning I woke up and spent the next hour chasing small people to get ready (fed and dressed) for hockey. Yes, the season was STILL going. If this wasn’t enough to make me cranky I had a lost mouth guard, a kid with a sore finger who wouldn’t stop complaining about it and a 4 year old who insists that she dresses herself which often has her looking like a bedraggled bag lady. I was getting something out of said 4 year old’s drawers when I lost it. I completely and utterly lost my mind about the piles of STUFF that were everywhere. You know the ones…drawers spilling clothes that are never worn or not fitting anymore, BOXES so many small boxes filled with plastic SHIT. Handbags! So many little handbags filled with beads, a feather, some rocks, some lip balm. SO MUCH SHIT. I felt SUFFOCATED. Like I was drowning and a little dramatic. Rob thought I was mental, and he told me as such asking me “does it really matter right this minute?!” “YES ROB IT DOES.” I was ready to set fire to the place just to have it dealt with. Dramatic much?


I went to hockey and lamented with my fellow team Mum’s about the toys. The mess. The SHIT. ALL THE KID SHIT. Especially the boxes and bags of crap…the piles under beds, behind chairs, shoved into cupboards when I’ve asked them to clean up. The plastic toys. Blunt pencils. BROKEN CRAYONS. It had to end! The end was NIGH! I fueled up on baked goods post game as well as some hardcore black plaso garbage bags and got stuck IN.

I tackled the girls room first. Made them pull out every single last item under the bed, off the shelves, in the cupboards into the  middle of the room. We had a bag for rubbish and for donation. And we painstakingly went through every shitty McDonalds toy, feather and rock collected, lip balm and show bag prize from the last few years and culled the lot. Of course when they weren’t looking I just tipped entire things into the rubbish bin….IT HAD TO GO. I then shut their door and headed into the spare room. Tackled baskets filled with old creams from when Harper was a baby, baby blankets, culling the lot. Each new bag making me breathe easier.

I started to lose momentum and interest at this stage with the rubbish bags getting heavier as I gave less of shit. I tackled the play area of our main living space. Pulling out every item from the bookcase, every book, puzzle and Polly Pocket I could lay my hands on. Man did I take some stuff out. Leaving the GOOD stuff: the puzzles, the wooden toys, the good baby toys for my sister’s baby when it comes along. I got behind the chair that was like an Aladdin’s cave of train sets and board games, cards and SHIT everywhere. I went through it all. I cleaned out the dolls house! The toy kitchen!

And then I collapsed with exhaustion and stopped. Still so many more cupboards to tackle! But it’s a start. Next week I will tackle the drawers of clothes, take out anything that doesn’t fit and simplify what we have. I will sleep well tonight knowing that the house has NO MORE BITS OF PLASTIC. Until they start to make their way back in I guess.

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And you can bet when I tackle those drawers and built in wardrobes next week that I will do it when NO ONE is around. Imagine the stuff I’ll be able to get rid of them? They will practically be quakers!

How is it that you can cope with stuff for such a long time and then *snap* suddenly you will lose your mind if it isn’t fixed?
Anyone else spring cleaning? De-cluttering? Organising?
Got any tips for keeping kids stuff in order? I’m telling you RIGHT now I will not download a checklist OK?


  1. Oh this is so me. Been there, done that, regular basis. It’s like one broken Happy Meal toy or Kinder Surprise toy that breaks this camel’s back!

  2. I cull in every school holidays. I actually plan in advance what area(s) I plan to tackle. These holidays is a clothing cull for the kids, and going through our filing cabinet and chucking out old paper work.

  3. I don’t have kids with plastic shit everywhere and yet a good clean out is so therapeutic! For me it is like needing to get a haircut, it’s fine until one day, it just IS NOT, and it has to go!!
    I don’t download checklists either.
    May the force be with you!

  4. Do it at least every six months, seriously I now do the whole house twice yearly. If I start to get sentimental about keeping things I think of what I would keep if we were moving.

  5. I just lost my shit too! We have 15 coming for lunch tomorrow and I’m trying to keep the house clean until daughter invites friend over and EVERY toy is pulled out of the cupboard. I just lost it (of course, when said friend had departed), Sylvanian family cutlery scattered through the house, 18 changes of clothes, shoes, Lego…oh, I feel ill. My husband said it doesn’t matter and it can all be cleaned up…yeah BY ME!!!! I chuck things out all the time but I’m a big fan of those IKEA cube bookshelves to keep things neat & tidy. Relax & breathe.

  6. Ha! I think we must be related – I’m exactly the same. Cope fine with all the shit for ages, then one day I snap and watch out! I can get an excessive amount done in a short time when I’m in ones of my de-cluttering flurries! Very satisfying.

  7. OMG it’s like your living in my head….same thing happens to me – I loose it big time and just throw everything out.

  8. I had this happen to me earlier in the week. I grabbed a cup of coffee and started. Moving furniture, throwing objects into garbage bags, sorting clothes/books/toys, sweeping floors, mopping floors, putting said furniture back…holy fuck did we have some crap laying around. My god, children are like magnets for tiny pieces of useless ‘things’. I do feel better now, knowing I’m not the only one to have a fit about this.

  9. This makes me want to go home and clean out some stuff… And it wasn’t that long ago I did it!! We live in a 3 bedroom house and just had our second baby, which meant the 3rd bedroom aka ‘the dumping ground’ had to be emptied sufficiently to become a bedroom. So much stuff GONE! But I could get rid of more… And will!!

  10. I could have written this post. This is me! This week it was my daughters desk, the day before her birthday sleepover. I completely lost it over all the “things” on her desk, when all she needs is her laptop, a pencil and a notebook. Everyone in the house was backing away from me slowly, careful not to move too quickly. They really should be use to it by now though.

  11. I really need to get into my younger girls rooms…. however their room just scares me, I’m sure something is breathing under the bed……..

  12. I just signed up to the website 365 less things

    I love it. A little bit of decluttering every day and a daily mission. I find it motivates me.

  13. I do this too. I snap and everything has to go. Usually my wardrobe, and then I end up with nothing to wear.

  14. I’ve just finished a month long series on my blog about my decluttering! I only spent 5 mins a day as I get bored easily too. It’s been awesome! Love having less junk and got rid of so much crap from a failed business idea I had once upon a time that really should have been done ages ago!

  15. Very impressive you have tackled at this young age. I’m just attacking a spare room of crap and my baby is 17 yrs old!! Well done Beth.

  16. I hear you loud and ready to ignite!!! I had a Mummy Melt-down a few weeks ago. Lost my shit as you say and make me laugh because it is soooooo true! It’s the rage that turns us into a human bulldozer, clearing, clearing and yes by the end I was exhausted and well and truly over it too, but sleep well you will my friend!! Good luck with the drawers!!

  17. Oh yes!
    I regularly get rid of shit.
    Usually it is when I am doing a big clean…every three months or so.
    And I just see stuff that I know we don’t need…or haven’t used since the last big clean.
    Out it goes!
    The one area I am terrible about cleaning is my own closet…but I felt the itch to get stuck in and clean it out yesterday so I am hoping I will get a minute to do it this week.
    Salvos is going to love me!

    • Faux Fuchsia says

      I have been doing a lot of spring cleaning- the garden and my pot plants are sorted and I took some toys to the Salvos today. My friends came over to take some baby furniture we no longer needed. I felt sad to see it go but we don’t need it any more and it was Time. I have fabric that I’ve bought over the years from Black and Spiro and I put it into a plastic tub and sorted it, so soothing. I declutter ALL the time. Makes it easier to clean and the house looks better for it. Our place is small so I don’t want to hoard. I agree with everyone who says to pretend they are selling.


    • I need to get stuck into mine too..this week I hope!

  18. My Mum is a bit of a hoarder, drove me BERKO growing up. Now as the grown up with a 4 and 2 year old I fear the pendulum will swing back with them… I already see their sneaky little hoarder ways coming through just like their Nanna! 🙂 I still hate clutter! They want to keep everything! Ahhhhhh!

    So now I do it without the kids around, then keep the toys in the garage for a week or two and if they don’t ask for it, it’s gone!

    Some things I sell on eBay or buy and swaps but best of all, I’ve found some really fantastic charities where I know the things I’m giving are making a huge difference… Look up Helping Hands on FB. They have families in need down your neck of the woods as well. Wonderful charity.

  19. I remember things getting that bad, I dragged all their shit outside and lit it on fire… I was so sick of picking up crap… Not exactly my best parenting moment (sad face) …

  20. I moved into my house 4 months ago and I’ll be damned if I’m unpacking all that shit, I’ve left it in the garage, and if I can make it to 12 months without anyone asking me for any of it, I’m binning the lot…. it shits me to the end of the earth. My 9 year old’s new years resolution last year was that the whole family wouldn’t eat McDonald’s for a year, so far we are still going strong and I haven’t missed those bloody toys in the slightest.

  21. This is exactly how I am feeling at the moment too. With three boys born within 5 years, at any given time I have five ages of clothes in wardrobes or boxed in plastic tubs. The baby is now 3 and I still have all his clothes from 000 – 2 around and it is driving me nuts. It is sitting there waiting for my sister to come over – her youngest son is almost one. Can’t wait to offload the tubs to some other storage poor soul! Good on your for de-cluttering. It’s the best feeling ever!

  22. I’ve been reading your blog for well over a year Beth and have never commented on a post until today. OMG I can so relate …. the little feathers, rocks and broken crayons they are all in my daughters bags, drawers, baskets and tins and it drives me absolutely crazy too! Brilliant post, just loved it and even my husband is laughing.

  23. I laughed at the “practically Quaker” comment!! I did the kids shoes the other morning and boy did it feel good to clear out that drawer! Keep up the good work!

  24. Oh Beth. I’ve been feeling the same. Feeling overwhelmed by stuff. Have been slowly trying to get rid of stuff but feel like I’m the only one in the family that feels like that.

  25. The house we’re renting {whilst we’re building} is up for sale as of last week – which meant a real estate photographer turned up 9am Monday morning {after being at ProBlogger all weekend} to snap the place ready for online photos. SHITE!!! So I did the same thing – loaded the boot of the car with bags and bags and BAGS of shitty plastic crap, old space-wasting toys and cheap shit that somehow ALWAYS makes it into the trolley every time we hit a store. And I hightailed it to the local dump where we offloaded it all plus another few bags to charity. God it felt good. Now I too am on a roll – what else can I attack?? Nothing like a good cull. GO BETH GO!
    C x

  26. A close friend has just put her house on the market and had a big de-clutter – looks awesome. I’m totally inspired to pretend we are selling our house – I believe the benefits to be huge .. small start today and really getting stuck in tomorrow. All tha plastic kids shit will send you to the looney bin!!

  27. HA HA I love this post Beth. Funny that you mention setting it on fire – my decluttering test is always “if my house burned down, would I replace this with the contents insurance?”. If the item has bothered me/got in my way and it doesn’t pass the test, it’s gone.

  28. This is exactly how I feel! I just dont have the time at the moment to tackle anything, and I think that’s what drives me cray cray! When it’s something that has to get done, but doesn’t an just gets worse! OMG!!!

  29. There has been a black box of doom sitting on my kitchen floor for over a year and I am JUST TOO SCARED to deal with it. I should just toss the whole thing in the otto and be done with it, really. It’s mostly school notes. School notes will, in fact, be the death of me.

    Good culling.


  30. Lisa Mckenzie says

    It feels wonderful doesn’t it,getting rid of crap,goo luck Beth with the rest you’re are on a roll,go you Xx

  31. No ideas, because I have plainly failed as a mother in this area, but plenty of sympathy. My daughter (6) is as you described, little piles, boxes, bags of treasures everywhere. I always thought it was because she was born in the year of the rat …my son, (10) is just bone lazy, and shoves things everywhere, consequently never being able to find anything. Aaarrgghhh!

  32. I usually lose my mind over kid crud when I am premenstrual (aside…I hate that word) and sometimes contemplate just closing the door and walking away so as to just start somewhere new…Strangely… I am kind of getting my wish…we recently bought the house we have lived in for years and are stating a reno (hold me) so we must basically pack up and move out for a bit. I am thrilled and overwhelmed at the prospect. One great tip I have for the sentimental like me is to take a picture of the things you are having trouble parting with. It makes it much easier. It is also much better than keeping the thing itself because whatever it is…they don’t often store well…stuffies, clothes, artwork…it all looks pretty miserable and smells bad when pulled out of storage for years and kind of creepy…better to have the picture and a memory of all but the very special….

  33. We live in a shoebox & my 11 year old daughter has a tiny room. Every now & then I walk past her room & the stuff all over the place, spilling out of drawers & all over the floor gets too much so I give her the warning…… need to clean up properly or when you are at school tomorrow I will do a garbage bag clean. If the room is still a total mess (it usually is ) I go in with the garbage bags. Every drawer, shelf & surface is unloaded of stuff, I go through it all & I throw stuff away. She loves to rip an A4 sheet of paper into pieces the size of a thumbnail & draw on them & then leave them everywhere. I am ruthless with my culling, if I think it looks like junk it is gone. She is slowly learning that it is safer for her to keep things in order because when mum does a garbage bag clean anything can disappear.

  34. Rach aka stinkb0mb says

    I do a hard cull every 6 months.

    If I forgot that I had it [which means I obviously won’t miss having it!] OR haven’t used it in the last 6 months OR don’t think I’ll use it in the next 6 months – it gets chucked!

    With every cull, I’m creeping closer and closer to the minimalist lifestyle – it’s very freeing. Stuff rarely makes us happy, in fact it tends to do the opposite AND weigh us down!

    Happy culling!

  35. Kids toys, my youngest just throws them out of the toy box as he looks for what he wants. I bet if I got rid of it all they’re hardly notice, thanks for the reminder to do a cull!

  36. Oh I hear you sista!
    That was me last weekend- went through my sons room & then got on a roll through the linnen press & study.

    Just like you something snapped & I couldn’t stand the crapola for one more minute!:)

  37. Moving countries really challenges your idea of what is essential vs optional. When we moved to Germany we shipped 5 boxes and two bicycles and bought a suitcase each. Most of the stuff in boxes was bit and pieces from the patchwork quilt I’m making to favourite ornaments. We got rid of so much stuff in Australia!

  38. I’m the chucker in this household. Hubby is a hoarder, and he has a big shed in the backyard for just that purpose. I bundle up any stuff of his that is piling up in the house, and quite literally open the door and chuck it in the shed. It’s then firmly his problem.
    I cull clothes twice a year at change of season, so we are due to swap them soon and I am brutal. Good ones go to friends, not so good to the Vinnies rag service. All done when kids are at school/kindy, so there’s no arguing.
    Oh and the collected crap? I vacuum rooms once a week. Any itty bitty crap on the floor (including under beds), sucked into the Dyson. all the other gets a good going over when we change the sheets on a Saturday morning- if I’m in doing beds, they are in packing up or decluttering.
    We’ve successfully filled a small garden bed with the rocks that two kids have collected over the last couple of years. What is it with rocks?

  39. Currently going through a separation and by god the de-cluttering of all the shit in the house is good therapy! I swear those little plastic toys multiply over night! We have a littlest pet shop toy breading program in miss 6 bedroom.

  40. Haha! Those damn plastic bits of shit. I also have a four year old that loves to collect things. I’m in the habit of doing it once they’re asleep or when they’re not home now! They never want me to throw anything out

  41. My husband and I have lived in a hotel room in Cairns for this past Winter.We brought a carryon piece of luggage each with us,work clothes in his very,very minimal in mine.We must leave for home on Goldy in a week and I feel like vomiting cos we have a house full of shit back there.Nice shit but still shit.Living without has been the most liberating feeling..

  42. The clips and hair ties do my head in. And we have so many freakin stuffed toys we could have a zoo! Now that Phoebe is our last babe I can’t wait to unleash all my baby stuff. I hate clutter too!

  43. O Beth, you have no idea how much I needed to hear this right now! I was beating myself up yesterday about our mess, I am feeling very cranky about it, it really gets me down and I need to get this shit sorted. And I was thinking “I bet Beth’s house NEVER looks like this, and I bet her kid’s rooms are never a mess, how the hell does she do it”…. so thanks for keeping it real. I guess we are all in the same box. I was making my coffee this morning and looking at a plastic tub full of CRAP (yes, those crappy cheap plastic toys that they seem to some how accumulate)…..I am getting on top of it tomorrow….better get my office shit together first. No wonder I am such a bad blogger, I just spend my whole time reading other blogs, ha ha ha. Wish me luck, and thanks for the motivation! PS: Feels like I have only just de-cluttered everything, god it piles up fast.

    • Do not give your shit about mess…it’s the one thing there will ALWAYS be. Good luck with the de-clutter. Set yourself a small task and tackle it…like on Monday I just did Daisy’s wardrobe that was it!

  44. Ah yes. THE SHIT! I snapped about 6 weeks ago and told my husband we were spending a day each week until Spring going through every cupboard etc. We like to keep our ‘things’ low but we can always cull more! When we buy new shoes/clothes we have to throw the old shoes/clothes out etc. What is it with kids and little bits of shit plastic and stones!? I snapped when I saw 5 cardboard boxes in her bedroom that were being used for toy houses and all sorts of stuff. The boxes come home from school or when I have something on-line delivered! We kept two boxes. We had a fire in the backyard and got out friends and their kids around to toast marshmallows…the fuel for the fire was 3 bags of paperwork cleared out of the filing cabinet!

  45. Everyday I tell myself that I’ll tackle a cupboard or two, yet everyday I find something else MUCH more important to do. It usually hits crisis point and then I do lots all at once. I just find the more I look at it all the more I find of it… does that make sense? So for now I’m not looking

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