Linda's blog: The Big Clear Out

clock Released On 12 March 2024

Linda's blog: The Big Clear Out

We moved into our terraced house as a recently married couple. For a long time the sound of our feet on the floorboards echoed against the bare walls of sparsely furnished rooms. 

14 years, 2 children and my grandparents’ big, dark wood furniture later, despite what’s felt like regular sort outs, we’ve amassed an inordinate amount of stuff. Each useful cupboard we’ve built into every possible alcove now presents a headache as we prepare to move house. When I open a door and attempt to clear the contents it feels like Mary Poppins’ bag: the further I reach in, the more there is to pull out. As we untie the string that held boxes closed, the contents spring out like an unwelcome Jack in the box. It seems our house is not just full, it is overflowing. 

With the knowledge that our new house is only marginally bigger and has no built in storage, we have been forced to do a major cull. Some things have been easy: the games and clothes that have been outgrown, the ancient bank statements and the scribbled  “artwork” that came home from nursery a decade ago. It turns out there’s a reason why this was encased in a plastic wallet: each item I’ve removed has left me showered with sand, glitter and fragments of paint. 

Anything that’s personalised or brings back happy memories is so much harder. The handwritten cards, tiny hand and feet prints, the first hair cut and my pregnancy, baby sleep and feed diaries sent me down memory lane. I have indulged my nostalgia and packed these away in a grandly labelled “Memory box”. 

With the clock ticking, it felt like the overall volume was simply not reducing and, feeling slightly overwhelmed, I googled de-cluttering techniques. I was particularly apprehensive about addressing the children’s beloved cuddly toys but, as they often do, they have surprised and impressed me with their approach. It turns out they can be efficient and ruthless decision makers. My 8 year old became an immediate Marie Kondo aficionado, calmly picking things from her mountain of Jelly Cat animals, thanking them for the fun she’d had and declaring that they could go and live with another child. 

I tell myself that from now on I will diligently apply this and other tips to keep on top of things in our new house. I just hope this is a resolution I keep! 

Linda is a lawyer who has two children aged 11 and 7. She and her husband work full time and juggle the school run and everything else between them.


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