There is a time, a pivotal point in the year, when your children’s possessions reach critical mass. It usually occurs around this time of the year and the ‘mass’ that has gone critical consists of all those brilliant small gifts that arrived at Christmas. On Christmas morning surrounded by wrapping paper and sipping Bucks Fizz all those packages that the kids opened seemed so nice. Kind relatives and friends had all gone to the trouble to send little plastic knick-knacks, glittering gewgaws and oddments of puzzles and ornaments that made the morning all the more exciting. Admittedly by the time the Queen has come and gone several of the smaller bits from the gifts have painfully embedded themselves in your Christmas slippered feet, but that is all part of the festivities.
Now, a few weeks after the holiday season, it is a totally different kettle of fish. The nice thoughtful gift of an easy to assemble model that your offspring spent an hour or so making turned out to be just as easy to disassemble and seems to have spontaneously done so all over their bedroom floor. it is time for a clear out. I will not hear the protestations that they still wear this and that they still play with the other when clearly this is not the case, it is clear out time. Here are my rules.
1. When did it last get used? If the answer is more than a month into the charity bag it goes.
2. Does it fit? You must be ruthless here because no matter how much they love the glittery t-shirt or the silly slippers the child is not getting smaller so they will never fit again. In it goes.
3. Does it really have sentimental value? I understand the desire to hang on to a fluffy teddy but never played with plastic action figures are not the same. Quoting Toy Story will not work. In it goes.
4. Is it seasonal? Christmas based stuff is doomed because in the early part of the following year nobody needs a santa hat. In the bag.
Anything that falls foul of the rules goes into the charity bag and that is where the battle is won. All those things that the kids really don’t need go off to benefit someone else and that usually is enough to get consent and at least reach a stage where you can see the floor.
Creative Director Media Arts 13