Making space for Christmas (aka the annual toy clear out) is quite a pressurised undertaking, as I can’t start until the girls have gone to school and I have to have completed the entire job by the time the they get back. Clearing out toys, puzzles and games is not for the fainthearted and is, in my opinion, best done without the knowledge of the child to whom said items belong because, as I am sure any parent reading this will confirm, invariably every single toy you pick up with a view to recycling or (if broken) disposing of, will immediately become the very best loved toy of all.
Can’t possibly live without it, even though it hasn’t seen the light of day since before last Christmas.
No, I have learned the hard way, that doing the sorting out when I have the cottage to myself, is by far the easiest option. Occasionally a removed item is missed but I can honestly say that this is always months after the event and normally results from one or other of the Mudlets finding an errant piece of puzzle or game, that had escaped from the box.
That said, however, there are certain areas that I feel the Mudlets should help with and this includes sorting out teddy bears and books but more about that part of my day later.
Mind you, this year there is an added urgency and importance to the tidy up/clear out ….. tomorrow Little Mudlets new bed arrives and there simply isn’t room for it in her room as it stands. You see at the moment, Little Mudlet sleeps in a ‘junior’ bed which is bigger than a cot bed but smaller than a standard single.
As well as being the youngest of my girls, Little Mudlet is, as her name suggests, little. At 8lb exactly, or 3.62kg if you prefer, she was the smallest of my babies by quite a considerable margin. Eldest Mudlet was 8lb 14.5 oz (4kg) and Middle Mudlet was 8lb 10oz (3.9kg) and so Little Mudlet has always looked tiny, compared to her sisters. Even now at 7 years old she is ‘diddy’, quite dainty looking, and is not as tall as her siblings were at her age but this has meant that her little bed has been ideal, especially when you consider that her room is what is commonly referred to as a ‘box room’.
However, following a growth spurt, there is not much ‘growing’ space left in her bed and so we have ordered her a new single sized childs bed and it will be here tomorrow and before we can assemble it, we need to make some space in her room.
- So my first mission, should I choose to accept it, was to conjure up space on the toy shelves for some of her things, so that we could dispose of her chest of drawers which has seen better days anyhow;
- then I needed to sort out and reshuffle the remaining contents of her room, to make space for the new bed; and then
- I’d have to cast my parent eye over Middle Mudlets room as per the ‘Making Space for Christmas’ side of things.
All before the Mudlets got back from school!
An hour into clearing the toy shelves, I’d almost lost the will to live largely due to the seemingly infinite number of game and puzzle pieces which were littering the shelves, not to mention beads, Lego bricks, broken crayons and even sequins, feathers and stickers from numerous craft packets. As for the reams and reams of waste paper and card, goodness me, it was endless.
I was quite ruthless though and any broken games or bits of toy went into a black bag and the pile of odds and sods which needed to be put back into their correct boxes or drawers, almost rivaled Mount Everest in size. Okay, I exaggerate but you know what I mean. Game and puzzle pieces were put back into their correct boxes as I came to them but the rest of the pile was left for the girls to sort out on their return.
So some considerable time later, the shelves looked like this, I had a neat pile of puzzles and games destined for the school fair and a black bin bag full of rubbish. Next stop was Little Mudlets’ room but not before I indulged in a much needed coffee.
A few of Little Mudlets’ Playmobil items came down to take up residence on the newly vacated shelf, as well as her Polly Pocket plane but actually trying to tidy the rest of her room was enough to drive me to drink …. another coffee. Looking at her work top where her Playmobil buildings and Lego Friends models lived I saw my youngest daughters tidying skills at a glance:
Pick up a handful of mixed detritus and deposit it into the nearest Playmobil building! Lego, beads and even the occasional piece of Playmobil but not necessarily correct for that particular building (think black horse in Summer House kitchen and hospital bed in the stables).
On their arrival home I tasked the girls with the job of deciding which of their teddy bears could now move into the attic space. They have dozens and, frankly, even in a proper single bed Middle Mudlet finds her self without any foot room due to the sheer number of cuddly friends she has. As for Little Mudlet her tiny bed is usually half buried under teddy bears and dolls and the full size Moses Basket we gave her for the rest of them was over flowing as well.
No, a tidy out was needed and it was up to the girls to choose which bears to keep and which could go. Oddly enough Little Mudlet was quite happy with this particular task and readily consigned around 50% of her soft toys to the attic but decided her dolls had to stay. Middle Mudlet, my little tom boy, found it much harder but did manage a creditable 30% reduction but then she had fewer to start with, as I had already carried out a significant thinning out of her bears about three years ago and those bears are currently in the attic awaiting the arrival of the current selection.
With the bears dealt with, Little Mudlet was then dispatched to sort out her work top …….. properly this time please, making sure that all the pieces she had previously unceremoniously dumped into her various toy buildings, were put away in their correct drawers.
As for Middle Mudlet, she knew that her next task was to sort out her precariously piled book shelf, as I had already commented on it last night. In fact she went further than a mere tidy up of her books, sorting through them and then bringing several to me to ask if she could donate them to the school fair, as she felt that both she and her sister were too big for them. Favourites like ‘The Gruffalo’, ‘Room on the Broom’, ‘Tiddler’ and ‘Guess how much I love you’ were passed over to Little Mudlet but there is a pile of some 20 picture books now stacked beside the bag of puzzles and games.
I am incredibly proud of my generous little girl and of the very grown up way she took the initiative to sort out her books properly and she will be rewarded for her kindness because unbeknownst to her, as well as Little Mudlets new bed and mattress coming tomorrow, there is also a new mattress for her bed being delivered. She is also getting a new duvet set, as her current one is now 7 years old and, as we bought it before realising that she was a tom boy, is actually a Disney Fairies cover. Her new one is ‘Tatty Ted’ and is an acceptable mix of colour and design which should, I hope, appeal to both the tom boy side off her character and the Teddy Bear loving girlie side.