It was time for a declutter.
Now, in our house, this is a relative word.
So when three very large bin bags of, too small, too unfashionable and too disgustingly worn out clothes, finally got to the recycling bank, it wasn't without enormous complaint from Tinkerbell Mushroom and Gymnast.
All summer I have winced as they have got themselves dressed into their favourite togs, not noticing, being 7 and 9, that they made themselves look like children something similar to a pre Victorian orphanage.
It's not helped of course by the fact that people, very kindly, knowing that we have five children, give us all their recycling. It is very kind of them, but, even with five children, there are limits as to how many bin bags full of second hand clothes, not quite the right size or shape, that we can deal with.
"If you don't want them, given them back, or give them to a charity shop" the kind people always say, as they give me another four tons of cast offs.
Never being one for waste, I always accept gratefully, smile and stuff it into already crammed full drawers.
Occasionally, someone gives you something accidentally, and asks for it back, as happened just over a year a go. Fortunately, being the thrifty type, I still had said garment, and although it took some digging to find it, amidst clean and dirty washing, bedding, crisp packets and toys and sweet wrappers, I eventually unearthed the missing item and gave it back to kind benefactor.
Now, don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't want "hand me downs". I am actually always genuinely grateful.
It's just that due to the indelible ink labelled "guilt" mark on my forehead, I am seriously unable to sift through the bags, take what I want from them, and give the rest away. I always feel that if it is given to us, as a kind gesture, we should use it, however ridiculous, large or unfashionable it might be.
And of course, aged 7, the more ridiculous, large and unsuitable it is, the better. which is fine, most of the time. But sometimes, just sometimes, you want your children to look reasonably nice.....
And, you want to be able to see them just so without a huge battle of the wardrobe first.
And then of course there is the problem of the nostalgics.
"Oh, that was her first dress.
That was his first sleep suit."
Or, "That was his first nappy...."
Oh, OK, slight exaggeration.....but you get the gist.
In short we have accumulated clothes for seventeen years, waiting for the next child to fit them. Now, given that fashions probably rotate every twenty or thirty years, if I keep them all long enough, I could probably clothe all of our grandchildren too. And the entire street on which all of them will live.
But really, it was time for a thin down, for, despite my new year promise to reduce items by ten a day, I failed miserably once the first month was over.
And so, I steeled myself. I stuffed it into bags. I was ruthless. Hard. Unmoved and untouched as I rid myself of clothes from mine and the younger children's drawers.
The relief was enormous.
Tinkerbell Mushroom complained to ESOS.
"She's thrown away ALL my clothes.
I have nothing to wear."
The mutterings were faintly reminiscent of someone who should be a good few years older than her, but, I have to say, it did strike a chord.
For, once all the unsuitables were gone. What was left, was tasteful, pretty, suitably sized............. but a little on the ....errr.......minimalist front perhaps.
And so, being the last of the big spenders, and always insufferably broke, we went to the tailors, at Tesco and Tesco and Sons. And for just £30, bought what could only be described as an almost completely new wardrobe.
I am forgiven...
I'm now off to watch yesterday's "What not to wear." And then there might be a few more items that hit the recycling bank before Christmas.......
This time, just mine.