November 23, 2007

My Little Pack Rats

Ok so it's in their blood. My mom is a pack rat and her mother before her was the ultimate pack rat (when she died it all got passed on to Mom, Thanks Grammie!!). Somehow I rejected this family tradition, though I seriously struggle sometimes to get rid of things that carry the slightest bit of memories with it. But, for the most part, I am able to get rid of "stuff." After all, you can't take it with you and the person after you is not going to have the same attachment to it as you did. So, I was hoping my children would be free from the family curse of having to keep every tiny little thing that they have collected. Not that lucky!
With Christmas coming I was hoping to clean out some of the old toys that are broken, missing pieces or just plain neglected. I found that the only way to do this effectively is to sneak it away. But ultimately, this isn't working for us. I put a bunch of toys into a box for a garage sale, when the sale came, my girls discovered the box and played with ever last bit and they have returned to the overstuffed playroom. A few months ago, I sent a huge box of stuffed animals (do they reproduce on their own??). Last week, my four year old asked where the big dog was. I had to tell her that he went to play with other little kids that didn't have as many toys as her. She was consoled only a little bit. The bigger problem with sneaking away toys is that I feel like the girls are not learning a few valuable lessons. As I see it, they don't need all of this "stuff," they can give their toys away to make other children very happy, and most importantly, stuff doesn't make us happy. So my question to you is, how do you get rid of toys, old and not so old, and have your children help you so that they can learn those valuable lessons?


Nichole said...

Okay so on Oprah last week, there was a woman who was an out of control horder... packrat. And the therapist said the worst thing you can do is get rid of it all while the person is gone. You need to go through the stuff with the person and have them pick and choose or the behavior won't change. So, I say, allow the girls to go through the stuff and pick and choose... you can set the limit. Have them involved in delivering it to kids who are in need. Just a thought!

sandy said...

I think Nichole is right when she suggests you allow the girls to help pick and choose what should be given way. Then they own it and can share in the joy. Our youngest was only three when he gave his special blanket away to a younger child that was crying. I asked him if he was sure he wanted to do that because he carried it around alot. He said yes, he thought it would make the little girl happy. Several days later he asked if I thought the little girl was happy with his blanket and was OK that she had it. I know if I had suggested he put his blanket away, it would have been much more difficult.