8 responses

  1. Amy
    October 2, 2007

    My other rule of thumb, you can throw something away if it costs under $5 to replace!


  2. Beverley
    May 8, 2008

    I find it very odd that no-one seems to feel that it matters that Maddie’s feelings about what is undoubtedly her own creation should be so disrespected.

    My husband is of the ‘I will throw it all away when I decide it should’ go school of thought too. I find this most disrespectful, in what way is it right that my decisions on what I own or do not own should be made for me? It puts me in the position of Maddie, a child whose wishes are overridden.

    I agree that children can’t bear the responsibility of making every decision for themselves but when a child has put their heart and soul into something then surely it could be possible to store these things in a neat and tidy way?


  3. Sarah
    May 8, 2008

    Great point. Sometimes it can be hard when others are making the decisions about whether or not we get to keep our things – especially when those things are our treasures.

    Sometimes though we object just because someone else is deciding and not because the thing itself has any value. That’s when we have to learn to let go.

    We value Maddie’s treasures but we also have a responsbility to help her discern what is a treasure and what isn’t. We may be wrong sometimes – it is a difficult balance.


  4. Marge
    June 16, 2008

    A word about children’s art. When they get a little older, like past kindergarten, the amount of art they produce diminishes signficantly. I have four kids, and this is true of all of them. Also, they no longer think their toddler art is as much of a treasure. This is one that a little time can resolve.

    Of course, there are some kids, just like adults, who want to hang onto everything. They need help with making decisions. It helps to tell them they can’t get any more things until they get rid of something.
    You can also let them try to sell the things with a rummage sale, or even to you. It’s really a small amount of money for an adult, and saves time. Another option is to have them clean the space on a weekly or monthly basis. They will get tired of shuffling it around.



  5. Sarah
    June 16, 2008

    Thank you Marge! GREAT ADVICE!


  6. Denise B.
    June 26, 2008

    One thing I’ve found to be helpful is to allow my children a “treasure box” of those items they can’t seem to part with. This is a nice, sturdy, medium sized box with a lid that matches the decor of their room to hold those items they cherish. If something they want to keep doesn’t fit, then it’s up to them to “let go” of the current things in order to make room for new things that are important to them. This has worked nicely in eliminating “stuff” clutter and has also allowed me to show respect for what they enjoy since if it were up to me~it’d be gone! HTH :)


  7. beth clements
    November 28, 2010

    I agree with Beverly and applaud Denise B. Giving children the opportunity to make decisions and develop strategies to take control of their possessions rather than letting them become a burden will benifit them throughout their lives. Abruptly taking things from them and trashing them is disrespectful and can backfire. There are more than a few hoarders that claim such treatment as the impetus to there condition. When it’s time for my kids to downsize I tell them ,for instance, that we only have room for 3 baskets of toys then allow them to decide which toys go or stay. As long as the final objective is met I do not question their choices. Also my kids understand clearly why we need to make these choices and witness me going through the same process of editing my possessions regularly. With 5 people living in a 750 sq. foot apartment it just has to be done!


  8. Viola Thoukydidis
    May 21, 2011

    My father once threw away an open box that contained a Neandertal stone axe I found at a beach. I don´t throw away my children´s stuff, but go with the treasure box method. Everyone in the family has a drawer which is untouchable to the others, without allowance the contains can´t even be seen. Works perfectly!

    What helps me tidying a lot: I got a very beautiful turkish tea tray (they don´t have handles, but are carried by a ring from which the tray is hanging, usually three slightly bended thin pipes). The system keeps everything from dropping, spilling etc. I walk through the house and put everything on that belongs in a different room. If I have much to tidy, I carry a bathroom-tray, bring the stuff to the bath. Next round: kitchen tray, and so on. It is fast and brings stuff to the correct rooms every day.
    Having this beautiful tray helps me doing it because it´s adorable, pretty and fun to do with the pendling tray.


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