I received a comment from Loretta yesterday and here is what she wrote…
I’ve got a question for you: since your children are now grown, what advice do you have for those of us with younger kids with regard to keepsakes and clutter? Is there anything you regret not keeping for your kids, or did you (and they) keep ‘too much’ childhood stuff?
I recently went through a big box full of cards my mother kept for me from the time I was born: birthday, Christmas, invitations. I had 40 years worth! Tossed most of them, but realised I was doing the same thing for my kids. It is quite liberating to think I don’t NEED to keep this stuff any more!
Much to my Mother-in-laws horror I have never been one to keep too much of this kind of stuff. Because we move around every now and again due to my husband’s job I have continually decluttered over the years. My approach this time around is different, it is more of a case of minimising with the intent never to accumulate again. Below is a list of some of the items I have kept for and of my children.
- Baby cards (birth and Christening) Confirmation and First Holy communion cards and mementos (rosary beads etc.)
- A few special outfits they used to wear ( Unique items I and my mum knitted for them)
- One or two special toys. (a silver rattle and a music carousel)
- My son’s Thomas the Tank Engine & Star Wars toy collections.
- Some examples of their school work.
Which when you write it down like that it sounds like an awful lot. These are just the things I have kept for them. Once they were old enough to choose things they wanted to keep themselves that is when things started to pile up. I have always encouraged them to sell their old toys whenever I have had garage sales over the years and they were happy to make a little pocket money from that. Nevertheless, here is the list of what has accumulated over the years and is cluttering up every spare bit if space in their wardrobes….
- Every band t-shirt/hoody my son has ever owned. (my children love their music)
- Skateboard and Sports Illustrated Magazines
- Travel souvenirs
- KISS dolls
- Every note slipped between friends at school that my daughter ever received (there are a lot)
- A doll or two
- 2 Build-a-bears
- Every Rolling Stone magazine she received by subscription
- Both have piles of CDs
- Mariners Baseball souvenirs ( both children)
- Photos frames with friends and other odd stuff (daughter)
- Both have a sleeping bag (huge) that came from I don’t remember where but came in handy for sleep-overs and school camps.
- A box of Little Golden Books and Dr Seuss books they were particularly fond of.
And I am sure there is other stuff but I have scared myself enough already with this lot. I think I have mentioned before that this is my area of doom when it comes to decluttering.
The beauty of my decluttering strategy is to leave the hard things until last but the day of reckoning is coming and I do plan to minimise these items. My daughter is visiting next week and she is aware that I am planning on going through her stuff while she is here and hopefully she will be prepared to part with some of it.
As much as this list of stuff is large and scary and I really would like to see it minimised I do believe you shouldn’t force you children to part with things they are not prepared to let go. I suppose the best thing is not to over indulge them in the first place. There isn’t anything I regret not having from my childhood but then I didn’t have much in the way of possessions we made our own fun those days building cubby houses, fishing with the family, and other physical stuff. I wouldn’t change that for anything.
Anyway I digress. In a couple of weeks I will let you know how things went with my daughter and I will speak to her and my son about this subject and how they feel about their clutter and if there is anything they wish they still had.
I would like to think that if you set a good example of living with less maybe your children will follow suit and feel the same way but you never can tell.
Thanks Loretta for such a great question. I know I have only given you half an answer but when I have actually dealt with my children’s clutter I will give you some feedback on how that went.
ITEM 166 OF 365 LESS THINGS
Another ebay sale $6.50. I guy from the local post office and I are on a first name basis now.