On Tuesday I gave you some ideas about what to do with the sentimental stuff you have kept from your children’s childhood. Today I wanted to give you a list of “don’ts” regarding this subject.
1. Don’t save your children’s stuff because you think they will want it someday. They won’t. Sure, they may want to keep their favorite stuffed animal or blankie, but those beat-up toys and old clothes just don’t mean that much to them. Their childhood memories are of experiences and relationships, not objects.Your children will be horrified if on the day of their graduation, wedding or birth of their first child you dump box after box of old, dusty stuff on them.
2. Don’t save too much stuff because you think you will give it to your grandchildren someday. Old toys are never as much fun as new toys to kids, so it won’t be quite the delight for them that you are expecting it to be. Plus, with all of the toy recalls that pop up year after year, you don’t want to inadvertently give your grandkids a harmful toy.
3. Don’t save too much of your kids’ stuff because you worship the past more than the future. Organizing guru Peter Walsh in his book “It’s All Too Much” talks about how saving too much stuff from your children’s childhoods can be a sign that you are desperately trying to hang onto the past. He writes that sometimes parents believe the best years of parenting are over, so hanging onto their kids’ stuff allows them to hang onto those years. He suggests living in the present by recognizing the great kid your child has become and remembering all the exciting milestones you still have to look forward to as your child grows up.
4. Don’t store stuff in unmarked cardboard boxes back in the garage or up in the attic. Do yourself a favor and buy plastic tubs that mice can’t nibble through and LABEL those suckers. (The tubs, not the mice.)
We all want to save some items that remind us of when our children were cuddly babies and adorable toddlers. The trick is to keep the pile confined to a box or two and realize that the best way to remember your children is to enjoy them at every stage.
Image of Nathan’s beloved Bear, taken by Nathan himself. Bear has definitely earned his spot in the Save Box.