But mom, it’s so special!
So, just want to update you on how my sales for Kidsport charity have gone. I have sold a few things ($30 so far) but I have lots left and way more yet to put up so keep checking my list for new items at http://kidsportcharity.usedvictoria.com/
On to other things. Yesterday a good friend of mine gave me a bag of hand-me-downs from her daughter to mine. We love hand-me-downs in our house. My kids don’t care whether the ‘new’ dress comes with a tag on it or if it was worn by someone else first – it’s new to them. So while bag of used clothes causes great excitement in our house, my friend who gave me the clothes has to sneak them out of hers for fear of her little one seeing what’s being given away. It got me thinking about how and why children hold on to their things with such fervor. Why does the broken spider ring found under the tire of my neighbour’s car while trick or treating in 2007 mean so much when I say it’s time to throw it out? I got my kids involved in selling their own things last week, with some success. But at one point when I suggested to my 7 year-old that she sell her Groovy Girls that she doesn’t play with anymore she responded “but my friend Ellie would be really upset if they weren’t here when she comes to play”. True. Ellie does like them and I had no response for that one. I need to prepare better for these conversations in the future.
So for all of you who need to get rid of some of the things your kids collect over the years, I’ve come up with a few strategies that work most of the time.
- Purge their things when the kids aren’t around. This worked well when the girls were young and unable to keep their own things organized and I never got rid of anything of value – sentimental or otherwise. If you feel a little guilty about this approach, don’t get rid of the toys immediately. Put everything in a box and store it away for a while. If you’re child does not ask after any of the toys for a period of time (like 1 mth, 6 mths or whatever you’re comfortable with) then you can be pretty certain that you didn’t take anything noteworthy and you can feel safe about donating or selling it.
- Or involve them in the process and sell the items either on-line or have a garage sale. My kids were THRILLED with the idea of making money at a garage sale. We jumped in on a neighbour’s sale this summer and the kids sold lots of stuff. I’m sure that a few people ended up buying crap they didn’t need just because 2 cute kids convinced them they needed it. You can even add incentive that money earned from selling old stuff can go towards something special – just make sure that you don’t end up with more than you got rid of!
- If you have tried everything and find yourself mired in the “but it’s so special” debate, remind your kids that some children don’t have everything they want and that donating toys and clothes to charity shops is a good thing…it’s a good thing for adults too. Lots of people insist on keeping things for sentimental reasons. But just because that boombox that’s as big as a gas powered generator was a gift from that dreamy lifeguard you were madly in love with in the third semester of third year, that’s not a good enough reason to keep it stashed in the garage for 15 years. Someone with a vintage collection of cassette tapes could actually use it. It’s more valuable being used than simply being kept.
It is sad when kids move on and stop playing with the teddy bears and playmobile sets. It’s especially hard to pass on things that were presents, but kids grow up and change and find new interests. I do have to admit that I have a couple boxes stored away that are filled with the girls’ special things – a few outfits worn when they were infants, souvenirs from abroad, gifts from grandparents and now deceased great grandparents. I figure I’m allowed to keep a few things, but I had to get rid of that boombox to make room.