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I have a 4-year-old dd who has always been very sensitive (we could never sing lullabies or play sad or slow songs on the radio/stereo - they would send her into episodes of hysterical weeping -- when she became old enough to verbalize her melancholy, she explained to dh and I that these types of songs were "too hard" for her). Fortunately, as she has gotten older, she has "toughened up" a little. However, she still forms these insane nostalgic attachments to nearly everything. Her last two toothbrushes remain in a basket on her sink -- we are not allowed to throw them away and I can't even sneak it -- our mini-Inspector Clouseau checks to make sure they're still there every morning and/or evening. Her last few pairs of shoes and ballet slippers remain in her closet. The boxes that some of her birthday gifts came in are, apparently, now close personal friends of hers and a bunch of completely deflated Over the Hill, Old Fart and Happy 70th Birthday! balloons from my father-in-law's birthday soiree (IN APRIL) are now members of my family. The clutter keeps piling up and her reactions to throwing these useless things away are louder and stronger and much more insistent. I've tried explaining that we need room, that some things will be recycled and that it is impossible to keep everything that comes into our lives -- all to no avail. My dh recently threw a completely clobbered, ripped-up, funky pair of sneakers in the trash and she nearly was in tears when she found them. She just can't understand why Daddy isn't sad about having to let them go. How do I get these useless, spent items out of my house without needing to visit a therapist?
:
 

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My 4yo dd is similarly attached to everything. If I even pick up a scrap of paper to recycle, she gets upset. And toys, forget about it. We have every newborn toy still in the house. Mostly I clear things out when she is sleeping. I frequently bag up toys and send them "on vacation" to the attic or basement. And every so often I have a freakout and throw everything on the floor into the trash
: DH is the same way and saves everything and I have my own piles of things I must save. But the clutter drives me crazy. We are trying to reach a happy medium, where none of us is too upset. It is hard - hang in there!
 

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Ds1 is a little bit like that, but nowhere to that extent. I finally just said, this stuff has to go and tossed it. He was upset for awhile, but after a little bit of a cry, he was fine. And now he doesn't hang onto things quite so much. He even went through his toys and put a bunch in a bag to give away recently. I hated making him feel bad, but when we barely have space for the things we actually need to keep, I *had* to toss stuff like old toothbrushes and broken toys.
 

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I'm like that, although I must admit I'm not to the extreme with the toothbrushes & all. The deflated balloons (I have some souvenirs like that) gave me an idea. I was going to write that in that case, being deflated, they take up hardly any space, so how about putting the 2-dimensional principle to work, and offer to substitute photos of the bulkier items for the items themselves?

When I got too attached to something, my parents had a great comeback: "That wasn't your first." They could in some cases document that, which somewhat diminishes the souvenir aspect. After all, if I couldn't even remember my first, and it hadn't bothered me, why should I be attached to some subsequent one?

Do you still have her first toothbrush? Or a picture of your brushing her teeth with it? If so, maybe you could show it to her and thus diminish the importance of the subsequent ones.

Robert
 

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I have an almost 5 year old ds who is similarily sensitive and very attached to things. Probably not quite to the extreme as your dd but we do have old toothbrushes in the bathroom drawer and I'm not looking forward to talking to ds about getting rid of them
. But he is getting better and we go slowly. The other day he found some more rocks for his rock collection and I told him that he could only bring them in the house if he found room in his collection box. That meant he would have to throw some rocks away. Well, he sat down and emptied out about 1/4 of the box, told me they were boring and threw them away
. Seriously, that was a huge step.

Mostly we just keep talking to ds about it. He is making slow progress. If I need to speed things up I hide things for a few months (out of sight, out of mind works sometimes) before getting rid of them.
 

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I had to giggle about the toothbrush thing! When I was... maybe eight or so... I played the piano, and someone gave me a toothbrush with a hollow handle filled with liquid, gold glitter and little music notes. I loved it, and when I was going through my 'keepsake drawer' before my wedding to weed things out I found my toothbrush handle!
So I did get rid of it... it only took me thirteen years!

I only really realised the downside of being a sentimental clutterbug when I moved into my own place; then I became ruthless and happily chucked out priceless childhood memories! So I'm sorry... no help here. I was furious a few years ago, when I discovered a few favourite dresses of toddlerhood about to be Salvation Armyed by my mother. I rescued 'em; some things are just too precious to be thrown away.
 

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We have started taking pictures too, that seems to help dd transition to letting something go. The deflated balloons are the worst. I hate those things and she knows I will toss them eventually. I try to prepare her by reminding her when we get a new balloon (usually every week or two) that they are temporary and will go away after a while.

I have also been trying to appeal to her by saying we should give some toys to kids who don't have any toys but that hasn't worked very well yet. A better reason for her is recycling to reduce garbage and global warming. She is into saving the environment already.
 

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I agree with the picture idea too -- maybe even get a special keepsake photo album. DS just found a bin of stuffed toys (which he hadn't noticed had been relocated
) and some art work I had taken down and he got re-attached all over. I talked about making room for new things in his life, taking pictures, and recycling. We'll see ....

When there is something new that he wants from the store and it's not monthly choice time (each month we let him choose 1 small new thing -- eliminates all whining during shopping trips because we tell him to "put it on his list for next month"), I ask him if there's something he could pass on. He has gone through his closest, picked out old puzzles/toys, taken them to the consignment store, and gotten the cash to get something else. The bonus, of course, is that it takes lots of used items to make enough cash for a new one. Ten out, one in, ten out, one in...
 

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My seven year old son is like this. To the point where he won't spend MONEY because some of the coins are too beautiful and shiny, and some of the dollars were given for special occasions that he's afraid he'll forget once the money is gone. He tends to put post-its on his special dollars: From Grammy when I lost my tooth, etc. and he stashes them. Very, very sentimental. Could share more stories, and I have on other threads...
 

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MY 4 y/o DS is like this. Our toaster over died a few weeks ago. I got a new one. Afterall, the old toaster over was 10 years old and had a happy long life. Well, I went to put the oven in the trash and DS completely lost it. Tears streaming down his face, saying "But I won't remember what it looks like" and offering lots of ideas about where/how we could keep the deceased.

I ended up taking a photo of him with the toaster oven in the driveway next to the trashcan.

I do find that it is often easier to get rid of things when he isn't home. He generally doesn't notice their absence, or is ok with it. However, if he is around for the disposal he tends to get very upset.

I have told him that we don't throw people or relationships away, but getting rid of a broken toaster is ok. I tried to tell him that the garbage man would take the toaster to a nice farm where it could play in the fields with other retired toasters but he wasn't buying it.
 

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I don't have much experience with our oldest DS, but I can tell you from personal experience I learned a mantra of sorts that you may be able to relate somehow, hopefully: "Stuff doesn't equal the memory of stuff. If it is that important, you will always remember it. Your family will be with you and the memories of all your life will be with you, but you don't need to keep every piece of lint that's attached along the way."
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by annekevdbroek View Post
Tears streaming down his face, saying "But I won't remember what it looks like" and offering lots of ideas about where/how we could keep the deceased.
Yes, this is so familiar to me! My son, at 7, still cries and says things like this if I need to throw away something.
 

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My daughter went through this when she was around four. Every scrap of paper was precious to her and she would protest whenever we tried to throw Scrappy (yep, she named them all Scrappy) in the recycling box. Most of the time we calmly insisted that, yes, things did need to be thrown out / recycled / donated / used up and talked to her about memories vs. things. There was one time, however, when I did it her way:

We had these two bars of soap from the Body Shop, one pink and one blue, languishing under the bathroom sink. I came across them one day and stuck them in the shower stall and proceeded to use them until they were thin little slivers.

As it turned out, I had murdered Pinky and Bluey, my daughters close, soapy friends. When she couldn't find them in their home under the sink, she wept and wailed and declared that the only thing she wanted for Christmas (which was in two days at this point) was for Pinky and Bluey to come back to her. She was so sad and so serious that I went to the mall on Christmas eve in search of replacements. I found the pink one easily enough at the Body Shop but the blue one had been discontinued. I swear I looked at every bar of blue soap in that mall before finally settling on one that looked vaguely similar to Bluey. The poor sales clerk must have thought I was nuts


My daughter was thrilled when Pinky and Bluey showed up in her stocking. She's nine now and they still live in her dresser.
 

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two thoughts for you:

can you with her agreement box up some items and DON'T GIVE THEM AWAY or worse THROW THEM AWAY, but store them somewhere in your house. make sure you make this clear to her that these are old things that she doesn't really play with anymore, don't fit her anymore. explain that you can box them up to make sure she doesn't need them anymore and then if after 6 months she hasn't needed anything then you can donate them. you have to spell that all out to her, though and get her on board with the idea. we still have a few boxes like that around, but one of these days i really will get them to the thrift store.

the other thought is can you enlist some aid from some books or even TV shows? i know there's an Angelina Ballerina (Angelina and the Rag Doll) that deals with her giving away an old doll, trying to find it again, and then really giving it away. your local children's librarian might be able to help you find a few more along those lines.

hth
 

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Toothbrushes! Yes. My 8yo still has a hard time tossing old toothbrushes. Thankfully she is finally at a point where she will let me toss them, but it is difficult. She has been like this since day one. Very sentimental. There are only a few movies that she is able to watch that don't make her too sad. Forever, I had to edit the books I read, songs I sang.

I think this sensitivity is a good thing. Dd is very aware of her own and others' feelings. She is a kind girl and will grow to be caring woman. Our lives are just filled with an overwhemling amount of crap and media designed for children can be way too violent and sad. Most kids just deal or it all goes over their head. Sensitive kids have to have their own way of coping in this bombarding culture.
 

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Fingernail clippings! Yes, dd is now wanting to save them so she can "remember how small they were when she was 4". She stashed one and I tossed the rest. She must have inherited this trait: DH's mom saved his umbilical stub for 30 years. She gave it to me for safekeeping but I have no clue where it went. Oops.
 

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My DD isn't like this, but *I* was as a child. I can still remember pleading with my mother not to throw out my outgrown, raggedy t-shirts. I think she put up with me and stored them for years till I could get over it.
 

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My son is like that too. Our fridge broke the other week so we had to get a new one. That was really hard on him, he seriously had meltdown. Then the dishwasher broke and we replaced that. Two appliances in one week almost killed to poor kid.
: (Killed me too, they are $$$!)
Thankfully he caught on the new appliances mean new boxes and I was able to distract him by taking him outside and letting him 'body paint' the boxes.

He really has a hard time with clothes that don't fit him anymore, toys, and well just about everything.

Nice to know he's not the only one who does this. I wasn't sure if it was actually a problem or something that other kids do.
 

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This cracked me up!

My DS is a lot like this. He wants to hang onto everything. He is becoming a packrat like his dad! He is saving his last old binky as a "decoration". Every freaking scrap of paper he ever doodled on has to be saved. Of course, I do recycle and clean out some stuff, and he never even notices. But he would love to archive EVERYTHING!

Quote:

Originally Posted by annekevdbroek View Post
MY 4 y/o DS is like this. Our toaster over died a few weeks ago. I got a new one. Afterall, the old toaster over was 10 years old and had a happy long life. Well, I went to put the oven in the trash and DS completely lost it. Tears streaming down his face, saying "But I won't remember what it looks like" and offering lots of ideas about where/how we could keep the deceased.

I ended up taking a photo of him with the toaster oven in the driveway next to the trashcan.

I do find that it is often easier to get rid of things when he isn't home. He generally doesn't notice their absence, or is ok with it. However, if he is around for the disposal he tends to get very upset.

I have told him that we don't throw people or relationships away, but getting rid of a broken toaster is ok. I tried to tell him that the garbage man would take the toaster to a nice farm where it could play in the fields with other retired toasters but he wasn't buying it.
 
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