Thursday, March 31, 2005

Hi there, today because Matilda is still sick I've decided to clean out her closet. And can I just say. Sweet. Holy. Christ. The child keeps every scrap of paper she has ever scribbled on. Every McDonald's toy. Every sticker, gum wrapper, and plastic pencil topper that has ever crossed her path.

It's my fault, I think. No, actually it's my mother's fault. My mom can't throw things away. She assigns sentimentality to everything her kids have ever touched or even thought about touching. My room was always full of crap because I thought it was all valuable and worth keeping because it had memories attached to it. Come to think of it, it's her mother's fault. This is a totally learned behavior.

I'm breaking this cycle. Stuff is not going to run my life.

If Matilda could get off the couch without vomiting right now, she'd be horrified at what she saw in the trash. Yes, I'm kicking her when she's down. I'm horrible. But she'll thank me for it when she's not cleaning out a basement full of her kids' first-grade papers someday. She'll just have to find something else to blame me for. Like the fact that I threw out a plastic cricket in a soda bottle that she's been hoarding in her closet for six years.

5 comments:

skywind8 said...

I would have loved it if my mom had taught me how to assign value to things when I was a kid, and taught me how to decide what gets thrown away, and properly organize the favorite items that get kept. Instead, I learned it from my mother-in-law when I was about 23, and have started teaching my mom. Cluttering is definitely a learned behavior, and decluttering a skill that can be taught. It is such a valuable skill to have, and makes life a lot easier. If you can plan in time to help your daughter learn to declutter and organize, and demonstrate the value by what you do yourself, you will be giving her an incredibly worthwhile skill. You definitely can break that cycle.

skywind8 said...

I would have loved it if my mom had taught me how to assign value to things when I was a kid, and taught me how to decide what gets thrown away, and properly organize the favorite items that get kept. Instead, I learned it from my mother-in-law when I was about 23, and have started teaching my mom. Cluttering is definitely a learned behavior, and decluttering a skill that can be taught. It is such a valuable skill to have, and makes life a lot easier. If you can plan in time to help your daughter learn to declutter and organize, and demonstrate the value by what you do yourself, you will be giving her an incredibly worthwhile skill. You definitely can break that cycle. And it can be spun in a positive way: "Let's pick out your very favorite papers to put in a Save folder where you can find them, and get the rest of them out of your way." Use emotions to your advantage rather than disadvantage. :)

skywind8 said...

Doh. Annoying browser behavior that made me not realize the first comment had already posted. Sorry about that.

Drama Queen said...

My mom doesn't believe much holds sentimental value. She even sold my first dance costume. Unless, of course, you are a dead relative. Then she must keep everything you gave her and must put it on display no matter how awfully tacky it is or the fact that it had little to no sentimental value to that person (or even any value to my mom. It wasn't important in life, but when it's the last thing she has to hold on to, she keeps a death grip). My father, however, keeps everything. His theory is, "You never know when you'll need it."

His parents were not at all the affectionate type. Yet after his father passed away, my dad noticed a small hammer hanging ni his basement. That was the hammer my father had made for him as a child.

I think that spurred his pack-ratting.

Overall, I'm pretty well rounded. I err on the packrat side, but I can now throw away, give away, or sell on ebay those things that don't hold real sentimental value to me.

Although, my dad was right. As soon as you get rid of something, you can guarantee you will need it.

Jessie said...

I can be such a pack rat too...