being a mom

My Daughter Is A Grade School Hoarder And I Love Her For It

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shutterstock_65152786I love throwing things away. For the most part, I do not get attached to material things very easily and have no problem at all parting with my “stuff”. I hate clutter and the less I have, the less I have to clean so I rarely hesitate to donate items or toss them out if they’ve exhausted their usefulness. It used to drive my mother crazy when I lived at home because she is one to use up everything and hates to waste but I am the exact opposite- if I don’t think I will ever need it again, it goes in the trash or the Goodwill pile.

I guess my daughter is my comeuppance for my cavalier ways of throwing out my belongings because from early toddler-hood, the signs were there- she was a budding, baby hoarder. It was not uncommon to find piles of pacifiers stashed in the corner of her crib. She loved to hang on to handfuls of Cheerios she may not even eat- she just wanted to have them. Once she was old enough that I was not terrified of her suffocating in her sleep, I allowed her to have stuffed animals in her crib. There were always at least a dozen and she would notice if you moved any of them. It was very cute but also, annoying at times.

Now at age six, I regularly have to peruse the belongings of my sweet grade school hoarder and weed things out so that her room doesn’t burst at the seams. She saves every bookmark, piece of costume jewelry, cupcake topper, shred of boondoggle lanyard, crappy party favor, birthday card, Happy Meal toy and catalog she can get her hands on. She does not enjoy our yearly ritual of purging toys but in the end, she agrees to part with a few things so she can make room for more. I don’t get mad at her for wanting to keep everything and we rarely fight about it because I’ve come to realize that her tendencies really do come from a good place.

When I question her about why she is keeping a certain item, she almost always has a reason that she has given thought to. She is sentimental and loves to talk about memories and when she was a baby- she has framed photos in her room of our family and herself as a baby and even at only six, she seems to truly value them. She has kept several of her baby blankets and loves to use them on her own dolls and has even told me about various items she plans to keep and give to her own children one day. I absolutely love that she thinks this way already and I wish I had done the same as a kid instead of letting my mom donate my entire The Babysitters Club book collection (ugh, that one still hurts to think about)!

My daughter is loving, kind and loyal. When she decides she likes a doll or stuffed animal, that inanimate object is about to live a life of luxury. She takes good care of her things and loves them- she dotes on her belongings in such a sweet way and I know her wanting to keep so many “useless” things is just an extension of what a genuinely good-hearted kid she really is. If I ever think that her wanting to hang on to every little tchotchke she comes across is an issue I will figure it out with her and find a solution but in the meantime, I’ve grown to admire my little collector and her reasons behind wanting to keep all of her life’s souvenirs.

(Image: monticello/Shutterstock)