I spend so much time moving, cleaning and sorting STUFF. I hear most of the moms I know complain about this phenomenon. I know that having a kid means having more stuff just because kids need a different array of stuff than adults--toys, kids' books, kids' clothes, etc. but I have realized that there is an element of sentimental mushiness that is making it hard to get rid of some of Will's stuff.
Well, that had to end. And I decided that it could end by getting Will and myself excited about the idea of giving some of that stuff. Not "cleaning out" or "getting rid of" because that is sad and heart wrenching (at least to me!!) but "giving" means blessing someone else with the joy that the STUFF brought us. Anyone who isn't following me here is either not a mom or is just stronger than I am. We're talking about baby toys, books that we've read together 300 times, and even a pair of Will's little Robeez shoes (still in pretty good condition, as his fat little feet were almost too big for this pair when he received them as a gift).
So, here it goes...
Me: "Will, did you know that there are kids who don't really have many toys? Kids who don't have all the nice clothes that you have?"
Will, playing with a truck, "Vroooommmmm!! Mom, can you move your leg so my truck can go by?"
Me, thinking: "Hmmmm....this isn't really working."
Me: "Will, would it be sad if you were a baby who didn't have any toys? What if you had nothing to play with?"
Will: "That'd be so sad. No Elmo? No dinosaurs?" *gasp* "No firetrucks?"
So, the conversation went on, and we talked about how as we grow up, there are things we outgrow, things we don't need anymore. And it's time to pass them on to other people.
Then we got a box, and put things in it that we both didn't need. I gathered a few of my shirts, a pair of shoes, etc, and I made suggestions for his stuff that Will either agreed to or vetoed. I allowed vetoes. I don't want this to be painful! I want him to think about his plenty and to think about contributing to others as a positive thing, of course.
So, we took the box to the local Family Promise charity. It's a place that gives the items directly to families in need. There's not a resale shop, rather it takes referrals from agencies and social workers.
Will had a lesson in giving, recycling, and realizing that the things he is too old or too big for can be useful to someone else.
And I have a little bit less STUFF to clean, organize and corall this week. We both won!