Thursday, April 5, 2012

Parenting Question of the Day: How Do You Get Rid of Your Kid's Toys?

This weekend is Big Trash Day in our neighborhood. Every-other year our city pays the local trash company to come around and collect, well, big trash. Refrigerators, furniture, carpet.

But I'm thinking this is a great opportunity to clean Katie's room. She has no kitchen appliances in her room, no rolls of carpet, but she does have TONS of toys she's outgrown.

It makes me stop and sigh, pondering the fact that she's an only child with no siblings to inherit her things.

Her twin cousins are a year younger than she is, so they get her old clothes and toys that aren't infested with dog hair and sand. But many of the things in her room are so worn out I wouldn't even donate them to charity. It's time to throw them out.

This isn't the first time in five years I've cleaned Katie's room, although my husband might argue it's close. I generally go through her things about twice a year, when the seasons change and it's time to switch to summer or winter clothes. But I've only once previously gone through her room and discarded unused toys. That was two or three years ago. Just thinking about all the tiny objects I'm going to have to pick up, assess, and put into a pile makes me want to go take a nap.

It's not big trash but a bunch of little trash, so it's still a big job.

I remember coming home from school when I was in second or third grade and my mom had cleaned my room. Instead of feeling grateful or guilty for not having kept it clean myself, I felt violated. Someone went through my stuff. Moved my stuff around. Gotten rid of stuff? Hey, where's my...

So do I do the same to Katie? Certainly I lived through a forced divorce from many of my childhood toys and I'm a fairly well adjusted person. Will Katie be ok if I pitch her crap and don't tell her, letting her figure it out on her own? Or should I fess up and say, "Hey hon, I'm throwing out these toys because you haven't played with them for two years. If you have a reasonable argument for why we should keep them, let's talk about it, otherwise, the trash haulers will carry them off on Big Trash Day."

How do you get rid of your kid's old, un-donateable toys?