On Minimizing When You Have Kids

Upon realizing my kids have too many toys, my usual course of action is to go through them while the kids are at their grandmother’s house. The older kid (8 years) has never noticed anything. The younger (4 years) still laments certain things from two or more years ago that I didn’t think he was capable of remembering.

So for this month’s minimizing game, I decided to include them. Like all kids who watch YouTube, they are into anything called a “challenge.” And I have to admit, I did bribe them. I told them that for every 25 items they chose to let go of, I would buy them one new item (at the $5 store). They are all in!

Now, I will relate a tale from my own youth (early 20s, anyway) on why you should always let people minimize their own items. When my parents retired, they almost immediately got bored and sad that they weren’t making anymore money. They needed a money-making hobby, and chose eBay as the means to the end. They would go to garage sales and auctions to find stuff to sell, but occasionally they would want to sell something from their very own house, even from their very own daughter.

I was sort of fascinated with my parents ingenuity, and followed their eBay career, looking at new items and bids at least once a day. Then, this Voltron popped up:

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Samir is hiding behind Voltron, Defender of the Universe!

I was furious! That was mine! I called immediately and yelled at my poor mother, who only knew I had moved and didn’t take it with me. She had no idea the amount of emotional attachment I have to Voltron! I still remember being 12 and saving up every week what money I made mucking stalls at the horse stable to buy it, lion by lion.

Obviously, as the Voltron is still living with me today, I managed to retrieve it, and this story has a happy ending. But lesson learned. As much as you want to toss everything, it’s always better to let people decide on their own belongings!