What to do when decluttering goes wrong? (Small DC related)

(19 Posts)
leeloo1 Sun 11-Nov-12 23:12:01

I was feeling so proud of myself for involving DS (4 years old) in my attempts to declutter, but now I'm having a major attack of guilt!

I had a small declutter of DS' toys in preparation for Xmas. We had a chat about him having lots of toys (seriously he has hundreds and as I childmind we have - and have to keep - more than he'd ever need) and other children having less and on Friday AM he helped take some of his toys to the charity shop (which he loves doing, although usually we take my things).

We didn't take much, a few bits he was relatively happy to donate... and a huge plastic fire engine (seriously it was over a foot long), which didn't do much - its ladder extended and if you pressed a button it made noises (he said 'but I like it' but I pointed out he has another new wooden one, which does much more and he actually plays with, plus about 5 lego ones - he reluctantly put it in the bag and didn't mention it again/when he handed the bags over in the shop). The big one - I don't remember when he last played with it and if I had ditched it when he was out I don't think he'd have remembered he'd ever had it and looked for it.

But last night (Saturday) he woke up at 10.30pm crying loads and asking for the fire engine back and saying how much he missed it. I was caught out and told him the charity shop was closed, but that I could go after dropping him at nursery on Monday and ask if it was still there... he calmed down with cuddles and a rare post-bed-tv treat and all was ok... but I don't know if its a good idea to go and try and get it back or not?

Today he hasn't mentioned the fire engine at all (maybe because he assumes its all settled and I'll get it back?). We went shopping and he got a playmobil set with his birthday money and later a toy catalogue I was looking at, completely by chance, had pictures of some baby toys that he'd had. So I told him little stories about how much he'd enjoyed them when he was a baby, but that we'd had to put them away because otherwise we wouldn't have space for his lovely new 'big boy' toys, like the new playmobil etc. He wasn't convinced and wanted to get all the old toys down from the loft. hmm

Anyway, after all this rambling... do I
a) Rush down tmrw to try and re-buy fire engine if its still there? so as not to tramatise him.
b) Not check if its there but after nursery make up a story about how another little child bought/really loves it?
c) not mention it again and hope he forgets about it too? Then if he mentions it again just reiterate that he doesn't 'need' another fire engine? / say I looked for it but another child bought/loves it? Or go and look for it then (and hope its been sold - stupid ugly huge thing that it was!)

DH not helping matters, as he's a major hoarder, who says I should never have got rid of any of DS' toys in the 1st place and that his parents caused his hoarding by getting rid of all the toys they thought he was too old for and telling him they'd been stolen by burglars! (No pressure there then! But just to clarify DS does still have many/most of his old/baby toys, I was just trying to rationalise duplicates of current toys).

Sorry, stupidly long post, but any advice would be appreciated. smile

Bearandcub Sun 11-Nov-12 23:18:43

Disclaimer - sentimental old cow + PMT.

Give your baby back his toy! My heart strings have been properly tugged.

crunchingautumnleaves Mon 12-Nov-12 08:22:07

You told him you'd try to get it back. I'm the interests of teaching your DS honesty, you should definitely try to get it back. But learn lessons from this about being careful what you say. Also, reinforce that it's only this fire engine, you won't be getting any more things back.

You can go try and get it back but it's bound to have been sold already. At least you can tell him you tried. Moral of the story he was reluctant for it to go in the first place so in future only clear out stuff he's happy to say goodbye to. My son's a hoarder in the making, I've started buying him less.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Mon 12-Nov-12 08:42:45

Definitely go back ASAP. He said 'but I like it sad' it was really thoughtless of you to make him go ahead and donate it. I hope it is still there, with a bit of luck they were too busy to price & get your things out before today.

Your DH is right really - you do risk causing him to go the same was as his Dad.

I can understand you wanting to have 'less toys' especially as you have 'CM toys' too - but that's really not the point, they are not his toys.

If there are some things (especially big things like that) that you want rid of, put them away in the loft for a while, see if he asks for them or not. If he doesn't ask for more than 6 months then take them to a charity shop when he's not around.

Buying less is definitely the best place to start.

steppemum Mon 12-Nov-12 10:10:56

I can see both sides. I would never give away a toy that was much loved, or that they still wanted me to keep despite lots of persuasion that they really didn't need it any more
but I have quietly given away a few things, and I have on occasion pushed them a bit when I know they really don't play with it any more, and in fact haven't looked at it until I suggested we have a clear out.

It is a process learning to let go of stuff, and mine were quite good at it when we lived in a culture where other kids had nothing, they became quite generous and I had to stop myself interfering once or twice as they gave a away a really nice toy. Since they have been back in UK thye are much worse, but I do try and get them to clear out especially at this time of year. If they want to keep everythign, we make a pile of say 3 things and I say choose one to keep, and that is easier. (and they usually choose 2 to keep and that is ok)

I personally wouldn't go and get it back, but explain how another child who doesn't have many toys is going to get it as a present. But you have told him you will try, so I think you do have to try, and then tell him straight away that you tried and it was gone, there will be tears, but it is actually OK to be sad sometimes.

I think if you said you'd try and get it back, then you should do that. He needs to know he can trust what you say.

leeloo1 Mon 12-Nov-12 13:18:13

Weep, these are not the answers I hoped for! Where is the recognition that the big ugly clumsy fire engine (it was a gift) was big and ugly and clumsy and I was definitely right to want rid of it? And that DH was wrong and overreacting?

You're all probably right though and I shouldn't have pushed it when he said he still wanted it. Darn. I am a bad, bad parent!

educatingarti - you're right and I do usually do what I say I will, as definitely he should trust what I say. sad I was caught on the hop and was hoping the combination of that and him being half asleep would let me off this once.

All the toys - CM or not - are really his, or were once. Its just harder to get rid of them because as he 'outgrows' nice toys I can't automatically get rid of them because there are younger babies around to play with them. Oh and there are lots more (duplo, cars etc) than you'd have if you just had one child.

Oh well, I'll take a trip this pm and see if I can buy the dratted thing back. sad

ChippingInLovesAutumn Mon 12-Nov-12 15:13:41

shockshock You didn't go first thing this morning? You really don't want to get it back for him do you sad

Don't get me wrong, big, ugly toys that other people have bought without considering the impact on your house are a right pain in the arse - but it's something you have to suck up, then handle carefully.

I still remember toys I had to give away when we moved overseas, some were a bit big, but given we took all the household furniture & a car etc ... my Mum wishes she hadn't done it as well now, but you can't undo stuff. I still feel resentful though in my heart, even though my head knows it wasn't done out of malice. I do actually think it has had an impact on me, I do find it very hard to get rid of anything with an emotional attachment, even though I'm very much not a hoarder and not fond of clutter/ornaments etc.

Chipping I'm still holding a grudge against my mum over a jumper she got rid of. I'd not outgrown it she just didn't like it, and I LOVED it. sad

Before I realised what a sentimental hoarder my DS was I did regular clear outs (I was a child minder at the time too so appreciate OP's situation). Trouble is the poor sensitive wee soul still crys now about toys I passed on 5 or 6 years ago when he was 2-3 years old! shock

C4ro Mon 12-Nov-12 15:26:54

That's the bummer of life though- your kids never love the chi-chi wooden gorgeous stuff you get them. It's the horrible, broken, plastic tatt (or cardboard box the nice thing came in) everytime.

Did you manage to get it back?

leeloo1 Mon 12-Nov-12 20:16:21

'your kids never love the chi-chi wooden gorgeous stuff you get them. It's the horrible, broken, plastic tatt (or cardboard box the nice thing came in) everytime.' - Isn't that the truth! grin

Sadly I had work today Chipping, so no couldn't go first thing. And I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do or not.

But - good news... after I collected DS from nursery I was trying to sound him out to see if he still wanted the fire engine (we could stay on the bus for an extra stop to go to the charity shop together if he said he wanted to go and check/ask for it back)- so asked if he thought anyone would have bought the things we took to the charity shop yet.

He looked thoughtful, so I said 'hmmm the little clock that you played with, then the hands fell off... I hope someone who didn't have many toys has taken it home and really loves it.' He said he thought someone might love it and I said I couldn't remember what else we'd taken and he said 'the long tangled thing' (my bead curtain - I did untangle it before we took it smile) and I said 'oh yes, I did really like that, it was so pretty, but I just didn't have space for it anymore. I hope someone else will really enjoy having it. And I think that was everything we took...' He said 'no there was the noisy thing with the ladder that went up and down... the fire engine.' I asked if he thought anyone would take that home to love it and he said 'no I don't think so because it didn't really do anything. It wasn't very good.' And we then talked about how someone with no toys might like that it had wheels and could at least push it backwards and forwards.

He then said that 'even maybe someone who doesn't have any toys would like the green rubbish truck (equally huge plastic companion piece to fire engine - and one of 4 he owns! We've really cornered the market in fire engines and rubbish trucks here.) because that doesn't do very much either.' Woohoo! (Although after this experience I think I'll leave it until I'm/he's definitely sure its not wanted anymore.)

We then talked about how it was lovely to give toys away that he doesn't like but that we definitely mustn't give away things he really likes and he thought of a few things that came under that category (wooden trains, lego etc). He then thought of some of my things he thought should go to the charity shop too. shock hmm grin

So, I think its crisis averted for now as he doesn't seem traumatised at all (I wonder if he'd has a bad dream t'other night?). But thanks everyone for the input, its been a real eye-opener and I see I got a bit carried away - then shouldn't have answered as I did. I do want DS to be able to part with toys, but I need to take it at a slower pace and ensure he's happy to let things go.

Thanks again everyone. smile

housesalehelp Mon 12-Nov-12 21:38:48

Just to say my technique which may or may not work is to remove things without dicussion to loft/box in garage - sometimes I rotate things - which my CM in small house did succesfully or if it not missed in a few week it goes away

ChippingInLovesAutumn Mon 12-Nov-12 21:52:15

Phew - what a result!! Win/Win grin

I'd be getting the Green Rubbish Truck there ASAP if he's offering grin

He sounds lovely - take him up on his offers if you think he's able to make those decisions, teach him that other people will love things that he doesn't love and hopefully you can avoid creating another 'me' smile

(Sorry, I didn't assume you weren't working, it was just when you said one option was to 'rush down tomorrow' I assumed you could do it in the morning smile)

leeloo1 Tue 13-Nov-12 10:47:44

'I'd be getting the Green Rubbish Truck there ASAP if he's offering' Totally grin that was my 1st reaction, but I didn't want it to backfire again?! I'll sound him out again tmrw and if he is still happy for it to go then hurray, I'll be glad to lose one more toy.

No worries re misunderstanding about work. Its a bit confused as I had a new little one settling in, so if it'd gone differently I could have walked her down to try and get it back.

And thanks, he is usually lovely - so kind with the little CM'd children, he sometimes helps me with them (fetching vests and wipes) and offers advice ('Mummy, I think baby X is getting tired, do you need to put her in the cot for her nap?' - type thing) and often offers to lend them toys. Too cute. grin

housesalehelp - Thanks, in the past I've always done that - just moved/taken things without him knowing, which has been fine and he's never noticed - although I've never taken anything I thought he'd miss. The thing is, now he's 4 I want to involve him in giving things away too... but although he is a 'mature' 4 (which sounds such a contradition in terms!) I think it was more of a learning curve than I realised for him. Touch wood he'll get into the idea now though - he really loves handing in the bags to the charity shop ladies as they're really sweet with him and say thank you. So that may help to win him over. smile

awww - your ds sounds a lovely thoughtful little boy!

SoupDragon Tue 13-Nov-12 12:35:31

I would have gone for (c) don't mention it and, should the subject come up say "oh yes, I went back and unfortunately some other little boy had already bought it."

But you seem to have had a good result grin

crunchingautumnleaves Tue 13-Nov-12 16:18:01

That was a really good approach you took with him & he does sound very sweet & grown up smile

leeloo1 Tue 13-Nov-12 20:53:22

Thanks. grin Fingers crossed he stays as sweet - this parenting malarkey is hard work sometimes!

thanks to all for the advice and suport.

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