I think I have a pack-rat in the making.
Nicholas is so attached to his "stuff" that it's difficult for me to remove items of his from my house. He has seven drawers in his dresser and only two have clothes in them. Every other drawer is filled with trinkets, papers, baseball cards, broken pencils, stickers, etc. You name it, it's in there. Last year he used to forage through the recycle bin looking for things I threw out. Of course, he would see a Math paper or piece of homework of his and have a fit. "Mom, I worked so hard on that!" he would scream. I have to discreetly move papers to the recycle bin and bury them so deep that his peering eyes cannot see them.
How much stuff am I supposed to keep?
I started an Elementary School file for each of the boys so I can keep some of the precious artwork (self-portraits!), written stories or other priceless things (mother's day cards!) they bring home from school. I do set aside several things to put in their file. The rest has to go. We only have so much room.
I have gotten better about purging as I get older. Because it's up to me to make sure our house is in order I'm the one who goes through like a tornado every once in awhile whisking things into trash bags, Salvation Army bags or To-Sell bags. I can't stand the clutter anymore. It's too much.
I wish I could keep every piece of clothing the boys ever wore. But I can't so I set aside a few pieces of clothes from each of their first five years and plan to make a quilt. Other clothes, toys, high-chairs, pack-'n-plays and miscellaneous items I've sold at Mom2Mom sales. It's tough to get rid of the Leap Frog toys that remind me my boys are no longer babies or even toddlers. I get a little teary-eyed when someone walks off with the aquarium the boys used in their cribs. But, the boys are getting older and some other little boy can get some good use of it. I don't want to end up like the Hoarders.
I've obviously learned over the years that it's all just stuff. It's not easy, but I keep what's necessary and part with the rest. I believe the boys will get much more out of the letters I write to them at the end of every month and the scrapbook albums showing our family vacations than they will ever get remembering the helicopter toy or school bus phonics set.
I will let Nicholas keep his drawers-full of stuff because as long as it's out of sight, I'm not really bothered. If it was up to me I would clean out the drawers completely, but I don't want to emotionally scar him for life so I will have to give a bit on this one. Maybe he will eventually learn how to purge and make room for the new things he will find interesting and worthwhile.
Nicholas was sobbing the other night because I told him I planned to sell the glider chair in his room to make way for a new, smaller-scale chair. This was just a cheap-o glider chair I bought when Nicholas moved out of the nursery. I don't think he's actually sat in that chair for four years, but he's convinced his life will not be the same without it. Nothing I said reassured him that he would, in fact, be OK.
Christopher chimed into the conversation and said matter-of-factly, "you know Nicholas, sometimes life is difficult."
Well said, little brother.