33 answers

I Need Advice! My Daughter Will Not Throw Anything Away!

My daughter is 8 and won't throw anything away. She is a great kid, but gets emotionally attached to everything. And when I say attached, I mean really attached. She made a little head out of the wax around cheese, and then gave it a name. Since it has a name it also has feelings, and my daughter has feelings for it, and can't be thrown away. Her room is so cluttered with stuff, it is ridiculous. She has a dead bug in a little box. The box is the dead bugs home, but the bug is DEAD!!!! She collects Alluminum foil, tearing it up in little pieces and calling them tinnies. She can't part with anything, and it is just overwhelming to walk in her room.

I don't know what else to say to her to get her to stop herself from collecting more "Garbage." I want her to realize what is important and what is not, but to her everything is important. I keep her beautiful art and all of her school stuff, but there is a limit on how much our house can hold. Everything is a treasure to her and I don't know how else to encourage her to "throw away junk."

I don't want to mean, but I have gone the nice route, and now I have had it!!
I have told her that she has to clean out, so that she has room for the new Holiday/birthday things coming our way soon.

What do I do? Help!!!

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank You so much for all of your responses. We have not made any decisions yet, but it is so helpful to know that there are other people going through the same things. Many of your stories made me laugh, and that is helpful in itself! I am truly blessed to have such a great, creative kid. I just want her to be happy and healthy. I do appreciate all of your help! I will talk to the Pediatrician and get her input. Thanks Again!!!

Featured Answers

D.,

Since she is so carrying about everything how about trying to get her to share some of her wealth with needier kids try to explain that there are children that don't have as much and she would be helping them...you can than have her make boxes of stuff to give away...than you can take some of the stuff that can really be given a way to a charity or salvation army and the other stuff you can secretly throw out..once she learns to part with stuff it might be easier to explain that some stuff is okay to keep and other stuff really just needs to be tossed..

A lil about me: mother of 5 (18-26) grandma to 3 (1.5-4)very nice husband

Good Luck

I have no advice --just wanted to say how much I liked reading the posts here. These quirky behaviors are what makes childhood so sweet..the dead bugs are a little creepy but sweet none the less. Enjoy the phase!

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Maybe she has OCD or maybe she is a little more human than the rest of us. I couldn't disagree more with the mom who said you should trade the dead bug with a toy. I think you are blessed to have a girl who will touch bugs and put a value on life and relationships. Yes, she still is valuing "things" but things she finds or creates. She has an artists soul and I think this should be fostered. Whoever said you should take pictures, have a funeral for the bug and save certain things was right on! My only question would be if she has enough friends? Maybe she spends a little too much time in her own imagination but I still think it's better than having to get the next video game or barbie doll. Plus, if I remember correctly, I spent all my time in a closet when I was 8 pretending it was my home and all my stuffed animals went with me because I didn't want to hurt their feelings. I think this is what 8 year old girls are supposed to do.

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I was that child as a kid, not so much the dead bugs or erasers but every stuffed animal had a name and I had to keep it or shells from every vacation, school notes, post cards, snow globes, books, etc... you name it I had it. It got to the point my room and our playroom was full to the brim. My sister and I had trouble cleaning it up. One weekend my mom and dad said that we had to clean it or they would throw anything that was not put away in the garbage. Monday my dad got home from work and literally went to our basement play are and our rooms with garbage bags, whatever was on the floor he picked up and put in the bags. Needless to say my 9 year old sister and I (7) were screaming and crying no no no. We would pick it up, we ran around trying to pick up what we could before he could get to it. The rest went into the attic. We did not know it at the time but my mom went through it and saved the things she knew were valuble or sentamental to us and the rest went to charity. From then on once a month when the AMVETS or some other charity called we planned the monthy clean out and had to purge things. Now I am 30 and think uh that was kindof drastic and emotional but it worked.
I watch some of those cleaning and organizing shows and know they say if you have bins that are reasonable in size she can only fill those with her items and then has to purge to make room for what new things she wants to put inside. It is so hard to have to know you are hurting their feelings knowing they are so attached, but there has to be limits or you will suffocate in stuff. It is a hard skill to learn.

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I have a 9 year old and we discovered something this month. I need to separate myself from his room while we are cleaning it. I used to go in there and try to help him clean. He would get frantic because I was moving, touching, sorting... his treasures. I would get frustrated because everything I tried to him clean sent him over the edge.
So this time I sent to him his room and we started one shelf at a time. He brought everything off the shelf that didn't belong on it to the kitchen table.
When we got it on the table (out of his room), he was able to disconnect and look at it differently. It made it easier for him to decide in each individual group what was important and what could be tossed or given away. In fact, he was able to do it himself. I basically came to the table when he brought in a new group of stuff as moral support. No more arguing about cleaning!
After he sorted it, he took it to his room and put it where it belonged. We did this in half hour shifts over a couple of days and his room looks great. He feels great because he did it. He didn't feel like he was being forced anymore.
J.

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Oh my gosh, it almost sounds like my daughter. She removes the metal piece that holds the eraser on a pencil and makes little animals by covering in paper.She is very creative but we can only keep so much. She also makes stuff out of the cardboard-type things (the same material that is used for cup holders at fast food places) or styrafoam that comes in boxes of things to protect it in shipping-like vacuum cleaners or the tv. I asked the doc and she said that since she is being creative, she is fine but to watch it since she could become compulsive. Ask your doc just in case. I wish I could offer help. I clean things out when she is at school and if she asks, I have told her the stuff went to visit another child.

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My 10-year-old daughter has been a "collector" since she was little. I am enjoying reading all the responses because they all sound so much like her (dead bug collection, making things out of garbage, worried that I might someday sell my car and get a new one because she "loves" the one we have.) LOL I don't even think this comes close to OCD. I just think some kids are more sensitive and interested in the world around them than others. My older daughter was not like this at all. I have tossed some things while she is at school and she doesn't miss them -- so that is one good tip. We are going to bag up some stuffed animals next week and put them in the basement and see if she misses them. (She will help.) I think she'll forget about them. When I was little I had a good friend who was just like this. Her room was a total disaster -- filled with lots of "stuff." She was very arty and could make something out of nothing. I loved going to her house because her room was like a treasure trove! Today she is a costume designer on Broadway and her home is a lot like her room was. But she is happy, has a beautiful son and that's just the way she is wired, I think. She would be uncomfortable living in a spic-n-span room. I think the same is true for my daughter and others who have kids like this.

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Wish I could help you but My son is 18 years old and still has many of his things stored away. He did not like to get rid of anything either. When we moved to our new house we thought he would get rid of some things but no he wanted to keep everything. Six years later he is now getting ready for college he is putting all his things into rubber made containers and putting them in our loft. His view is I will have children one day and they will have these great toys that were once mine.

Go Figure... I still feel that I should not force him to get rid of anything he truly wants to keep, as long as we have the room.

S.

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I can understand that you must be so frustrated but as an outsider, your story really is so cute. Someday you will be LOL as you hear another mother talking about their child with bugs in a box...I kept finger nails in a box...LOL how gross is that.

I read many suggest OCD and I read the link to Mayo. The big thing I hear you saying though is that she has emotions, feelings and uses great imagination with her things. That seems very different to me. So many children these days are not allow to feel their feelings or their spirits are squashed by what we think is right or what order we need in our lives. I can't imagine how devastating it would be to just have her precious things thrown away and called garbage. For what ever reason they are special to her. So many of us lack imagination and I am sure sometimes it takes great patience to nurture this quality.

Maybe sitting down with her and discussing a win win agreement. Tell her how you feel and ask her to come up with some ideas how to maybe bring some order to her collections. She will feel empowered by coming up with the suggestions, it has to be acceptable to both parties of course.

My opinion is she is a kid with a great imagination. She is in touch with her feelings and cares about others feelings. She can find beauty in the small things and has a gift of creativity. Gosh, don't I wish I were more like that :-)

Win Win is the key...I think the two of you can come up with some great ideas....Good Luck!!

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My 8 yr old was doing all of this as well. At one point, she was "collecting" street salt in her chest of drawers. I have also found dead bugs in her barbie house. Just keeping everything. She seemed very attached to everything and cried each time we cleaned her room. Then I got her evaluated and learned she was OCD and on the road to hoarding.

Since starting treatment and learning about why she "collects" these things, she has stopped collecting this type of stuff. We are encouraging one collection and she gets to choose what it is (ie stickers, pins, pencils,etc). Could just be their way of trying to have a little control. I would suggest talking to her pediatrician or finding someone that specializes in anxiety to talk to at least once. I didn't think we needed to, but once we did, it took a lot of the pressure off and helped me to understand as well.

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I too have a daughter that collects EVERYTHING and likes to put things into containers, purses, wallets and boxes. She takes lead from the tips of pencils and puts them in little boxes. She breaks off the erasers and puts them in another little box. The list goes on and on. She's 10 and has always been this way from toddler-hood on. I cleaned out the kids room and brought everything downstairs to the basement except I gave each of them 2 small drawers in their dresser for "stuff". If my 10 year old wants something, she has to go downstairs and get it. After awhile, she forgets what she has and I grab a garbage bag and just start purging. Most of the time she doesn't ask about it although on a couple of occasions (like yesterday) she wanted something and I just said, "go look downstairs". She's down there awhile and finds something else to do. We had so many stuffed animals that my husband loaded up 2 Hefty leaf bags and brought them to Children's Memorial Hospital for the cancer patients. My kids never missed them once they were gone and if felt good to help other kids feel better.

I'm a mother of 2 girls age 12 & 10, work out of my home as a consultant with Mary Kay and enjoy my flexibility. Theres so much to do in the summer and I'm happy to run around with my kids and not worry about going into work. My kids are very social and lots of kids come to my house to hang out, swim, play Wii...whatever. I feel bad for the kids who's parents are not around so I'm always cooking and serving. There are days that I ask my kids to make a playdate so that I can have quiet in the house and regroup. Then I'm ready to do it again!

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read dooce.com! Her daughter, Leta, does the same thing.

D. -

Try not to worry about this too much. My oldest went through this phase (and it is a phase) around that age. The key is to watch and see if she pulls out of it relatively soon.

My oldest daughter is an extremely sensitive and artistic person and I am so very proud of her. She def went thru a phase from around 8 til 10 yrs old though when she became very, VERY attached to everything. She even saved water in a big liter bottle (yes, water). She cried for days when we sold our car. She was a very non-destructive child and insisted on keeping every toy she ever had -needless to say there were lots of them. I had to smile when you described your daughter's 'tinnies' - this sounded so like something mine would do then. She would collect leaves and small flowers from outside and keep them in boxes, she called them something but I don't remember now....and was always making what she thought were 'dry flower arrangements' - had them hanging from the ceiling... anyway, it seems to me she began pulling out of it around the time she started having pre-teen friends over - who would just 'gross' her over the way her room looked. After that, she began re-arranging her room and caring about how things looked to her friends and we started boxing things up to put into 'storage'. After awhile I went through and just kept what I thought was really worth saving and pitched the rest. Every once in awhile she would ask about one thing or another and I would just tell her I'm not sure, it's in storage somewhere in the attic.

Hang in there, as long as there isn't moldy food or anything unsanitary and it doesn't smell too bad in her room, I would just let her have her space for the time being. :-)

w.

Hi D.:
My daughter(now 12-3/4)was very similar, we had boxes of "stuff", like rocks and strings and little things she would make from sticks and grass, and that sort of thing. What we tried is to put things in plastic storage bags and "save" them in a particular spot in the garage. She had her own special "storage" area, and we would pack away for later, anything she valued.Anything. Then, I would get a big garbage bag and put all the little bags of "stuff" in there, according to what it was. All the grass, sticks, stones,tinfoil shapes, etc. would go in 1 bag, and the old McDonalds happy meal toys would go into another bag all it's own, older stuffed animals into another yet, and so on and so forth.She could go out there and play with them anytime she had playtime, but had to put it all away when she was done. That was sort of a struggle at first, but then she started playing with the "junk" less and less. She would get out the stuffed animals more, and after keeping it all for almost a year (have to think long term here) I took out the bag of "junk" from the garage, asked her about it, and she hadn't even noticed. It kept the stuff out of her room after about a week, cleared the area, organized the stuff, and helped her get rid of some low priority things. We made sure to ask, after a long time, if we should just dump the bag of junk, and when she took a look in the bag, she was surprised she even had wanted to keep it.We had a rule after awhile, that if she got something new, she had to take something similar to the Save Spot bags. She made the decision as to which object went out into the garage. I never argued with her choices. I didn't always agree with them, but the stuff was hers, not mine. If she got rid of something I thought was valuable, I 'd save it special, so we didn't toss it.
Good luck, it can take a lot of time and work!
D.

My daughter and son are pack rats, and what I did first, was tell her there are little kids all over town that need toys too. In order to get better toys for birthdays, holidays, etc the room has to be gone through. We had a "funeral" for a few things too. That went over okay. When the kids head to school, I take a weeks vacation and unclutter their rooms. I do give a warning. I buy big black bags and tell them that anything on the floor they no longer care for will be in that bag. Also in the past I have put things in a 6 month "time box" and whatever is not out of the box in that time period is gone. I donate the box to someplace that needs it. Good luck!

I would talk to your pediatrician~maybe she needs to be evaluated further. I have a son w/ OCD...this sounds a bit like the hoarding issues that can occur with this. CAN she throw anything away or is it too painful/impossible for her?

I know that people have suggested "hoarding" and "OCD" and it is something to definitely mention to her pediatrician as I have an adult relative who, sadly, falls into this category (No one has seen her home for years!). If the Dr. says it's normal, (and it really sounds like she is!) then you just have a creative little girl who likes "stuff". I regularly purge my children's room of the little stuff that they have accumulated, science & school projects, etc.... and, when you do it in small increments, they don't know and don't care. I do save some of their artwork and papers in a separate area of the house. The month before Christmas and also, before their birthdays (when they may be bringing in new stuff) we do a massive cleaning. Even some stuff that they don't want to get rid of, immediately,can be packaged to go into the "attic or storage room" for an indefinite amount of time, can eventually be moved out. My children have found great value in making money having a "kid's garage sale" but it is understood, that, what doesn't get sold gets boxed and picked up by AMVETS on a regular basis (and it truly is amazing what they "try" to sell!) My gut tells me that your daughter just needs guidance and this is a phase, and now that she is a little older, it's the right time to get her motivated to take pride in her room, as the whole household should. I wouldn't like to be frustrated every time I walk into my children's room - I do get frustrated but usually it is when I haven't been making regular appearances. Maybe once things are under control, on a weekly basis - or every other week, as a reward, for about 30 minutes, you can "help" her clean her room - then promise her a bike ride together/ice cream or some fun activity together. My daughter actually loves this (she's 13) because she gets to spend time with me and it's our time together (and it's good to have a casual conversation about school when they don't have their guard up.) Good luck!

Check out the information from the Mayo Clinic on "hoarding", which is described as a subtype of OCD:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hoarding/DS00966

It also says that symptoms of hoarding start in early adolescence and get worse with age.

If you really think she may have a problem with it, you may want to seek a professional evaluation?

Good Luck!

Sounds like she might have OCD. Obsessive Compulsive disorder, which can manifest itself as hoarding and attachment. Check out a book called 'buried in treasures' by doctor Tolin. He really understands this mindset and can direct you to ways to help your child break the routines she is reinforcing every time she collects another thing and justifies in her mind why she owes it time and affection.

This is NOT a discipline issue. She needs you to help her redirect the energy she's spending, and give her ways to get the same feelings of security she gets from hoarding in a way that doesn't negatively effect her or the family's life.

She'll be fine, just get her the right help.

Take Care.

D.,

Since she is so carrying about everything how about trying to get her to share some of her wealth with needier kids try to explain that there are children that don't have as much and she would be helping them...you can than have her make boxes of stuff to give away...than you can take some of the stuff that can really be given a way to a charity or salvation army and the other stuff you can secretly throw out..once she learns to part with stuff it might be easier to explain that some stuff is okay to keep and other stuff really just needs to be tossed..

A lil about me: mother of 5 (18-26) grandma to 3 (1.5-4)very nice husband

Good Luck

I have no advice --just wanted to say how much I liked reading the posts here. These quirky behaviors are what makes childhood so sweet..the dead bugs are a little creepy but sweet none the less. Enjoy the phase!

Hi D.,
I was that kid! A prime example is once I cried hysterically when my mom threw out an old, broken umbrella. I had to sneak out into the alley, open the garbage and cut a piece of it off so I would "still have it with me" before I could calm down. I even got attached to things like Kleenex. Part of it I am sure was some obessive-compulsive (OCD) and hording tendencies, but part of it was a reaction to the stress going on in our family. My parents separated and then divorced when I was in junior high and the first half of high school. Anyone whose been a teenager knows those are oh-so-fun years on their own, forget throwing a divorce into the mix of crazed hormones and emotions. You and your husband may be rock solid, but could there be some other emotional stress going on in your daughter's life that is being expressed this way? The over-attachment could be how she is working out her anxiety. Or it could be plain old OCD. I grew out of my compulsive need to be attached to everything, but many people need a little extra support and/or some coping mechanisms. There are lots of resources available for OCD, not all of them medications either. I would suggest googling OCD, seeing if the descriptions fit your daughter's behavior, and then make your decision from there.
Good luck,
Mary-Claire

Your daughter if perfectly normal! My almost 7 year old is the same way. We rotate toys and things in her room because she collects so much stuff. I make her place her older toys and things in a plastic bag and put them in the basement and most of the time she forgets about it and then I donate them or throw them out if it is junky. Her nice things, I pack separately and save those. As far as the little silly things she keeps, get rid of it when she isn't home and when she asks just say you don't know and when her room begins to beome decluttered little by little, she will like it and feel better and so will you. It is the same mentality as my closet, I refuse to get rid of certain clothes and I put them in our extra closet and then sometimes my husband gets on a roll and goes to the extra closet to pack stuff to donate and then when I realize my "saved" things are gone, I am glad not to have to deal with it and feel relieved because deep down I know I am not going to wear it. You can also use the excuse that the poor kids will really enjoy her old things she doesn't play with and that she is going to get new things for xmas, bday or what have you. She will be fine. Don't hesitate, she will be fine.

Your daughter sounds like my daughter and plenty of her friends. My daughter never wants to throw anything away. And, she can't part with any toys she has no use for. She creates a use very quickly when the topic of conversation turns to getting rid of things.

I make her get rid of things. I don't believe she should be allowed to keep garbage. Sometimes I give things a short time frame that it is able to stay (like for the day maybe a week) but then it must go.

Sometimes I make my daughter "help" me get rid of the junk all over her room and sometimes I go through her room while she is at school. I don't let her give me excuse after excuse or multiple reasons for why she wants to keep EVERYTHING. I just say I don't want to hear about it - it's garbage and we throw garbage out. These moments typically involve heavy crying but it has gotten better over the years. Now, for the most part, she realizes that she can carry on about her garbage but I am still throwing it away. She doesn't even care after an hour or so later. I try to do a major cleaning more often so it's not so much at once.

I wouldn't be so quick to say that it sounds like OCD. I think some kids have a harder time than others choosing what they "need" to have.

You might want to check out a link: go to www.flylady.net and then scroll down the first page and on the right side there is a link for the House Fairy. Have you tried the tactic of telling your daughter that she needs to collect x number of things to bless another child with...? Something like that might work b/c it would make her feel good to be helping someone else. (its kinda along flylady/house fairy lines)

How old is your daughter? She sounds like my 7 year old. We have spent some time discussing how much space we have and that we can't have more than the space we have, but she likes to save candy wrappers and gogurt wrappers and all kinds of stuff like that.

At this age, I've done it when she's gone. I sort her school (and preschool) papers, save favorites, take pictures of almost all the rest (more artwork than schoolwork) and toss, toss toss.

Giving her a large assignment like cleaning an entire room sounds like a lot (again, not sure if she's 4 or 14). I also recommend flylady. Start working with her, sort into keep/trash/donate/store piles working in 15 minute increments (less if she is younger).

I also hang artwork in the kitchen and basement stairwell so we have places to display the special stuff, so she knows I value it.

Good luck.

It's not being mean to get rid or all the bacteria growing things that can damage her and everyone else in the houses' health. Be tough mom. You're incharge. Don't let her run things now; imagine what it will be like when she gets in high school. Dead bus, have her bury it where it belongs like when people pass. Bugs need to live outdoors for everyones health also. Be firm

The family I come from is one of savers and packrats, and the family my husband comes from is one who throws everything out and gets rid of EVERYTHING. I am trying to find a happy medium. I also have a daughter who gets attached to things, and doesn't like change. While I do not get rid of everything, is is a better alternative to living with "stuff" all over the place (which drives my husband crazy) So anyway, I scrapbook, and when I had to start giving toys away and going through projects I decided that we would take pictures of things to remind her of things she'd made or had so that she could always look at them in her scrapbook if she got lonely for them. Maybe you could try having your daughter make her own scrapbook of these things as you are going through them and giving them away or throwing them away. She could even write on the page about them. This has helped us tremendously and we talk about why we just can't have so many things and we have to make room for new things and it's ok to give these things away so somebody else who might not have so much can use them. We go through toys and bedrooms before birthdays and before Christmas or just right after. I think this helps because they know they are getting new things. It has also helped me get rid of some of my childhood things because it's not really the "thing" it's the memories attached-if you have a picture of it you will still have it's memory.

Good Luck, I hope this helps!

A.

I have a 9 year old son who is exactly the same way. He loves little things that everyone else sees as garbage. When we go shopping he is usually on the floor collecting anything he can find, even those little size clips they put on hangers. I have noticed that if I go thru his room and throw some of the garbage that he has forgotten about while he is at school, he doesn't even notice that it is gone. I allow him to keep things that he really thinks are interesting like dead bugs, but everything has to have it's own place. He also hangs on to toys because of emotional attachment, things that he never plays with. We go thru his room twice a year together, usually before his birthday and Christmas, and give toys away to kids who don't have toys. Knowing that they are going to someone who doesn't have anything to play with makes it easier to give them away. I have noticed that over the years his collecting has gotten alot better, not so much real garbage, just things that are really interesting to him. And the giving away of old toys gets easier once he realized that the old toys were being replaced with new gifts with the holidays and birthdays. I hope this helps.

Your daughter sounds JUST like my 8-year-old son- right down to the cheese-wrapper wax people! LOL when I read that!
Anyhow- what I started to do was to tell my son that when he got something new, or kept something, that he had to get rid of or give away something else. That seemed to help him get used to the idea of parting with things, and then, after time, minimize the garbage.
As for the tinnies (we have foil wands and coins :D) just give her a small box or jar and keep them all contained; when it's full, the others go to the recycle bin.
Good luck!
And thanks for the post- I'm still chuckling, and also glad to hear about someone else's little collector :D

Leave her be and read the great book "unconditional parenting" by Alfie Kohn. so often we are fixated on children doing as we do and not as they want for arbitrary reasons. Provided the treasures are confined to her room, then let her have her room messy. It won't hurt her. If she emotionally needs these then support her in it. she will likely grow out of it and you will have less conflict.

Well first you could get really worried and think about all sorts of illnesses and what this all means. Collecting things could be a sign of obsessive compulsive disorder.It could be a sign of a slob. It could be the sign of someone who has a great big heart and can't get rid of these things because they really are important. But maybe not any of these things. You are the mom so you are allowed to take some things out of there whether she likes it or not.When I was young I built a huge nest in our backyard of all sorts of garbage and my parents got rid of it. I got over it. If it is emotionally destroying her and she can't function if you get rid of the things... perhaps establish a specific place for her collectibles. Do you have a front porch? A back porch? How about buying a giant rubbermaid box and put it somewhere where she can sort through the stuff once in awhile. I have a small house so I know how difficult it is to save a lot of 'junk'. Since you worked in preschools you know there are also really cool shelf type things with boxes and they could be labeled and sorted. In my case I'd have to put something outside. You can do it together. Kind of a bonding thing. You yourself might take a few things a little at a time and get rid of them, some kids don't even notice. You can be very creative about this and not worry at all. If she is doing this and can't function elsewhere then you might be worried and get counseling, but it just sounds like a giant version of a treasure box gone wild. Or you could just close the door. I've done that for years living with two sons who seem to have similar patterns and it works pretty well. Good luck.

Here is a thought for the future . . .

She cannot keep anything unless she gets rid of something.
You cannot keep that my little honey unless something else goes.
THere is no more room.

Let's go decide which item you can part with so you can keep this one.

After a few weeks and/or months of that , you can try to say we need to let go of 3 items once every 3 weeks so we can make room.

You could introduce her to the House Fairy. This worked for my daughter. The House Fairy is a magic fairy that comes to the child's bedroom and leaves a "surprise" if your room is clean, and fairy dust if it is not clean. You never know when she is coming!

There is a whole website and community to join, and it costs a bit of money but it was worth it to me. You could also do it for free, just tell her the House Fairy story.

My daughter now keeps her room clean and enjoys the "surprises" the House Fairy leaves either while she's sleeping or away. She even invited the House Fairy to her birthday party and the House Fairy left a surprise there!

Otherwise you could try this trick. Sit in your daughter's room with her. Ask her to point out something she can have (like a toy). She will name something. Say "Good! Point out something else you can have." Keep doing this, and be sure to say "good!" or some other affirmation. Never point out that she "can't" have something, even if she points out something of yours. This will help her to realize all the things she CAN have and help her to release some of the junk. Keep asking the question cheerfully until your daughter seems happy, or makes some kind of comment about how she doesn't need all her stuff, or gets bored. If you do this every day eventually she will understand all the things she can have, and help her to not feel like she can't have things. The more you tell her to throw stuff away, the more she'll cling to it.

Good luck!

Hi D.!

Maybe you could impose a new trade-off rule. For every new item that enters her room she must trade it for one of the "clutter" treasures in her room. Then maybe she can learn to prioritize. "If I really want this new item, what is less important to me that I can give up!" "Would I rather have a dead bug or this new toy/item?"

Maybe she could bury the bug and create a little popsicle stick tombstone or something. Maybe she can take pictures of the treasured items and put them in a book so she can look at them and remember them.

Clutter has also become my pet peeve! Good Luck!

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