Image Source: Erin Matzkin

My Kids Are Hoarders — and I Think It’s Time for an Intervention

I recently attempted to clean out my children’s playroom. The closet was overflowing, the bookshelf was bursting, the bins of blocks and princess dolls and art supplies was spilling their contents onto the floor.

“I just need storage solutions,” I remember thinking naively. “Some clear bins and a label-maker. I’ll get everything in order, and this room will be amazing; they’ll play in here all the time.”

Hah. Nope; I was delusional.

The problem is not my lack of storage solutions — the problem is that my children are hoarders, and it’s about time for an intervention.

During the five-hour span in which I attempted to organize before fully giving up in despair, I discovered the following items in one single room of my house:

A jar of miscellaneous rocks.

Image Source: Erin Matzkin
Image Source: Erin Matzkin

When I asked my son about these, he told me they were “special” rocks he collected (along with a couple of leaves and a random feather). When questioned further, he could not remember when he had collected these items or why they were special. But he loved them very much and couldn’t possibly agree to throw them out or “return them to nature,” as I suggested.

This book with no cover and half the pages missing.

Image Source: Erin Matzkin
Image Source: Erin Matzkin

I present this book as merely one example of the myriad children’s books in my home that have been so loved and so read so hard that their spines are broken, their covers are missing, their pages are stuck together, and their colors have faded in places.

A full baker’s dozen of action figures and dolls missing heads and limbs.

Image Source: Erin Matzkin
Image Source: Erin Matzkin

In case you’re curious about the Hulk action figure completely wrapped in Scotch tape in the upper right-hand corner of the above photo, my son told me Hulk lost both legs and both arms in an elaborate battle, allegedly by accident. So of course the only logical move was to enshrine him in a fully-body Scotch-tape cast. I am not sure how an action figure accidentally loses all four limbs, but I’m not inclined to really drill down on that one either.

Assorted LEGO arms.

Image Source: Erin Matzkin
Image Source: Erin Matzkin

Where are the rest of the LEGO minifigures? Where are the bodies? Where are the heads? What game were my children playing that led them to dismember all these LEGO people??? The world may never know.

Regardless, they refuse to get rid of these arms. It kind of creeps me out.

This. I don’t know what this is.

Image Source: Erin Matzkin
Image Source: Erin Matzkin

I have no idea where we got it, or what it’s supposed to do. But rest assured, they won’t let me donate it.

I actually tried to sneak a few of these items out of the house after bedtime, like a smuggler moving product across the border. It took me a week of stealthy trips, but I finally had a full garbage bag of broken, sad toys hidden in the garage that I intended to throw away.

Nope. I got busted. The very day I planned to move the bag from its hiding place to the trash, my daughter noticed that one old ratty doll was missing from her room (a doll she hadn’t played with in probably six months, mind you). She would not rest until she found the doll, and a half an hour later she discovered the entire bag of smuggled toys in the garage.

“Our treasures!” she shouted, indignantly. “How did these get out here?” And in very short order, these “treasures” were all back inside. Every last one of them.

So … got any advice for me, sage parents of the Interwebs? Any miracle parenting methods for making my kids less greedy and more willing to cull through their old things?

Or should I just burn the house down and start over somewhere new? (Honestly, that’s starting to sound like the most attractive option right now … )

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