Kids’ Valentine Clutter and Toys for Future Grandkids?

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I’ve received so many excellent reader questions lately that I thought it was time for another installment of “Ask Rose,” my internationally-acclaimed advice column, read by rich and famous celebrities worldwide, and my mom.

Today I’m addressing what to do with kids’ Valentine clutter and how to decide whether or not you should save toys for future grandkids. I hope my answers are helpful to you!

How do you get your kids to part with all of those valentines after the party? – Drowning in Love

Dear Drowning,

I was just thinking about this the other day as my kids were filling out Valentines for their classmates.

Here’s the short answer to how I make my kids part with all their Valentines… I don’t. 

I don’t make them (or any client or my husband or myself) part with anything they don’t want to part with. That would be damaging and definitely NOT encourage them to let go of things.

I do, however, ask them questions like:

So do you want to keep all of these or just the really special ones?

Where do you want to put them?

And I make sure they have spaces in their room available.

Each of my kids has a special stuff box and a memorabilia box of their own to use for these kinds of things. They know that this space is limited, so if they add all the Valentines, something else might need to go. That’s a decision they have to make.

Above all, I celebrate the Valentines with them by saying things like, “How cool that your classmates are so sweet! Who gave you this Star Wars one? Which one is your favorite?” And at the same time, we talk about how you can love your classmates without needing to keep everything they give you, unless you want to.

What do you do with quality items from your children’s babyhood/childhood? Do you save them to pass on to their children? I’m wondering if it is worth saving, storing, and lugging around these items with me until my son is an adult. On the other hand, I wish I had things from my childhood, but my mom always purged everything. – Perplexed About Playtime

Dear Perplexed,

I’ve purchased many Magic 8 balls and fortune cookies in my life, and I’ve come to two solid conclusions: 1) Fortune cookies taste like mildly sweet cardboard, so I’m not sure how there’s still a market for them, and 2) None of us can foresee the future. There’s no way to know if you will have grandchildren and if you do have them, whether or not they’ll want these toys.

That said, I think it’s important to plan for the future we hope to have. This is why I put money in my 401(K) and make myself exercise.

In my own life, I’ve resolved this issue as such: I save a limited number of high quality, memorable toys for my future (fingers crossed!) adorable, well-behaved grandchildren. I envision these future grandkids playing with these toys at my house, as I think it’s a bit presumptuous to pass along decades-old toys for your future daughters and sons-in-law to find space for at their house. (Ahem, Baby Boomers, please take note.)

Storing these toys is not a burden for me. I limit the amount to a few tubs in my attic. That is fine with me and doesn’t prevent me from living my current life the way I want to.

So ask yourself… what kind of future do you hope to have? And after you get past envisioning yourself on a private island with a George Clooney look-alike, ask yourself how you imagine engaging with your future grandchildren, who will certainly be almost as adorable and well-behaved as mine (my Magic 8 Ball told me so).

Overall, the things we save for the future shouldn’t feel like a burden. They should feel like hope.

Got a question about minimalism or simplifying? Email your best clutter conundrums to [email protected]

Rose Lounsbury is a minimalism coach, speaker, and author of the Amazon bestseller “Less: Minimalism for Real.After blogging about her own journey toward a minimalist lifestyle, Rose was inspired to start Less, a minimalism coaching company. Rose spends her days writing, helping clients clear their clutter, and soaking up the moments with her husband and their wild triplets. Rose is a regular guest on Fox News Good Day Columbus and has also been featured on NPR, Good Morning Cincinnati, and WDTN Living Dayton. She calls lovely Dayton, Ohio home. If you’d like to contact Rose for a speaking engagement or help with a minimizing project, you can email her at [email protected] or visit her online at RoseLounsbury.com.

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