I think my children are one of my biggest clutter magnets. Now I do not want to imply that it is the fault of my children. It is the memories of the moments I treasure from the past. I took a giant step today, however, and trashed Teddy – Ruxpin, that is. There is more to the story than just the title. Let me start at the beginning. Many moons ago when my children were pre-teens, Teddy Ruxpin was THE toy to get for Christmas. He was not available in the town where I lived, but I had a resource in nearby Dallas. I just knew I had to have three because I had three children. I drove all over Dallas that December because no store would reserve more than one per customer. Clutter lesson #1 is I should have stopped to think if we actually needed three. My oldest son was probably at least ten at the time and he did not seem too impressed that I had gotten one for him. He probably would have been happier if I had gotten something more age appropriate. Daughter two years younger probably played with hers some, but did not seem too impressed. So looking back, I could have stopped with the purchase of one. Youngest son was probably about four at the time and really loved his Teddy.
Clutter lesson #2 is that I did not have to save the Teddy with the most wear. If something looks really used and is not a collectible, it is probably not worth the space it takes up in saving it. You see, I am starting to operate my storage space like a retail store. They rate products and give them space based on how in demand they are and also the projected value in sales. Translated into closet language, that means don’t take up precious closet space with broken stuff with little or no value. It would be a different story if the toy was a favorite and really represented a memory my children would enjoy replaying. I found when they grew up and some have children of their own, they got new things that were clean and safer. Oldest son probably had the best idea and was quick to part with his Teddy at the first opportunity of a sale to the highest bidder.
Lesson # 3 for today is that I finally looked damaged Teddy in the eyes (which was difficult since he looks a bit sad since his nose and connecting talking mouthpiece keep falling off and leave a gaping hole) and decided to remove his batteries and tossed him in the trash. I still have the remaining Teddy which has been safely stored all of these years and will save him and the books and tapes that make him so much fun for a child. My youngest son will be pleased when he has children.
To summarize the lessons learned from my experience – I could have bought less, stored less, saved only the best and still had the good memories. As I have decluttered for myself, I found that the things themselves do not hold the memories in place, it is the memories of the smiles and pleasures of the moments that my heart holds near. Stuff is not required for all the memories…sometimes stuff just makes a mess.