We love to clean out clutter at Apartment Therapy. The outbox is a favorite feature of our annual Cure - a place for no-longer-wanted stuff that is on its way out the door. The outbox is especially beloved by parents; there's nothing like reducing that mountain of toys that grows and grows each year. But is it possible that, sometimes, we go overboard in removing old toys from the house?
On occasion, I look back over those purge moments, when I've shipped out massive piles of stuff from my kids' room, and thought, "you know, I really wish I'd kept that". Almost always, those items fall into one of the three categories described below. Perhaps there's something to learn here? Perhaps, in these categories, we could find a few things that are, after all, worth holding onto?
1. Something that was beloved - should be kept for the memory chest. I'm sure all of us have that special toy we are glad our own Moms or Dads put aside - that very first teddy bear or special book we read before each bedtime. Is there something among the no-longer-loved pile that was once utterly treasured? Keep it. They'll thank you in 20 years' time.
2. Keep something valuable for collect-a-holics. Did your son or daughter go crazy for My Little Pony or Transformers? There are active adult collectors of cult hit toys all over the world. It's hard to know exactly what will be a collector's item, but a good initial rule of thumb? If collectors have already been pining after these toys for 20+ years, there's a good chance they'll be around in the future. Don't go obsessive, but hang onto a few for your kids when they're grown. You never know, right?
3. Keep something fun for visiting, younger kids. Every time I visit my friend Anne's place, whose kids are now all grown up, I am so thankful that she thought to put aside a little zip-lock bag of toy cars, and a collection of blocks and so on, so that my kids have something to play with when we're there. Is there anything you're outboxing that would appeal to a wide range of kids, but maybe wasn't an absolute favorite? Anything that's not too precious to worry about if it's broken by a guest? Keep it in a small box for visiting kids!
Are you an over-purger or an obsessive keeper of stuff? What kinds of things are you holding onto for posterity's sake?