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October 10, 2012

Maya is a pack rat…just like her father.

I’ve already discussed how she collects things. Little things, big things, useless things, nice things. She folds these things and puts them into other useless things, and then hides them in random places.

Random Piece of Art with Plastic Utensils stuck in it? Check. Pocket Organizer Stuffed With 1,523 crayons and markers? Check.

A few weeks ago, for example, I found a piece of paper with a $100 bill rolled up into it. Yes, I know you have questions.

Q: Where did Maya get the $100 bill?
A: I’m going to guess her grandfather.

Q: What made you open that particular piece of paper?
A: Sheer luck.

Q: How many other hundred-dollar bills do you think you’ve unknowingly thrown out?
A: I’m trying not to think about it.

Dirty/Autographed Ballet Shoe Purchased By Mom in a Moment of Weakness? Check. Manila Folder Labeled “Fun?” Check. Like New Subtraction Flashcards? Check.

Anyway, now you can see why restoring order to Maya’s room requires enormous concentration and energy.

But during a particularly intense clean up session last week (which involved me getting rid of things like Starbucks lids, an impressive collection of buttons, a variety of rocks, and one rather scary replica of our family), Ali decided to hover around making judgmental conversation.

Ali: “How can you throw that away? Maya made it.”

Me: “Yes she did Ali. She made this and 5,000 other pictures and projects.”

Ali: “You are heartless.”

Me: “Maybe. But we can only keep so much. Would you be interested in taking the rest to your office?”

Recycled Art? Check. Skull Purchased By Ali When Mom Wasn’t Around? Check.

And then silence, as expected.

Look, I’m not happy that I have to throw Maya’s creations and collections in the trash but if I don’t who’s going to? Nobody that’s who.

At least I don’t do it in front of her. I think that’s pretty considerate, right? Right.

103 Comments leave one →
  1. glamorous glutton permalink
    October 10, 2012 12:25 am

    Oh I used to do this to the youngest Glam Teens room. If I did it with him nothing would be thrown away. I have some large boxes with a few project in them that live in the loft until the time everyone wants to reminisce. I’m with you, there’s just too much stuff! GG

    • October 10, 2012 5:51 pm

      Is there ever a time everyone wants to reminisce? I’m pretty sure my mom and I never broke out my old artwork when I was growing up. LOL

  2. Tands permalink
    October 10, 2012 12:39 am

    How horrifying that the hoarding is still going on. I’m with you — get rid of that stuff ASAP. Do whatever you can to break this horrible, horrible habit. Did the imp thing not work? LOL

  3. October 10, 2012 12:51 am

    This is so funny because my brother and I now sometimes wish our mom would just toss stuff we left back home. Every time she visits she’ll have something I’d totally forgotten about then makes me feel bad that I want to get rid of it!

    • October 10, 2012 5:53 pm

      I’m such a minimalist…just like my mom. I totally get your need to get rid of stuff!

  4. October 10, 2012 1:18 am

    Heartless? I think not. Every time I go to visit, my niece makes me some picture or other. There is just not enough room on my fridge for all her creations! Some get left there and others are sat in a drawer. I cannot bring myself to throw them out, but I am sure she will help me one day!

    – Razwana

    • October 10, 2012 5:53 pm

      Maya makes 10 pictures a day, for anyone she sees. They must go in the trash! But I admire you for keeping them.

  5. October 10, 2012 1:33 am

    hahaha my mum kept all my childhood things in a box for years and then when i got married and moved she unceremoniously gave me the box and said me to keep it. I mean what was I going to do with my certificate from when i was 5 that said i had successfully completed fire training??!! also funny, as each child came along the box of things got smaller and smaller – i think she had enough indistinguishable paintings by the time the 3rd one came along 😛

    So don’t feel bad 😀

    • October 10, 2012 5:54 pm

      Fire training? How funny.

      Imagine…if I had more than one child I’d be even worse about this stuff! Lucky Maya that she’s an only child.

  6. squigglefloey permalink
    October 10, 2012 2:10 am

    Haha I love answering my own questions, too 🙂

    • October 10, 2012 5:54 pm

      You always hear the right answer, right?

      • squigglefloey permalink
        October 11, 2012 1:12 am

        Of course 🙂

  7. October 10, 2012 4:15 am

    I’ve been trying to get my mom to throw away stuff like that for YEARS. I’m as far away from being a pack rat as I can possibly be. I think it’s because I move so often. But anyway, there are a few boxes of all my stuff from gradeschool in their basement and she just won’t get rid of it. So they stack. And stack. And collect dust. And are never looked at. Sigh.

    Although, I guess if they did throw it away, they’d just find something else to store in its place. Losing battle.

    • October 10, 2012 5:55 pm

      This is true. Hoarders like your parents and Maya will just replace stuff with stuff. It seems inevitable.

  8. October 10, 2012 5:00 am

    I’m a thrower-outer, but as a kid I used to collect and keep the weirdest things. Sparkly rocks. Bookmarks. Every art project I ever made. My one sister was the same way. But our other sister used to terrorize and throw our treasures out right in front of us!!! Trauma.
    You can’t keep EVERYTHING or they’ll put you on that Hoarders show that is way way way scarier than that skull will ever be.

    • October 10, 2012 5:56 pm

      I can’t watch Hoarders. I feel short of breath and very stressed out. It’s not good for my health.

      • Heather @ SugarDish(Me) permalink
        October 10, 2012 5:56 pm


  9. October 10, 2012 5:12 am

    I think Maya might actually be Ralph’s child. This man save the most ridiculous things. The Starbuck’s lid is the one that sold the comparison!!

    • October 10, 2012 5:56 pm

      You have my sympathies Fran. The Starbucks lid nearly set me over the edge!

  10. October 10, 2012 5:29 am

    When I was home before the wedding, my sister and I were cleaning out our rooms. I was throwing things out left and right and my sister wanted to hold on to everything! We actually got into a fight over it…my mom made us meet in the middle. I only had jurisdiction over my “crap.” So let’s just say my room was cleaner!

    • October 10, 2012 5:57 pm

      Love it. Of course your room was cleaner! I’m the exact same way…

  11. October 10, 2012 5:44 am

    Agreed. Children are far less likely to ask where they’re prized art thing is if they don’t see it for awhile. Good call on the clean-up!

    • October 10, 2012 5:57 pm

      Thank you YC. Maya rarely, if ever, asks where a particular project has gone. That only affirms that I’ve done the right thing!

  12. October 10, 2012 6:04 am

    With two kids and a gazillion activities, I clean out their ‘creations’ almost every week, saving some milestone ones in a folder each. Yesterday, Bro Bear didn’t have school and I involuntarily handed him a bunch of his classwork (that gets sent home in bundles every week) and Sis Bear’s artwork saying, “Put this into recycling, please?” Thank Goodness, realization dawned as I was saying those words. Quickly, turning them upside down, I went on,”Never mind, finish your game!”

    Heartless and you? I’d beat you by a mile 😦

    • October 10, 2012 5:58 pm

      Funny…I just tossed one of those bundles that get sent home each week into the recycling as well!

  13. October 10, 2012 6:09 am

    omg the skull!!! so funny!

    • October 10, 2012 5:58 pm

      It’s actually kind of disgusting…but I’ll allow it for Halloween. And then it’ll disappear!

  14. October 10, 2012 6:38 am

    hahaha oh no heartless…a minimalist perhaps. i am constantly purging things from my life/house. i just cannot take the clutter! random skull?! priceless.

    • October 10, 2012 5:58 pm

      Clutter leaves me very stressed out. I cannot function!

  15. October 10, 2012 6:44 am

    Oh I hear you. My house is slowly overtook by Crayola! I find them everywhere.
    Why would Ali bought skull for Maya? Now who’s the heartless one? 🙂

    • October 10, 2012 5:59 pm

      Crayola…so true. We have crayons everywhere. It got so much that one day I poured all of them into a very large ziplock and gave them away.

  16. hcoving permalink
    October 10, 2012 6:48 am

    Ugh, I feel your pain. Too much clutter/stuff makes me feel like my head is going to explode yet my 12 year old is like Maya, he can’t throw anything away. I am convinced his dream in life is to get his room looking like something in a Hoarders episode. I throw things away when he isn’t home.

    • October 10, 2012 5:59 pm

      Ditto. When Ali / Maya aren’t home is when most things disappear!

  17. October 10, 2012 6:57 am

    I’m pretty sure nothing remains of my “art” when I was growing up. I don’t miss it.

    • October 10, 2012 5:59 pm

      I don’t miss mine either. Never thought about it for a second.

  18. October 10, 2012 7:11 am

    The $100 bill…crazy! The skull is so random and made me laugh :). My nephew is the same way and wants to keep EVERYTHING!

    I think you did the right thing 🙂


    • October 10, 2012 6:00 pm

      Thanks Katie…so glad that people don’t think I’m a heartless bi@#h!

  19. October 10, 2012 7:43 am

    I am sure I’ll be doing the same thing in a few years with Sawyer =P

    BTW, you should just take a digital photo of Maya’s creations and then save them on the computer and free up even MORE space. That way when you throw stuff away, the memory lives on.

    • October 10, 2012 6:00 pm

      Such a good point. Someone else said I should do this…I need to!

  20. October 10, 2012 7:47 am

    does she ever ask where that so-and-so item went?

    • October 10, 2012 6:00 pm

      Not artwork but toys? Sometimes. I just play dumb. 🙂

  21. October 10, 2012 8:11 am

    I am sort of impressed by the $100 bill.

    your gotta purge stuff eventually!!! i think it was a good call.

    • October 10, 2012 6:01 pm

      Thanks Daisy…glad that others are on the same page!

  22. October 10, 2012 8:51 am

    I like the skull the best! Perfect for Halloween 😉 Has Maya picked a costume? Can’t wait to hear all about it!

    • October 10, 2012 6:01 pm

      She is going to be a Ninja! Ali helped her choose, as I’m sure you can imagine.

  23. October 10, 2012 10:30 am

    First of all, I envy a grandfather who hands in $100 bill..I do not blame you Ameena for throwing away “arts” because soon before you realize it, it will be a massive collection of papers and somebody has to do it..Maya is only a child and finds those things important…but I have dealt with almost thirty year old adult who is in love with every mail that comes through, every credit card offer and what not…the answer to this is- THROWING AWAY!!!

    • October 10, 2012 6:02 pm

      Credit card offers go straight into the recycling bin around here…those are far too numerous and annoying to even consider keeping around!

  24. October 10, 2012 12:08 pm

    Oh man, Ameena, the things you have to do. I started laughing when I heard about the $100 bill, and I just about died when I saw the evil frowning skull. The fact that you can find funny stuff in all of this — you are amazing. I’m with you on the purging useless stuff, particularly when there’s tons of it around. I used to collect weird things when I was a kid (like cereal boxes — ??), and I’m so glad I don’t have them any more. I’m also glad I don’t collect cereal boxes anymore 🙂

    Have a great day, Ameena!

    • October 10, 2012 6:03 pm

      Cereal boxes? I bet Maya would collect those too, if I let her. I usually beat her to the punch though and take the plastic bag out when the cereal level gets low. 🙂

  25. October 10, 2012 12:10 pm

    I’m so curious where that ballet slipper came from? I think it’s pretty cool! 🙂

    I am definitely a keeper of too many small things. I have actually been cleaning out our master bedroom this week and it feels great.

    • October 10, 2012 6:03 pm

      Maya and I went to a performance of Giselle and she talked me into buying it for her. It was kind of cool at the time? Now I just think it’s wasting space.

  26. October 10, 2012 2:21 pm

    hahaha once, I kept a popsicle wrapper for MONTHS because when I crumpled it up it formed a really cool shape. When my mom found it, she was pissed.

    • October 10, 2012 6:04 pm

      Too funny. I would be so grossed out! Imagine the ants and bugs that could have found it…

  27. October 10, 2012 8:19 pm

    –It’s difficult to throw those beautiful creations out.
    I still have every single tree ornament ever made by my boys. I shall be buried w/ them!
    But some other things, I just closed my eyes and tossed in the garbage with a tightened stomach! Xx
    Who were the ballet slippers signed by?

    • October 11, 2012 8:10 pm

      Even I keep the Christmas ornaments Maya makes…I agree, those are special.

      The ballet slipper was signed by a dancer from Giselle…Maya and I went together last year.

  28. October 10, 2012 8:23 pm

    Haha, I just got a very similar looking skull … but it is black and it’s a phone!

    • October 11, 2012 8:10 pm

      A phone? Your phone looks like a skull? I’m intrigued!

  29. October 10, 2012 9:21 pm

    I go through waves of being a pack rat. I stuff things in places – receipts in random drawers etc only to have forgotten where I put them. Then, I clean and I get so angry finding things I needed a year ago but no longer have use for. Then, I throw it ALL away. Then, I realize that I could have used that thing I threw away. Then, I say I’m going to keep things longer. Rinse. Repeat.

    • October 11, 2012 8:11 pm

      Rinse. Repeat. I love it.

      I found a system with receipts..shove them in a drawer until the drawer is full. Then go through them and get rid of the ones no longer relevant. I swear it works!

  30. October 10, 2012 11:03 pm

    I laughed at the comment about taking the stuff to his office – that’s a good one. It’s pretty much the same story around here. My daughter is a pack-rat, I am not. Or perhaps just a rat. She will unwrap candies and throw the wrapper over her shoulder on the floor. I know this because I find them all the time.

    • October 11, 2012 8:12 pm

      If Maya threw a wrapper over her shoulder I think I’d send her to boarding school. In a second flat.

      You are a much more patient person than me!

  31. October 11, 2012 3:40 am

    I know this problem! I feel badly guilty when we throw away our kids’ creations but there just isn’t room!! It doesn’t help that I’m a hoarder too!

    • October 11, 2012 8:13 pm

      Men seem prone to hoarding…I wonder why that is?

  32. October 11, 2012 7:24 am

    while all of those stuff are heart-meltingly cute, but they got to go. i am a complete n0-hoarding allowed type, and my husband is yeah, so i know there’s only one way to keep the house clean – no hoarding allowed 😐

    • October 11, 2012 8:13 pm

      From what I’m reading, it seems to fall to the wife to keep things clean…I am noticing this trend! I’m wondering why that is…

  33. Caren permalink
    October 11, 2012 8:39 am

    Hey Ameena!! Thanks for stopping by my blog this morning. I am still blogging, I’m just doing it at right now (I suck at multitasking).

    Always great to connect with a fellow canadian!

    • October 11, 2012 8:14 pm

      Thank you for the link…I will definitely check it out!

  34. October 11, 2012 9:06 am

    I want to be your garbage person. Seriously. I’d be tearing through that shit to find money. Did that just make me sound desperate?

    • October 11, 2012 8:15 pm

      I’m on the floor laughing right now…you crack me up!

  35. October 11, 2012 11:28 am

    My 8yo collects stuff like that too! Little plastic lids from the school ketchup (his friends give him theirs too)? Check. Rubber bands? Check. Beer bottle caps? Check. And on. Sigh…

    • October 11, 2012 8:16 pm

      Maya’s school doesn’t provide ketchup…I’m sort of fixated on the fact that your children get ketchup with lids!

      Just another difference between the California and New Jersey school districts…

  36. October 11, 2012 3:23 pm

    I have a girlfriend who recently found the homemade lunches her teenage son had stashed inside on of his bedroom pillow cases. The stench gave them away. Apparently he wanted hot lunch in the school cafeteria instead. So it could be worse. But maybe Maya just hasn’t gotten to that stage yet.

    • October 11, 2012 8:17 pm

      So confused…why didn’t he just throw them away? Why stash them in a pillow case? And he’s a teenager? I’m just super confused.

  37. Profiteroles & Ponytails permalink
    October 12, 2012 3:25 am

    There are times when we are drowning in artwork over here too! You must be ruthless! Otherwise there would be no room to sit anywhere!

  38. October 12, 2012 4:28 am

    I do this! If I didn’t we’d have to invite that hoarders show in. And my kids are on to me. Once my younger son asked what had happened to a toy boat (that was too young for him) and my other son said, “Mom probably got rid of it when you weren’t around.” Yep, I had.

    • October 16, 2012 2:36 pm

      When they call you on it, do you lie about it like I do? 🙂

  39. October 12, 2012 12:47 pm

    That recycled artwork has me dying! I can so relate to it as my kids make tons of ‘adorable’ masterpieces that unfortunately just don’t make the cut. I’ve taken to wallpapering the guest room with art that I can’t bear to throw away.

    • October 16, 2012 2:37 pm

      Now that’s an interesting idea…I’m sure your guests appreciate the unique wallpaper!

  40. October 12, 2012 2:37 pm

    Here’s an idea: why don’t you “sell” some of that artwork to Maya’s grandfather since he’s already throwing $100 bills at her? I mean, it’s basically fantastic from an investment standpoint for him. I hear plastic cutlery impaled art is going to be HUGE in 2025.

    • October 16, 2012 2:37 pm

      Cutlery impaled art…I love it. Seriously though, some of her stuff is no less qualified to be art than what I see in stores/online.

  41. willgoh2 permalink
    October 12, 2012 4:06 pm

    I do it all the time when the kiddo isn’t around. She is the cause of the depletion of our forrests -she draws so much.

    I photograph the pieces I like (it takes up much less room), and the original either gets sent to G’ma and G’pa or the recycle bin -shoved way down low. I only keep the ones that are super special.

    • October 16, 2012 2:38 pm

      Sometimes I find it hard to appreciate her art because I too cringe at how much paper she wastes. Isn’t that terrible?

  42. willgoh2 permalink
    October 12, 2012 4:07 pm


  43. October 14, 2012 4:53 am

    I have just begun collecting my daughter’s stuff as she has recently started school. But I take this as a heads up and prioritize my emotions against each of her creations before sticking them up on the fridge

    • October 16, 2012 2:38 pm

      Yes, our fridge is covered as well. It’s harder to get rid of stuff when it’s out in the open like that!

  44. October 15, 2012 9:35 am

    I will volunteer to throw out Maya’s stuff? Did you mention the $100 just to get an idiot like me to do so? I clearly had the wrong grandparents. On another note, throw it all out, she will not miss it and will like the order “less” brings though I bet she’s fairly familiar with order..just a guess, until you move to NYC I can’t come over and leave things around your apt just to bug you. Soon.

  45. October 15, 2012 10:51 am

    This is awesome. I say pick ONE piece of art from each year of life, and when the kid is 30, go through it all together with a few bottles and decided whether to keep or toss. You are a superb mother!

    • October 16, 2012 2:39 pm

      And you are a superb commenter. Love your idea Special K!

  46. October 15, 2012 3:17 pm

    I needed a laugh, expect to get that from you. 🙂 Awww… it would be hard trashing a kid’s art, but they seriously make so many of them. I wonder if you can donate this stuff. Love her room, pretty organized I’d say.

    • October 16, 2012 2:40 pm

      It’s pretty organized but mostly because I am constantly in there organizing and getting rid of stuff!!

  47. October 16, 2012 1:18 pm

    As a kid I used to be like Maya… I still have a lot of stuff but then i found a way to kinda let go. The thing that works for me is taking pictures of all those things that I know I need to see but don’t have the space to hold on to.
    For example my grandfather used to travel by bus for a long time and he used to have the bus ticket which he used to pass on to me and I, like a very nice person would collect it all. At some point I had a ton of them and I refused to let go after he passed away. Then came along the wondrous digital camera – I didn’t have to bother about wasting reel!!! yay!!! so I started clicking pic of all those things that I should have thrown away and then actually threw it away. So now I have a lot of virtual space that I use for ‘hoarding’ and move on.

    What do you think? 😉

    • October 16, 2012 2:40 pm

      I think that I might ask Maya to start taking more pictures and then having her get rid of stuff. I actually really love that idea! Now I just need to get her a camera phone. 🙂

  48. caloricandcrazy permalink
    October 16, 2012 7:00 pm

    My sister was like this! When we used to go on road trips and vacations, she’d always want to bring a carry-on and kiddie roller suitcase stuffed with the most random things!

  49. October 24, 2012 9:55 am

    OMG. My husband’s grandmother recently sent us a HUGE folder full of things he drew/colored/what have you when he was a little kid. Seriously?! What am I supposed to do with that? It’s sweet she saved all of that stuff – for the last 20 years – but if she’d have thrown it away, none of us would’ve ever known!

  50. Gayatri permalink
    October 31, 2012 3:58 pm

    You’re a practical person, not heartless. If my mom had kept every little thing I made as a kid, I would have to pay thousands of dollars in excess baggage fees each time I moved to a new country.

    • October 31, 2012 8:48 pm

      Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so practical because I think I’d be much happier if I could just enjoy life a bit more!


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