The Trouble with Treasures

May 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Posted in Bun, Giggles, Lollipop | 21 Comments
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We collect things. (And by “we,” I mean everyone in my house under age 6.)

It borders on obsession. (And by “obsession,” I mean, well, obsession.)

Treasure map.

Rocks. Sticks. Seeds. Acorns. Leaves. Pamphlets from the doctor’s office. Bits of ribbon. Bits of bark. Paper scraps. Glue-sticks lids. Old keys. Lollipop wrappers. Junk mail. Junk-mail envelopes. Broken pencils. Barbie hairbrushes. Pony hairbrushes. Full Tic Tac boxes. Empty Tic Tac boxes. Full Tic Tac boxes that mysteriously become empty Tic Tac boxes. Bouncy balls. Straws. Take-out menus. Subscription cards from inside magazines. Flower petals. Yogurt lids (washed, of course … okay, mostly washed). Found coins. Business cards. Buttons. Toilet-paper rolls. Little circles from inside the hole punch.

The kiddos collect by day. And I discard by night.

With secrecy, stealth, nonchalance, and not a single ounce of Mommy guilt. Because, otherwise, I would be overrun by detritus, miscellany, and things that decay.

Occasionally, my ever-zealous Giggles will find one of his treasures that I thought I had tucked out of sight in the recycle bin — the cellophane address window from the weed service advertisement, for example.

The day’s bounty.

“Mooooooooooooooooom! I was saaaaaaaaaaaaaving this. It’s important! Who. Threw. It. Away??” His words flick through the air like darts.

I do what any self-respecting mother who values clutter-free space and aims to minimize the time she spends vacuuming each day. I lie.

“I have no idea, sweetheart.”

And after he’s in bed, I sneak in and tuck his animal blankie up around his chin. I put his favorite stuffed mouse on his pillow next to him. I brush the soft blond tendrils from his forehead.

And with one deft, nearly invisible swipe, I take his treasure from wherever he’s re-hidden it. And I throw it away. Again.

Because there’s more treasure waiting to be discovered tomorrow. And the next day … and the next day … and the next day …

Do you expect to see your kids on Hoarders one day? How do you handle “treasure”? And what did you collect as a child?


Z is for my zealous hoarders. See more Zs at Jenny’s on Thursday.

Jenny Matlock



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  1. Love this!

  2. Theory here, not practice but I’ve heard it works for others. 1 box. once the box is full, they have to sort it and figure out what to keep, sell, donate, trash. 🙂

  3. I wish I had read a post like this 6 years ago. I live this (or shall I say, I live *in* this) – the mountain of “collections” from the legitimate (Legos, rocks) to the questionable (junk mail envelope inserts, used gift wrap, even used french fry containers (though I *do* draw the line at that)). My problem is that I’d always felt guilty throwing things away, doing things behind his back. But the truth is he really doesn’t miss any of it…he has so much stuff he can’t even keep track of it all. But I was never organized either and I never developed the proper skills to manage my environment. I know I have to teach him now before it gets any harder. My son’s a little older, so now I try and have him get rid of or organize the stuff himself, hoping that the trauma of organizing and cleaning will teach him to think twice before bringing things in the house or making the decision to keep something rather than tossing it.


  4. Oh how I love this post, Stacia. it makes me grin BIG, remembering all the odds and ends of “treasures” my boys gathered. (And I still have a small treasure box of odd items from my own childhood – tiny things – and I’m so glad I do.)

    My boys’ treasures? The perishables are long gone, but just a few things are, I’m sure, lost under their beds where they’ve no doubt been for nearly a decade…


  5. I know so much fun to ‘collect’ ~ it is the weeding out that is work! ~ Enjoy the fun ~ great post ^_^

  6. I think my son and I could both be on the show. I come from a long line of people who collect things that may one day be useful for something.

  7. maybe if my mother had stopped me hoarding these kind of treasures I in turn would have stopped my kids multiply by 5 and it gives you an idea of the detritis I have been dealing with over the last few months . Do now Mommy while you still can you will be thankfull you did

  8. Great post! I remember doind the same when my kids were little and now I do it with the grands! 🙂

  9. My kids were collectors, too. I can’t tell you how many odd things turned up at the bottom of my washing machine, having been missed by me in their original pocket hiding places!


  10. Sounds like you already handle this really well…Great post. My Z effort:

  11. Aws! Love this post 🙂


  12. I think most of us collect things – can sometimes come in really useful!

    Great post!

  13. I love the post! You have a great idea! I collect way too many things even now as an adult! I need to downsize and it is hard to do! I have always loved dolls and enjoyed collecting them as a kid as well as an adult! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Nodding my head to this one. Glad to know I’m not the only one who tosses treasures.

  15. Making me smile. We also, are collectors. Everything the kiddos find at the farm are treasures. I spend countless times putting back special rocks, old bones and acorns. They never tire of finding treasures…

  16. It’s hard not to be a hoarder if you are a collector of things, isn’t it?!!! I need to thin out some of our stuff!

  17. YES!! I toss stuff all the time around here. And when I get caught, I just blame the toddler. I’m in trouble when he starts to string more words together.

  18. I throw, throw, throw. With no guilt whatsoever. 🙂

  19. I wholeheartedly expect my boys to be on Hoarders someday…and saying it was b/c I threw everything away!!! 😉

  20. Thanks for being honest about lying.

  21. I love this post!

    It sounds so much like my Grandlittles. Especially the middle one!

    She is forever saying, ‘This is for my collection!’

    I am thinking…”Ummmm…I can probably throw this stick/rock/bb pellet, etc. away when she’s not looking!”

    Thanks for the smile.

    And thanks for linking.


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