What To Do If Your Kids Don’t Want The Treasures You Saved

What To Do If Your Kids Don’t Want The Treasures You Saved

You saved things for your kids over the years. Lots of things.

~~ the outfit they wore home from the hospital ~~ baby teeth ~~ locks of hair ~~ report cards ~~ their first tricycle ~~ favorite stuffies and toys ~~ elementary school artwork ~~ ribbons and trophies ~~ and more! ~~

Your kids are grown now and in their own homes. You’re downsizing or at least see it on the horizon. It’s the perfect time to pass on the treasures you saved for them.

Screeching halt! Your kids don’t want most—or any—of it. Ouch!!

What To Do

Take a Long Look

Take a look at what you saved. Offering a manageable quantity (maximum of two bins; one is better), is more appealing than offering too much. In 20+ years as a professional organizer, I haven’t run into anyone who wants their baby teeth—perhaps someone out there does, but I haven’t met them yet. Another place to pare down is worksheets and artwork. Keep the best of the best but let the rest go. Your goal is to paint a picture and tell a story (pun intended), not do a data dump.

Head shot of a little girl holding her tooth that just came out

Face the Fear

You may worry that your children will regret later not accepting these things. It’s time to start a two-way communication. Share with your kids why you think they may regret discarding these things. Now, LISTEN. Are they saying they want some things, but not all? Pare down more. Are they saying they have no connection with these things? Give them history and context so they can make a more informed decision. Don’t override their feelings; work with those feelings.

Take a Minute

Perhaps your children are thinking they might want these treasures but don’t want them right now. Let them know honestly how long you can keep these things before they need to take them or you’ll have to start discarding. (Be as generous as possible, but consider your needs too). You can even set a date to revisit the decision later. The goal is to create a space for the kids to reconsider their decisions without feeling coerced.

Transition to freedom

Shift the Focus

It may be necessary to release the emotional ties to possessions, but it’s hard! Understand your kids have their own preferences, styles, and path to follow. That’s okay. When they say don’t want the things, that’s all they’re doing. They’re not saying they don’t want you or their childhood memories. Remember, these are YOUR memories, not necessarily THEIRS.

Prioritize Connection

Instead of focusing on the items you’ve saved, invest in new experiences that strengthen your bond with your children. This could be going on adventures together, sharing hobbies, or simply spending time together. THESE moments are your connection. Your legacy as a parent is not measured by the things you pass down, but by the love, support, and guidance you provide as your children grow AND navigate adulthood.

Mementos and memories are awesome! And if your kids want them, terrific. If they don’t, you can learn to be OK with that. Either way, the future is for making new memories and finding new treasures together. Don’t forget to focus on that.

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