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Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

Posted by trilobite (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 27, 11 at 11:11

Hi, I need a bit of moral support.

I just had a baby daughter and my hoarding-y mother just brought over some of my baby toys that she's been holding onto for forty years.

Most of this stuff was probably handed down when I used it forty years ago. It's chewed into oblivion and smells like must. My partner's reaction, "Ewww, there's things growing in them!" (Not really, but the condition is pretty bad.)

I should just toss this stuff without looking back, but I feel these tugs of reluctance. Can someone talk me through this?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

Toss them.

If you had a really good reason to keep them, you would already know why, and you would likely have posted that reason. Having "tugs" is a vague justification to spin and haggle in your brain instead of making a decision.

I didn't read a single good reason why you should keep them.

My way of providing moral support here is holding your hand and telling you the blunt truth of what I read.

Toss them.
Gayle


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Another thing

Don't think I'm mean. I'm not.

My further thoughts behind this is: Learn the mistakes from others. Put aside a couple keepsakes for your own daughter. Don't go overboard. Keep them clean and well-stored.

For what it's worth, my 5yr old has no recollection of her favorite baby items. Chewed stuff is gross, and she would think so too. She appreciates cuddling and me telling her stories of her baby times and things she/we did. She doesn't want the stuff. She wants you.
Gayle


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

First of all, congrats on your new baby!!

My mother also has hoarding tendencies (it's amazing some of the stuff she has kept)! However, none of us kids let her push the stuff onto us. She knows if she gives it to us, it's going in the trash. This way the decision to keep or pitch, really falls back on her because "storing" in my house is not an option. At times my mother has gotten upset because I don't share her sentimental attachment to "things". She'll say "but I kept this all these years for you to have one day". And I'll say "yes, but I don't need "things" to remind me that I had a wonderful childhood or that I was loved as a child or that we traveled here or there, etc". The key is to not make my mother feel that we are rejecting our past (or her), but rather rejecting the "stuff".

Give thought to why you feel reluctant to throw the stuff away. And give thought to what you would tell your best friend to do?

If you're really having trouble just throwing the stuff away, try to find a compromise. Consider taking a few pictures of the toys. That way (in the future) you can still "walk down memory lane" in looking at the photos (without having to hang on to the actual toys). Okay, going a few steps further. Do you have an artistic eye? Maybe a black and white photo of your baby toys, juxtaposed next to a color photo of your daughters toys and hung on the wall in her nursery. Or maybe the photo of your old toys put in a shadow box with one of your toys placed on top and hung in her nursery.

Good luck.


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

Having "tugs" is a vague justification to spin and haggle in your brain instead of making a decision.

She appreciates cuddling and me telling her stories of her baby times and things she/we did. She doesn't want the stuff. She wants you.

So true Gayle0000! And I don't think you're mean at all, I need a push.

My mother also has hoarding tendencies (it's amazing some of the stuff she has kept)! However, none of us kids let her push the stuff onto us. She knows if she gives it to us, it's going in the trash.

Thanks for the congratulations jlt, I'm very fortunate!

I'm having difficulty with that firm but kind "into the trash it goes!", so I need to work on that. It's complicated by the fact that my mother is one of the most obtuse individuals imaginable. It's really difficult to say something enough times so that it makes an impact on her without becoming rude. I suppose I should just look at the process as modeling good behavior. :)

I am definitely taking some pictures. One of these items would even make a pretty shadowbox (old "keys" for chewing on). And even if no one ever looks at the photos but me, it serves the purpose of helping me let stuff go.

Thanks again all.


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

Trilobite--a baby? Yay! happy, happy to you.

I was going to suggest the pictures.
You might also close your eyes and let your partner throw stuff out.

I wish my mother had NOT saved my favorite stuffed animal. It was so faded and misshaped that it nearly ruined my wonderful memory of what it was like in real life.


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

Congratulations on your new baby, Trilobite. I was going to suggest photos, too. That is what we did with the very 50s lamps my mother had "saved" for me. We sold them to a funky furniture store after taking a photo.

Your mother may be obtuse, but she obviously thought of your childhood as a precious time to be savored. My mother is a total packrat, and my siblings and I all agree that we will say "thank you mom" and take the stuff straight to the thrift store (or the trash can, depending on the condition) unless one of us speaks up. So far, no one has spoken up that they want something!

Some additional motivators - the fabric toys likely have dust mites, the plastic used back then may not be safe, and anything metal will be rusty or dangerous.

Old picture books might be salvaged, but that is a lot of work. You could scan and toss.

Enjoy your baby and your clean house.


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

"I should just toss this stuff without looking back, but I feel these tugs of reluctance. Can someone talk me through this?"

trilobite congrats on your baby. What are you telling yourself about the toys that makes your reluctant? Is it because you dont want to offend your mother by tossing them? do you feel an attachment to them yourself?

what would it take you to get rid of them? maybe telling yourself that it's not healthy for your new baby to play with musty old toys, or that throwing them out does not reflect how you feel about your mother - give yourself a reason to toss them and focus on that.


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

Certainly the first question is, as your mother obviously intended: can your new baby play with this stuff? Likely, no, especially if your husband objects. Second question, can it be given away? Likely also not. Maybe some of it is recyclable plastic? At least not contributing to landfill.

Why did your mother keep this? It may or may not be that she thinks fondly of your childhood, more likely she wants to be thanked and appreciated for keeping it. I have one of these obtuse mothers-in-law, and I can't give her the good feelings she needs, but maybe you can do this for your own mom. So at least thank her.

OK, so she's a hoarder - not a criminal offense. Somehow the arrival of the grandchild has provided the permission she needed to get rid of it, and to hand it over to you, That's what got her past her tugs.

Now, for you to get past your tugs may take something else, and I'm sorry, but I don't see that you have to force yourself in some way. We go through stages, and can be forgiven for that. If you're not ready - and this is an emotional time for you. Some of it may indeed be gross beyond keeping, and you may have no problems with tossing that, but for others, why cause regrets for yourself? For you to keep one or two items is also not a criminal offense, even if your daughter does not play with them. You might just keep each item until your daughter is through the age where she would play with it, and you see that she doesn't need it. I kept a pair of jeans from my youth until my daughter was old enough to wear them or not. She stayed more petite than I ever was, so they were never an option for her, and I gave them away without regret when that became clear. So sue me, but it made me happy.

I would take it on an item-by-item basis, give yourself permission to keep some even if just for a while, and maybe there is one thing that, as suggested above with photos, could be hung on the wall or something, or it can just tucked away. You have a right to your memories or feelings for these objects. But if you go item by item, you may find it is only one or two that you really care about.

Or none. But if you begin by giving yourself permission to care about it and keep some, then at least you will have no regrets.

KarinL


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

Thanks again for the congratulations and the insights. After giving it some thought, I've come to some conclusions.

I have worked hard to get where I am today in terms of letting stuff go. For some reason, the stuff that I acquired when I had real issues is still harder to let go than the stuff I've acquired recently. So these objects (being older) are just really difficult for me.

That said, there's only one thing I really remember fondly and unfortunately it does need to go, it's terribly chewed up.

Also, the whole thing brings up all kinds of "Mom issues". I've been going through a lot of this recently, all this stuff I thought I was good with has gotten churned up with the pregnancy and the baby.

My mother is very attached to the past, my partner has pointed out that it's like her ability to process new things stopped some time in the 1970s. We have some theories as to why this is, but it can be VERY frustrating to deal with.

It's also tied to issues she has with her own upbringing, her mother/my grandmother was a troubled woman, an alcoholic and generally difficult personality. My mother does a lot of dwelling on the limitations of her parents (especially her mother) and keeping their shortcomings a living memory. I know there's pain there, but it's hard for me not to be resentful, with a child's old resentment of competing with a parent's unresolved demons.

Whew! I feel like I wrote a book there and got a bit overshare-y, but better out than in. I don't want my daughter affected by this stuff.


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys - revisited.

Thanks again for the congratulations and the insights. After giving it some thought, I've come to some conclusions.

I have worked hard to get where I am today in terms of letting stuff go. For some reason, the stuff that I acquired when I had real issues is still harder to let go than the stuff I've acquired recently. So these objects (being older) are just really difficult for me.

That said, there's only one thing I really remember fondly and unfortunately it does need to go, it's terribly chewed up.

Also, the whole thing brings up all kinds of "Mom issues". I've been going through a lot of this recently, all this stuff I thought I was good with has gotten churned up with the pregnancy and the baby.

My mother is very attached to the past, my partner has pointed out that it's like her ability to process new things stopped some time in the 1970s. We have some theories as to why this is, but it can be VERY frustrating to deal with.

It's also tied to issues she has with her own upbringing, her mother/my grandmother was a troubled woman, an alcoholic and generally difficult personality. My mother does a lot of dwelling on the limitations of her parents (especially her mother) and keeping their shortcomings a living memory. I know there's pain there, but it's hard for me not to be resentful, with a child's old resentment of competing with a parent's unresolved demons.

Whew! I feel like I wrote a book there and got a bit overshare-y, but better out than in. I don't want my daughter affected by this stuff.


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

A safety issue you might consider.....how many of those toys would even be ALLOWED to be on the market now? With so many regulations that have gone into effect (small parts/choking hazards) you have to be sure they are even safe. I know even old baby beds and high chairs are still causing problems because people have "saved" them for decades. I'd rather see MY baby (in my case, it is grandchildren!) have clean, safe, NEW toys!


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

trilobite I have this mantra when I still get really stuck on tossing something I know I should, I tell myself "it's just stuff" and that helps me see it differently without all the guilt and emotional attachments (and it was hard work getting to this point and it sounds like you've been on your own journey). But the way I try to look at things now is it is all just stuff, some of it is useful, some of it is not, some is just passed its use-by date (that's the category I'd put these toys in) but it doesn't define who we are or our past or our relationships.

honestly, whenever I give something away I let it go, if the person uses it, sells it, gets rid of it i dont care because by giving it away I dont control it anymore, so just like your mother giving these things to you, does not mean you have to keep them for her sake if they arent useful to you, that's not fair on you and your house is not a dumping ground for old hoarded items. If you mother asks "where are those toys I gave you for the baby?" just tell her you put them through the wash and they fell apart or something like that, no ones feelings get hurt and it's done but sometimes that's the only way to deal with guilt trips.


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

My mother saved all my old toys ,as well as my three siblings'. She kept everything in the basement, yes, damp, cold, insect and spider infested. Yuck! It's been down ther over 40 years. I occasionally take a look at it. everything is moldy,smelly, no one would want it. When my kids were born, I took nothing from Mom's hoard. I had taken a couple (yes,exactly two) books I had enjoyed for myself. But I didn't want any of that rotted decayed mess. Oh, and to add to it, Mom had belonged to The Book of The Month club and stored all her books down there. No classics, just novels from the 1940's and 50's. To add to the dust and must. Now she's dead and we kids have to clean out the basement. Anybody want Barbie with her hair cut off ?


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

Yes I had an original 1950's Barbie, but I gave her a Very Bad Haircut. She's down in Mom's basement with the moldy dusty toys and books. Mom was convinced everything was "valuable" and should not ber thrown away. I know for a fact she had a hard-bound SECOND edition of "Gone With The Wind." Anybody want this junk?


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

Toy Story 3

I echo the photography suggestions. I was even thinking a kid in a local high school photography class might take it on as a project.

Jannie, if you find an old book 'Teller of Tales', a 1930s collection of short stories (compiled by Maugham), I'll take it!


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

I've got ALL my childhood stuff. I'm talking closets full. Last summer I had to throw out all my stuffed animals that I had in my garage loft because a raccoon got into everything and it was all disgusting. THAT is what it takes for me to part with my stuff.

But I'm realizing how much space all this junk is taking up and I have to do something. I have boys...they aren't even going to want to look at all my girl toys. I've decided I'm going to take pictures of all of it and then it either gets pitched or donated. (and the stuff I'm pitching is crazy stuff like notes....I seriously kept everything) It's a lot easier to store digital photos than tubs, boxes and bags of stuff!

Maybe you could talk it over with your mom and she could come over and go through it all with you, take photos with you...a day full of memories. You could even video that...stories she tells you of the toys or whatever. Tell her it holds memories for both of you, but spending time with her going through it all and taking photos would mean a lot more to you than just having boxes of toys in a closet.


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

We had a lot of stuff stored in our garage-items of furniture, books, you name it. Even out of season clothing in sealed plastic tote boxes. Till one winter day when it rained and rained and rained-the garage roof somehow gave way and everything in there got soaked. So on a cold (but still not freezing) March day we moved all the damaged stuff to the curb. Including a huge mirror we were storing for SIL who had moved into an apartment. The mirror broke. We said nothing to her. If she ever asks for it back, we'll tell her the truth. Carried the books in, piled them on our dining room table to dry. Opened one and a spider climbed out. Sprayed everything with Raid. Once they dried, the pages of the books were all stuck together and many bindings were falling off. Threw them away too. Everything in that darned garage ended up being chucked out. Our memories are all we have left. Yes, there was a nice bentood rocker MIL gave us when our first baby was born. She imagined I woukd sit and rock and feed baby in that chair,never happened.


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

It is possible that some of those old toys are valuable, too. I would check before throwing anything away.


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

I beg to disagree with happyladi.

If those old toys were not stored correctly (dry and clean), with the original packaging, they are NOT collectible or valuable. A '50's Barbie with cut hair, no box, and a bit of mold is garbage. So are mildewed books, no matter how old. If they've been in a damp basement or attic for years, I would never let them near an infant!

Old plastic toys should be immediately trashed. Plastic from 30 years ago was even less stable than those we have now. The life of a plastic toy is only about 10 years. Throw that dangerous crap OUT!

Trilobite's mother has a problem with saving CRAP. Trilobite does not need, and should not, continue with this.


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

Mary, you are right, if everything is in bad condition then it should be thrown away.


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RE: Talk me through this - tossing my old toys.

And think of all the toy and baby crib recalls over the years. Even tho I kept my daughters bassinett in the attic, covered with a sheet, i will be tossing it soon. Too dangerous for a new grandchild. Bow I'm thinking too far ahead-my daughters aren't even engaged. Heck, they're both still in school.


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