Help! To begin with, I am married to the absolutely worst packrat in the world. It has always been like pulling teeth to get him to throw or give things away, and he gets upset if I throw them away without asking him. We live in a tiny house with two children, and there is simply not enough space to keep everything. There have been times when I have wondered if he is slightly mentally ill, although he does not have the classic signs (keeping things like newspapers and so on). Without me, he would live in a place that was knee-deep in stuff; and though he has learned from me, it is still a constant struggle keeping space for all of us to move and live.
I have managed to live with this aspect of him for 13 years, and we have worked out a kind of balance, though there is still way too much stuff in our lives. However, recently I've noticed that our three and a half year old daughter has the same problem.
She will not get rid of anything, even if she's grown out of it, and never wears or uses it. When I suggest that she get rid of things that she never wears or plays with, she cries and promises she will wear/play with them ''tomorrow'', or ''sometime''.
Up until now I have sneaked things away when she is out of the house, and she never notices (after all, these are things that she never looks at, right?). But recently I am worried that she is going to be like my husband, and this sneaking thing will only work for so long. And I absolutely cannot live with two of them, I would really lose my mind.
My question is, are there any parents out there who have successfully trained their children to happily get rid ot things? Especially if they were originally packrats? I feel very strongly that your things should be used or at least noticed and loved, or you shouldn't have them. Are there any tips or tricks to teaching your children this, and helping them to learn to let things go without it being traumatic? I should note that I am certainly not a spartan myself, but I do like to keep my things circulating, and often give things I love to others who would use them more or love them more. Curiously, having children has helped my husband, as well. Thanks for any help you can give!