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7 Ways to Make Sure Your Kids Don’t Grow Up to Be Hoarders

It’s crossed your mind… could you be raising a hoarder? How can you make sure your kid doesn’t grow up to be a hoarder? Whether this question has popped in your head because you have a tendency to hoard or if you feel that your child just can’t let go of ANYTHING, you’re in the right place.

Start implementing these 7 tips to make sure your kids don’t grow up to be hoarders starting today.

HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR KIDS DON'T TURN INTO HOARDERS

What Is a Hoarder?

Hoarding disorder can be a mental health condition in which a person regularly struggles to get rid of or throw away personal items. Hoarding disorder needs to be diagnosed by a medical professional.

But you can have hoarding tendencies without fully suffering clinically from the disorder.

Knowing these 13 signs of being a hoarder can really help you to recognize the condition in yourself or in your child.

What causes hoarding disorder?

Because hoarding condition is a mental health condition it is more likely to develop as a result of another mental health condition. Many hoarders also suffer from:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • OCD
  • bipolar disorder
  • schizophrenia
  • other mental health conditions

If your child has any of these conditions, they are more likely to develop hoarding disorder.

In this article, we will cover 7 ways to make sure your kids don’t grow up to be hoarders. By implementing these tips, you have a great chance of not raising a hoarder and nipping those hoarding tendencies in the bud right now.

1. Take care of your own hoarding.

It’s important to practice what you preach here.

If your child sees you stacking loads of old items in the garage making it useless for parking and useful only for storage, shoving closets so full they can barely close, and cluttering shelves with stacks of papers, how can you expect them not to hoard?

Let them SEE you clean up, let them see you let go of physical items, have conversations with them about WHY you’re letting go of your items.

If you set a good example of a healthy relationship with physical items, trash, and mementos they will be more likely to follow suit.

Spring cleaning your house with my free printables every year is a great way to kick off healthier cleaning and storing habits, that you can continue implementing as a family.

2. Teach them to clean up their own things.

Ways to Make Sure Your Kids Don't Grow Up to Be Hoarders

I know this is easier said than done, especially depending on your child’s age. Sometimes it’s just simpler to clean up after them yourself than to deal with the whining and extra patience required to get them to clean up after themselves on a regular basis.

But it’s important.

Even toddlers can learn to help clean up after themselves when they make a mess with their toys. Yes, taking time to have a small person clean takes patience and it takes way longer. But is it worth it for the multiple lessons it teaches?

Absolutely.

Learning to be responsible for their own toy messes can also give them a better idea of when they might have too many toys. You can apply that in next tip!

3. Teach them to sort through their old items every season.

For most children, parting with their old items is hard. They tend to want to keep toys that they never play with, everything they’ve ever created, and every favorite clothing item they’ve ever owned. With their short time here on earth, these items hold up so much space in their memories.

They may truly still see value in all of these things. But you can gently guide them to learn how to sort through and discard, donate, or find some other way to get rid of their things.

This process may be very difficult at first, but I promise each time you sort through old items with your child it gets a little bit easier. After a couple of years, they might even enjoy the out with the old, in with the new process.

Explain how you donate their old items that they have outgrown to thrift shops or clothing banks. Share with them that another child who may not have had the opportunity to have so many toys or clothes will love their old things.

Be sure they know that their old things that they don’t even play with or fit in any longer will go to another child who can use them. That always seems to resonate with my kids (after a while at least).

It’s also important to teach them what is trash and what does need to be thrown out.

If your child has OCD, depression, or anxiety this process can make those feelings bigger. It is still (and maybe even more so) important to teach those children this skill because it is naturally more difficult for them, you just might need to do it at a gentler pace.

If not addressed they may become hoarders..

4. Teach them about recycling.

family recycling to Make Sure their Kids Don't Grow Up to Be Hoarders

Knowing the best ways to get rid of our waste, why we do it that way, and that some of our trash can help make something new is an important lesson. If your child struggles with throwing away trash because they see the value in it, learning about recycling and doing it together as a family can be helpful.

If your child is very into drawing you can find yourself very quickly accumulating more precious little images than you know what to do with. If you add in another child or who with this same passion, you can accumulate enough to wallpaper your entire house in a matter of months.

Eventually, you’re going to have to let some go… maybe a lot of it. But instead of being a stressful event, this can be an afternoon of memories and bonding.

Allow your child to sort through their drawings with you and make a pile to recycle to make more paper for more drawings, a pile to keep, and perhaps a pile to send to family members. The third option comes in handy when they want to keep more than you want to store. Because Grandma and Grandpa would probably love a few on their fridge, and Auntie and Uncle might too!

5. Teach them about upcycling.

If your child tends to see value in trash or even old things like worn-out clothes, you can teach them about upcycling. Not everything needs to be tossed in the trash, but you also don’t want to hoard every possible item that could have upcycling potential either. Here are some fun upcycling ideas to bring out your child’s crafty side and help them learn about upcycling instead of hoarding:

6. Teach them alternative ways to keep mementos.

Even adults have trouble letting go of physical items that hold memories for us. Our late grandma’s knick-knacks and our children’s baptism outfits for example. It’s normal to hold onto physical items that carry memories. However, a hoarder will not be able to let go of anything because every item either has a memory or value to them in their mind.

Even as adults we can struggle to let go of items that hold memories… but you can’t keep them all. Teach your children that there are other ways to remember fun and special times in their lives than holding onto every single object.

For example, if they have too many large pieces of art or crafts that they’ve made in school offer to take a picture of the item so they can remember it forever. It’s a lot easier to store a digital photo or two when compared to a paper mache globe and a forest diorama.

7. Address their mental health struggles.

The root cause of hoarding is a struggle with mental health. If you notice hoarding tendencies in your child (or if you try the above-mentioned tips and find an abnormal amount of resistance) consider having your child see a therapist.

There is a chance there is an underlying issue such as depression, anxiety, or OCD. These can cause your child to seek control, stability, and reminders of things that make them happy to a degree that may be unhealthy. When mental health is well managed, hoarding is as well.

These 7 Tips Will Help Your Kids Not Grow Up To Be Hoarders

I hope learning to apply these tips right away really helps your household’s hoarding tendencies.

With your support, your child doesn’t have to grow up to be a hoarder.

By learning to clean, sort, discard, recycle, upcycle, and care for their mental health your child is on a great path to having a healthy relationship with physical objects.

And the best thing about these tips is that you can begin implementing them right away.

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