Tuesday, January 18, 2011

having an eco friendly kid, and let them have their toys too?

Pokemon Toys on the kids dresser

The other day i was wandering the house trying to pick up the things that the kid left out, mostly hair accessories and jewelry. And the past few weeks i have been trying to make my closet a CLOSET and not a storage for boxes left over from the move. You are probably wondering what these two things have in common... my kid. All of the boxes are full of her things. Things she has collected and saved during her 11 years on this planet {there were 10 boxes when i started, i am down to 7 and still going through them all}

My kid is a collector of everything. And rightfully so, i should have put a stop to it years ago, but i did not. She started collecting Pokemon when she was 2. First it was cards, then the little plastic figures, then the stuffed animals, and then there are a few posters and coins and strange nic-nacks that go with her collection. She collects keychains as a trinket from all of our vacations. She collects pins that say funny things. She collects rocks {no joke. any rock in her life that she found to be "pretty" she kept it}. She collects coins from around the world. She also collects rare American coins. She collects/saves every card anyone gives her... heck it doesn't even have to be a card, write a note on a piece of paper and she will keep it. She has a hoarder side for sure! And it isn't so much that she keeps things. I'm ok with keeping things that you treasure and that will stand the test of time. She takes it a step further... once she starts, she doesn't want to stop. It is now part of a "collection" which is truly a collection of junk... for the most part.

A few years ago a friend of mine Karyn wrote a blog entry that i couldn't get out of my head these past few days. She wrote about how not having kids made her more eco conscious. And i remember reading that back in Feb 2009 and thinking, "my kid can't consume that much, she's just a tiny kid." But now that i am sitting her trying to figure out the Trash pile, the Goodwill pile, and the "oh my God are you kidding me, why the hell are you seriously keeping this crap" pile... i think Kayrn was spot on in her thinking!

Now, i would not trade my kid for anything in the world. I love her to pieces. But kids are a major contributor of the current eco system we find ourselves in. Take ANY kid under the age of 10 to a store and the first thing they say, "can we go to the toy isle?" And sure enough, that kid will complain their way into a new junk, er, i mean toy. It's bombarded into their brain on a daily basis.... BUY BUY BUY. The breakfast cereal has a junk toy inside of it, so they want the cereal that has a toy in it. The cartoons they watch before school have commercials telling them about how cool the newest toys are. Then all day at school they have Billy and Janie telling them all about their toys and how cool they are, and if you kid doesn't have what the other kids have... they now want what the other kids have!

I'm not sure what, if anything, we as parents can do to break the wants and desires of the children. I do know that by the time Claire was 7 i had her convinced of being more ECO friendly when it came to toys. It also helped that all of her Barbie toys were tainted with LEAD {thank you China!} and she had to throw them all away. She isn't exactly the best eco kid on the planet, but she hasn't asked for the toy isle since age 7.

Yesterday i turned my kid onto thrift stores. At first i took her to Goodwill a few weeks ago and her reaction was "ICK! can we leave? it SMELLS really bad in here!!!" but yesterday i took her to a thrift store and she was like a kid in a candy store looking at all of the old, previously used, still perfectly good, already manufactured, made to last things. She only bought 1 thing with her own money, a painting. But it is a start in the right direction.

My goal is to put her on a path to keep things OUT of the landfills by donating her gently used toys + not buying so many toys to begin with. We've always been big on recycling and reusing anything that we can. We donate and only trash things that are truly trash. But i think when it comes to a life with kids... it really is hard to live a truly eco conscious life style.

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