My kids are hoarders. Both of them. I used to talk mainly about Mazzy, but Harlow has reached hoarder status too. THAT’S HER DESK ABOVE. If you compare it to this post, you’ll see it’s gotten significantly worse in just a couple of months. It’s because my kids like to add new things without ever throwing things out. Harlow collects things like lip balms, shopkins and squishies. She also thinks that anything anyone has ever given her, from a birthday gift to a drawing at school, is very very special.

ME (holding up paper with single pencil heart drawn on one side): Harlow, can we throw this out?

HARLOW: No! Ella made that for me!

ME: Oh, you didn’t even make this yourself? Then we can definitely part with it, don’t you think?

HARLOW: NO!!! Weren’t you listening?? Ella MADE that for me!!!!

If I thought other kid’s lame drawings were trash, you can only imagine what I think about Harlow’s other collection— the cardboard backgrounds that come on the backs of doll and figurine packaging. Harlow likes to save these cardboard backgrounds, because they “set the scene” when she plays with her dolls. What I would give for Mattel to just sell a Barbie with a plain white cardboard backing instead of something that looks like a beach or a dance class.

As I’ve been talking about incessantly (and posting all week in my Instagram stories), we are currently going through a purge to prepare for a major renovation of our apartment. We’ve been working really hard with the kids to let go of their hoarding ways and THROW STUFF OUT. But before I talk about that, I want to talk about the stuff that your kids hoard too.

I asked you guys on my facebook page to share all the bizarre things that your kids can’t part with and OH MY GOD, there were so many great responses. The most popular thing that kids collect? Rocks. So many rocks. But there are more creative collections too.

50 Kids with the Most Random Hoarding Problems:

1) “My husband is a pharmacist. When we go by and see him, my boys love getting the birth control pill dispensers. We have them everywhere and they insist on carrying them around.” – Jessica

2) “My daughter insists on saving the tags from EVERYTHING. Every single toy. Every piece of clothing.” – Michelle

3) “My kids save the plastic portion of hot wheels packaging. They call them “garages.” – Megan

4) “LEGO instruction booklets drive me nuts. My son uses them one time to put together a set. Then that same set eventually gets separated and the pieces absorbed into the larger collection of LEGO. But weeks or months later, my son goes crazy trying to put a specific set together, but the specialty pieces are impossible to find!” – Alexandria

5) “My kids argue over who gets to keep that little plastic prong thing that holds the pizza together when you get delivery. Why? I have no clue.” – Ilana

6) “I had to wrestle a large amazon box away from my daughter last night. She was watching her iPad and eating dinner in it. The styrofoam inserts had already been haggled over after they were used in some science experiments” – Jessica

7) “My 5 year old has a rock collection. They have names. This is Wolfy.” – Melissa

8) “We have too many old, greasy placemats from restaurants where we gave Theo crayons to occupy himself and a masterpiece was created! We literally had to take one home to NYC from a Vancouver restaurant because it was SO special.” – Jennifer

9) “My kid sleeps with old birthday cards these days and plastic plates on occasion” – Amy

10) “You know at the store when they pull the plastic bags off and at the end is a little clump of plastic that was holding all the bags on the hook??? No? Well you are lucky because my kid was obsessed with taking them and would search all the check out lines for them.” – Keri

11) “Toothbrushes! He gets a new one and can’t let the old ones go!” – Shevon

12) “My girls found some little red plastic “beads” outside in our neighborhood that they just had to save (I think they’re plastic pellets from an airsoft gun, and how they got in our yard is a whole other situation I don’t want to think about). They insisted on collecting all they could find and stashed them away. I suggested we get rid of them, but my girls acted like they were precious jewels that had to be saved at all costs.” – Kristi

13) “Photos on the iPad! Heaven forbid mom deletes one of the 47 blurry photos of your eyeball or one of the 102 photos of the tv screen.” – Sarah

14) “My 6 year-old son also loves to keep tags and packaging from things that he receives. I tell him he can recycle stuff and it ends up in or on his nightstand. Pictured below: a sticker that doesn’t stick to anything anymore, two Valentines that he got from the classroom treasure box, a PJ Masks packing insert, a mini boos checklist, pinecones from last fall and a plastic lego man casing. All things I have been unsuccessful in disposing of.” – Tara

15) “My youngest kept a bunch of rocks in a drawer in her bedroom. She said they were a family and the drawer was their home. They lived in that drawer for over a year. ” – Erin

16) “My sons preschool teacher asked me to clean out his drawer because it was overflowing. The photo below was the contents, complete with two pounds of coffee grounds. They teach them how to grind the beans as ‘practical living,’ but then they are supposed to use it for fertilizer in the garden. He wanted to keep his because he’s obviously a hoarder.” – Erika

17) “My now 4 year-old is a hoarder of all random things. When he was two, there was a small fabric bag that he loved to carry around. It started to smell weird and we found an old moldy chicken wing that he took from his Great Grandpa’s house weeks prior.” – Heather 

18) “My daughter took an empty toilet paper roll out of her ‘treasures’ box, glued a single rhinestone on it, and hung it on the Christmas tree. Every time I tried to take it off, she cried that I didn’t like the ornament she made.” – Ellen

19) “Everyday on the walk to and from school, she picks up pinecones for her ‘Rock Collection.’ Pinecones. Are. Not. Rocks.” – Rachel

20) “My daughter hoards ANYTHING and EVERYTHING pink and then puts it next to or under her bed.” – Brandy

21) “My son’s room is full of the cardboard rolls leftover from toilet paper.” – Stefanie

22) “My son saves seeds from food he has eaten. He is convinced he is going to plant apple and avocado trees. He never does. Just hoards the seeds in jars.” – Sarah

23) “My 6 year-old has about 30 broken pencil pieces in his backpack that he’s found at school because ‘they can be resharpened.’ – Jessica

24) “The photo below shows how my youngest used to nap. The picture doesn’t fully show the depth of crap that she insisted on sleeping with. I don’t know how she was comfortable!” – Katharin

25) “My twins love to make what they call ‘paper people.’ This means they draw a person an regular paper and then cut it out. They will make 50 at a time. I kind of HATE the paper people because my children act like they are treasures of immeasurable value. They end up everywhere…..EVERY FREAKING WHERE.” – Erin

26) “My 5 year-old finds old water bottles on the school playground, fills them with dirt and calls them his ‘science experiments.’ – Corissa

27) “Isabelle hides her ‘important things’ under her pillow. I have to do random pillow checks for miscellaneous office supplies!” – Amy

28) “My middle son has saved every single board broken from Taekwondo over the years.” – Kim

29) “The little colored size tags on hangers at any store we visit. I have dozens in my purse, car, etc. She will crawl under racks to collect them.” – Courtney

30) “My son wants to keep anything he can use as a hat. And he will use ANYTHING as a hat! It’s kind of cute, but kind of frustrating at the same time.” – Kay

31) “My 4 year-old practices cutting with scissors at school, and then collects all the tiny resulting bits, and I have to keep track of each one. Sometimes she glues them together with a glue stick, and it’s her ‘project.’ Woe befall me if I mess it up!” – Darla

32) “Empty Lego boxes. He taped a few together and made himself a table, which sat in his playroom for a year. When they start to stack up and I tell he has to get rid of some, he likes to cut out and keep the front, to remember placement.” – Zoraya

33) “My 3.5 year old INSISTED on saving all of her valentines from her friends at school and would hold them and talk to them before bed each night.” – Maggie

34) “During the height of the Moana frenzy, my daughter determined that her chicken finger looked “just like” Maui’s hook and insisted we take it home and document it for prosperity. She has also saved a potato chip that looked like a boat, half eaten waffles that look like shoes and a Cheeto that looked like the Statue of Liberty…” – Shana

35) “Old glow sticks that are CLEARLY done glowing!” – Sarah

36) “Yesterday, at dance, they had dance pictures taken at the studio and of course, there were sequins everywhere. My daughter collected them off the floor to save them.” – Brandi

37) “Not only is my son a hoarder, his LEGO people are hoarders too. The picture below is the pile of stuff that was their ‘stash.’ He built a box to keep it in and no one (read: his sister) was allowed to take any of the items out of ‘the stash’ because it was all ‘important,’ ‘precious,’ and ‘stuff they needed,’ even though ‘the stash’s’ only role in his LEGO world was to sit in the box. I think this is his personal solution to wanting to keep pieces for himself.” – Heidi

38) “One of my twins kept all the apple seeds she took out of the apples she ate, and hid them in a purse when she was three. When I finally found them, there were close to 50 in there. She said she wanted to plant them.” – Erin

39) “For my seven-year-old, it’s the dang cardboard packaging from the toys she likes. The struggle is real, here’s her collection…” – Juliana

40) “My son hoards marbles. When we bought our house, the old owner liked marbles all around and in the gravel. So at one, he started investigating and fell in love. He would carry them around with him and started putting them in a box. Fast forward to two weeks ago, we had to cut him off because he decided to make a marble disappear. Under his underwear. In his butt. We decided cold turkey was best.” – Yesenia

41) “Where to begin… My 9 yo daughter saves every shoe box, the styrofoam from any packaging ( I just recently made her get rid of those), every shrinky dink she has ever made, and every kinder joy prize.” – Annette

42) “My boys (8 and 6) collect the twist ties from the grocery store. They hit up every single station that has the twist ties next to the bags and pull one or two off. Every trip, we leave the store with upwards of 15 twist ties per kid. I find them in my car, in my stroller, in their pockets, in their beds! It’s maddening!” – Saushan

43) “This is a dead crawfish that my daughter brought home from her dad’s and won’t let me throw away. I would post a better picture but if I open the bag, I might die.” – Carrie

44) “My daughter once saved used tissues under her pillow because she wanted to save all of her tears. Talk about parenting guilt!” – Jessica

45) “If we go to a park and there’s any kind of confetti left on the ground from a party, my son picks up every last piece and calls it his treasure.” – Alexis

46) “I saw a post about the tooth fairy and remembered that we don’t do that. Because my child would rather keep his bloody tooth stumps than get money from the tooth fairy.” – Ryan

47) “My daughter saved the unpopped popcorn kernels from every batch, AFTER sucking all the butter and salt off. I found them in desk drawers, every little purse she had, shoe boxes, you name it.” – LJ

48) “My daughter’s best friend likes to keep the sticks of lollipops. You know, with the sticky residue on the end. When my daughter tried to start her own collection, I gave her a hard NO.” – Meghan

49) “We end up with a lot of treasures. Just yesterday I was going to throw this triangle of cardboard away in McDonalds. ‘Noooo! That’s not trash!’ Oh really?” – Brighid

50) “There is a dumpster behind our local hockey rink. One day, my daughter, who is 11 and tall enough to peer in yelled, ‘Hey, there are toys in there!!!’ All of a sudden, she and every other kid in ear shot ran and jumped into the dumpster. IN the dumpster. Just picture all of their parents, waking up from their iPhone scrolling, to see their kids dumpster diving at the local rink and then having to wrangle them all out and get them to let go of whatever infested toy they had found. Yah. My kid started that movement.” – Jennifer

Happy hoarding, kids! I’ll let you know how our purge goes…

What does your kid collect?


The idea for this post originated in the “Remarkably Average Parents” facebook group. Click here to join!