I read your notes today on facebook on your hoarding war. I am so sorry that you had a bad day at your house.
Since I am a closet hoarder (no pun intended) - I thought that maybe some reasons for wanting to keep everything and some solutions that work for me may be of help. For me - and I am sure this is not the reason for emme- keeping stuff is a form of security and control. When I didn't feel that I had any control over my life I always knew that I had control over my stuff. I also like to keep things that remind me of good times. I am afraid that I will forget the good things that happen. This can spiral into keeping everything around including that scrap of paper that still has some space on it and the broken barbie that I may be able to fix some day. Although there are many reasons for wanting to keep stuff, at least for me it is mostly an unhealthy habit. So... how to control it.
As was suggested, I feel that since Emme is older, just going in and throwing stuff away when she isn't home isn't the best solution. One, she doesn't stop keeping the stuff, she just has you clean it all up for her. Second, if she is like me, she will notice that things are gone and it will create a feeling of insecurity and loss of control. I feel it is really bestfor her to learn to not keep everything that crosses her path. These are solutions that have worked for me.
1. I make journals. Not fancy scrapbooks that I want to show anyone, just spiral notebooks where I journal about my day and maybe tape in something that reminds me of a good day or something fun. Knowing that I have a place to put my memories helps me to let go of things that I don't really need. If I can't put it in a scrapbook I may take a picture of it and put that in - then get rid of the item. sometimes, just being able to journal about my day and how I feel can help me get rid of the "stuff" that I think I need to remember.
2. Make sure that everything has a place. If it doesn't fit - get rid of it. For example; pencils. I have a place in the drawer for them. I can only keep a certain amount. If a get a new pencil that is really cool, I have to get rid of another one to make room. this, of course, takes a certain amount of maturity and discipline, but if it is practiced regularly, it starts to sink in.
3. clean and organize your space once a week. Put it on the schedule for weekly chores. Be specific about what has to be cleaned. Tell her that she can keep a certain number of games, or books then let her decide which ones she keeps. If things are cleaned and organized on a regular basis, it is easier to keep on top of it. A half-hour or an hour that she can do herself once a week, instead of a battle every few months is a much happier way to run things.
4. Only have a certain number of clothes items. It is harder to do when you are a growing child, but knowing that you have to get rid of a clothing item if you are getting something else, makes you really think about whether you want it or not.
5. Try not to make it a fight. sometimes being forced to get rid of your stuff makes it harder to part with that pink paper clip
I don't know if these suggestions will help, but maybe they will make it a bit easier.
And thank you for helping me think back on something that reminds me of why I changed the way I think if mothering. It's the hardest job in the world and yet it's fleeting... No regrets.
Saying a prayer for you as I send this...