Money conversation: paying for lost property

Lost property is the bane of our children’s things. Most children these days have way too much stuff.  The problem with having so much stuff is that there is less space for the important stuff.  So the important stuff gets misplaced.

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Despite our best attempts, I still think my children have too much stuff – at least compared to when I was a child.  I have, at various times, purged their belongings but they seem to multiply faster than I can purge. Where are they even getting their stuff from?! I know they are not buying it. I suspect they have a tendency to hoard – those special projects they make out of recycled materials, paper planes, etc – they keep all of these stuff.

Too much stuff = not enough space

This morning the topic of conversation is one of my children’s school cardigan.  According to the said child, it was put in the laundry basket a few weeks ago and “I haven’t seen it ever since.” And casually walks off as though it’s the end of the problem.

Umm ….. no. If it was put in the laundry basket, then it would have been washed and it would have been the children’s responsibility to pack away their own clothes.  Our washing machine is not a black hole where things go in and never come back out.

Paying for lost property

I followed the said child and casually mentions matter-of-factly “Well, in that case, I’m going to need to you buy yourself a new cardigan because I already bought you a brand new one at the beginning of the year and if you lose it, you’re going to have to replace it.”

That worked the treat – the said child stopped abruptly, turned and glared at me. Here starts the debate (did I tell you this same child is the first speaker of the school’s debating team? I knew I wasn’t going to be let off that easily):

Child: But that’s not fair! I didn’t lose it!

Me: Well, I didn’t lose it either, so it wouldn’t be fair if I had to pay to replace the lost property.

Child: I told you.  I put it in the laundry to be washed and I haven’t seen it since.

Me: Well, if it was in the laundry, it would have been hung up.  When it’s dry, I don’t keep the clothes away. I don’t wear a school cardigan and that cardigan is not my responsibility. So there are really 2 possibilities – either you put the cardigan into the wash or you didn’t.  If you did and it’s still missing, then you find your cardigan or you replace it. If you didn’t put it in the wash, it must be stuffed inside a bag somewhere or behind something, in which case you might want to clean up your room.

<silence> …. child storms off ….. A few minutes later ….

Child: FOUND IT!


What do you do with your children’s lost property?

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