Every so often, our kids' messes overwhelm us, and Amy or I go on a tear upstairs, throwing away everything in sight or hauling big trash bags full of toys down the street to the secondhand store. Last weekend's target was all the papers Aaron and Jada have accumulated, and within five minutes I had filled a tote bag full of paper to be recycled.
Aaron watched in stunned silence, and unbeknownst to me, Jada ran to Aaron's old room, shut the door behind her, and started bawling. Apparently, my sweep of old papers included some party hats she had made a couple of months back, which were very dear to her, and she was crushed that I was tossing them.
Amy played mediator, fishing them out of my tote bag but at the same time reminding Jada that if she kept a cleaner room we wouldn't have to do these mass cleansings. Within minutes, Jada was fine, but for a while there she was truly crestfallen. Kudos to Amy for striking the right note, and hopefully lesson learned for next time.