I thought I was the only one until I found this meme expressing the ubiquitous truth under which all parents live:
Through trial and error here are my 6 fail-proof tactics for smuggling out all those little treasures:
1. Whenever possible avoid any inside trash can. Your safest bet is to dump last year's science project in the outside bin the morning of trash day and then take your family on a 4-day trek into the wilderness. When you return and the project is noticed missing you can honestly say you don't know where it is... after all, you really don't know exactly where in the landfill it currently resides.
2. If you must throw the painted macaroni picture frame with only 3 crusted pieces of pasta remaining on it into an inside trash can then make sure you have no less than 3 pounds of cooked spinach to cover it. NOTE: Do not use junk mail which can be salvaged by your 9 year old son for airplane models. Do not use old bill envelopes which effectively outfit your 6 year old's play office. Do not use catalogs from 9 months ago because your teen daughters are still "reading" them. They themselves will be rescued from the trash delivering the crushing blow to your children that their prized lima bean statuette hiding underneath is no longer treasured.
3. Never throw your kids' stuff away on the same day you are cleaning out your own closet. Your children are insanely adept at picking up the "throwing away garbage" vibe. They will become freakishly paranoid of your intentions towards their ripped 8th place ribbon from their game of pin-the-hydrant-on-the-blaze during the great Fire Department Safety Day of 2007.
4. Do not let one child catch you throwing away another child's stuff. They will rat you out faster than you can say, "grimy Chuck E. Cheese game token with dried gum on one side."
5. Either keep the hubster entirely in the dark or schedule Summit 2013 in order to clearly explain exactly what is being thrown away and why. There is nothing worse than having Daddy innocently ask you why Betty Sue's broken baby doll stroller is stuffed into the trunk of his car during dinner. And because of Murphy's Law this will be the one time your prearranged "we'll talk about it later" look will go entirely unnoticed.
6. Bribe 'em. If you can coerce them into throwing away their own junk then you have mastered parenthood! Going out for ice cream is my favorite because it doesn't involve replacing the trash with new junk. What good is a bribe if it is a net loss? Go for the consumables and you will have a win-win every time.