I have been caught on more than one occasion "accidentally" having placed an "important" item in the trash. Yes, I get the how-could-you? look followed by a request to clean such item from the wet coffee grounds that it has been buried in. So, I give the how-on-earth-did-that-get-there? look back as I snag said little item and restore it.
Hence, I have created Toy Purgatory.
Nestled high above the little one's sight line, there rests a home for toys whose fate will soon be determined.
Okay, here's the beauty of the system. Take the said item (our past items range from tape bubble gum containers, to macaroni art, to toys that annoy parents) and place them in said purgatory when child is not looking. I usually give items a few weeks in purgatory, but when the time comes (usually the morning of trash pick-up) if said item has not been requested or mentioned or missed...it's gone! Bwhahahahahaha!!!
Should the item ever be in purgatory and child is looking for it...you say, "Hey, go check under your bed and in your room, I'll look around downstairs." Run, grab, then (as the heroic mother you are) holler out, "I've found it!!!" Saved the day again.
Works for me.
Check out other Works for Me entries at Shannon's.