I have a 4 year old daughter. She has started to pack several backpacks, bags, purses, boxes, etc and take them around wherever she goes. She packs items like toys, paper, writing utensils... mainly her things, not really anything like trash or anything dangerous or strange.

Whenever we go somewhere in the car, she has to take these things with her. It's always an argument and having to get her to choose one or 2 bags.

She does not like it when anyone touches her bags. She knows everything she has in the bags. She gets very sensitive about the stuff. I try to be OK with it and not demand she get rid of it, I don't want to make things worse. But I also don't want to make it worse by doing the wrong things, or by doing nothing when I should be doing SOMETHING.

She has recently began to keep 'snacks'. This is what worries me the most-a bag of goldfish, a couple slices of bread, a bag of pretzels. The latest thing though was some soup. She actually took the soup I made her for lunch and put it in one of her bags. I just don't understand this, she has access to food, we have regular meals together, there's no lack of food or limited access to food in the least. I have explained to her time and again why she can't keep food in her bags, she pretty much shuts down and cries when I try to explain why food is not OK to keep in her bags.

I can't fathom a reason for it, nothing remotely truamatic has happened to her, no big changes recently.

Could this just be a phase? Is this within normal limits? Do lots of kids do this for a time? What can I do here at home to maybe try to ease her out of this behavior? I don't have health insurance or the money for a psychologist, so please, don't suggest that. If I had the money I'd already have been to the doctor. It's just not an option right now.