As my college graduation nears, the looming prospect of Really Being On My Own is both exciting and daunting. One of the biggest troubles stems from the stuff I have stored at my parents’ house. Since I’m staying there for the summer as a way to save money (and since my job is in town) I’ve been tackling that mess little by little.
Two things in particular have stood out since I vowed to do this: my eighteen year old self was a huge packrat, and my parents should have given away the books and toys from childhood YEARS ago.
Some of it has to do with parents and their dealing with kids being grown up (I’ve been in school for a few years, but my only sibling just started, so the “empty nest” finally hit). Some of it is shear volume; if you didn’t continuously give away kid clutter as your kids grew up, then likely you’ll end up with a lot. Either way, you suddenly have to deal with it.
Parents? If you want your kids to take care of all the junk they’ve left over the years? I suggest you put it all in their rooms. So that when they stay over for any amount of time, be it back for the summer or for a break. If that still doesn’t work, then simply drop it all off, bit by bit, AS IS until they either toss it themselves or go through it. Don’t go through it for them; some of it may be personal, or might have been at one point.
Now, for those of you sorting through what amounts to maybe a lifetime of junk? You have to make some Hard Decisions. Or maybe not so hard, in my case. But here’s some quick things to get you started:
- Memorabilia Should Only Be In One Box
It doesn’t matter if the box is huge or a shoebox. But one box. Because memorabilia is just physical reminders of memories. And there are ways to get rid of say, your prom corsage, but not lose the sentiment with it. You could take a picture of it and store that on your computer. You could scan your baseball cards. Momentos should only be kept if they are REALLY meaningful. Don’t try and justify them. At the very least, would you want to cart all that to wherever you end up living?
- Only Save The Best Things For Theoretical Kids
Unless you’re well on your way to having some, really. You’ll get a ton of stuff from relatives if you have any, and it’s not like there aren’t lots of other people with far too much babystuff if you need it secondhand. Give it to kids that need it, like the homeless. Yes, even books too. Keep only your ABSOLUTE FAVORITES from childhood.
- Keep It Simple
Utilitarian. Unless you’ve got a house right after graduation, do you really need a house worth of stuff yet? Think like packing for a dorm room. And stick to it. Find places for everything else that are not storage. Don’t take all your knick-knacks at first… leave them in a box and then come at them later if you can’t decide quite yet. Chances are you’ll feel differently after time.
Transitioning between of your life can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be messy.