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After They Graduate, Leave Home - What To Do With Their Stuff??????

debellidebelli Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
edited July 2009 in Parent Cafe
I'd like to hear from other families who've had kids graduate and move out, what did you do with ALL their "stuff?"

My son graduated in '08 and moved ALL his stuff back home after graduating - I can't tell you how many boxes got shipped back home via the airlines and Greyhound! He moved to NY in Oct. 08, not taking much at all with him since he didn't know where he'd be living and stayed with friends until he found a place. Now, hee's living in a room within an apt, fully furnished and hasn't taken much more from the house - no room in the room!

I have a daughter who will be graduating this year, 2010 and will be facing the same issues with her stuff. She has no intentions on moving back here, or to where I'll be moving to eventually.

So, my question is - how long do you keep all this "stuff" stored at your home - all the college books he just HAD to keep, all the childhood stuff, extra clothes, old video game systems he doesn't want to get rid of, etc. etc. Now, throw in to the mix, I'm planning on moving to another state - do I schlep all this stuff with me?

Thanks for any insight and how you've dealt with this in the short and long run.
Post edited by debelli on

Replies to: After They Graduate, Leave Home - What To Do With Their Stuff??????

  • Flipper519Flipper519 Registered User Posts: 812 Member
    Sell it on ebay, donate to charity, give to friends and family etc.
  • debellidebelli Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
    I don't think he'd be thrilled and delighted with that decision. I'm sure I could make him part with some of it, but in asking recently about a few things it was "I want to keep them." Some things do hold sentimental value, childhood items and such, but like, all the books - trading cards, DVD's -3 guitars!!! Oh wait, make it 4 guitars, there's an electric one in there somewhere! It's the stuff that we may not keep that may be important to them, things they hold dear that we may not think twice about getting rid of.
  • collegeshoppingcollegeshopping Registered User Posts: 1,935 Senior Member

    We have eight children and four are "out of the house," although, stuff remains....BUT with limits. We have a routine with each of the kids when their time comes. I purchased many, many rubbermaid containers for our attic. Most are nested and "waiting" on stuff, but each child gets four containers to be stored at our home. So when they moved off and left all their junk, at the next holiday visit, I placed the four containers in their room, told them to keep what they wanted and the rest was fair game, (first to siblings, then to family, then to goodwill) Not all used all four, and there was never any negative feedback on the container limit. Of course our first four out where boys, the girls could be a whole different story. I know it can be hard to see your child's room "go away," but two of our sons just moved this year and we used the opportunity to downsize from 7 bedrooms to 4. We move this month and I can't wait...with that said, I will drag their containers with me!!

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,396 Senior Member
    Our son told us to "reclaim his room"...don't know what that meant...but we cleaned it out. Packed the things we/he wanted to keep (Legos, Brio train) into boxes and put in the closet. Got rid of ALL the clothes he hadn't used inyears...trip to Goodwill. Took all the OLD books and donated them to the used book sale at the library. Sold the twin bed captains bed with drawers under, three drawer dresser, desk, hutch and chair to a neighbor for their young son. Bought a nice double bed...changed the curtains...put DS's very nice chest of drawers and a small table in the room, along with the lamps he had in his college apartment. It looks FABULOUS.

    He won't miss a thing, he says. He told us what to keep and we kept that "stuff" (not much). Kitchen stuff from the college places is in the basement in case little sis needs it at some point.
  • DougBetsyDougBetsy Registered User Posts: 5,830 Senior Member
    My dad gave me 3 days notice when he decided to empty and sell the family home. Because of the distance I had no chance to leave college and come home to "rescue" my practical or sentimental stuff. It all went in rental dumpster. I was sad/mad for years.

    I only mention this in hopes that we all give our kids a legitmate chance to get their stuff before it disappears. :)
  • MansfieldMansfield Registered User Posts: 689 Member
    We have also asked our kids to "downsize" to a few rubbermaid storage containers. These now hold an interesting mix of Thomas train characters, science fair projects, and old calculus tests. It is interesting to see what they deemed to be important.

    Just don't do what my parents did to me....after college, I moved my stuff back home. I took some of it with me when I left for my first job a month later in a city about 200 miles from home. Apparently, several years later, my mother got upset at all the accumulating mess in the attic my many siblings and I had left at home. So, she decided to have a yard sale. Everything I had left behind was either sold or tossed out. As a result, I have no "memorabilia" from my youth....no yearbooks, no Nancy Drew books...nothing. I only wished mom had a told me first. I would have gone home and reclaimed it all.
  • debellidebelli Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
    It's interesting to be hearing from both sides, kids and parents.

    I thought about taking some type of inventory, names of books, pictures of certain things and emailing him to see what I should keep and what he says can go. I don't think he'll be back to visit any time soon, or before I am ready to move. I really don't want to get rid of anything unless he knows and approves, it's not mine to give away.

    Those with basements and attics - you have no idea how lucky you are! I live in SOFLA where we have niether. BUT, where I'll be moving you could easily have both - and this round I'll have at least one and a garage (made mine in to a family room long ago).

    I guess the old saying, "Better safe than sorry" applies to getting rid of the kids stuff - I'm going to run it by him first, in fear throwing away a prized piece of junk, I mean possession.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,396 Senior Member
    Well...you could do what my inlaws did...they rented a UHaul and filled it with the unclaimed "stuff" that each of their kids had left in their house...and they drove (unannounced) to each kid's house and just unloaded it all. I have to tell you...it was annoying at the time, but in retrospect, it was hilarious.

    Re: our son's "stuff"...we saved much of the memorabilia on his two bookshelves. Packed some "stuff" into an under the bed box.
  • rocket6louiserocket6louise Registered User Posts: 3,391 Senior Member
    When i go, my sister gets my room, so I have to move out everything...

    My clothes will either come with me, go to goodwill, or 1 box will be stored
    My dressers go to goodwill(they're old, but someone will love them)
    My record player and keyboard will be stored til i get an apartment(or come with me if i go close)
    And everything else gets tossed
  • SlitheyToveSlitheyTove Registered User Posts: 6,328 Senior Member
    My parents are still acting as repositories for some of their grown children's stuff. They have a large house, so it's not an imposition. Since you're moving out of state, debelli, I think it's entirely reasonable to have your son take some of the logistical and financial burden for moving and storing his stuff. Figure out how much you can pack/move/store yourself, and tell him he needs to fit within that limit or pay for storage/packing/etc.

    I entirely agree with not throwing away what looks like junk to a parents' eye. That's how my dad lost his comics collection :( The inventory sounds like the best good-faith effort you can make. Would a video of the heap of stuff also be helpful?

    I'd also suggest that you save things that you think would be meaningful to your son someday, even if he doesn't think it's something worth saving. Childhood toys or clothing, favorite books, a few art projects, that sort of thing. A couple years ago my parents gave me a bundle of National Geographic School Bulletins. I'd have never saved them myself, but reading through them now is like a Proustian madeline. So many of my first mental images of the world came from that little magazine! I'm making sure to save some of the magazines that my kids once loved, but now think they're too old for (Spider, Muse, American Girl) so they can have the same experience someday.
  • stacystacy Registered User Posts: 1,100 Senior Member
    My parents kept a lot of my stuff while I was in college and grad school--when I went home my mom would often take out a box or two and ask me to consolidate it into one box, or clear out one more shelf in the closet...it wasn't too overwhelming that way, and I'd usually keep some stuff with her, bring some stuff back to school with me, and donate/throw out the rest. But when they moved to a smaller place, it became time for a more serious approach to stuff-reduction...

    They took a different approach for each of the 4 kids:

    My sister lives far away (so couldn't come home to go through everything) and owns her own place. My mom boxed everything up in like 6 big boxes and paid to get it out of there...she said the expense was worth not having to go through everything and run the risk of dumping something my sister really loved, and it was cheaper than her flying back to go through it herself.

    I was closer to home. So I came back and narrowed my old toys and papers into a rubbermaid container and a file box that they held on to (they have more space for stuff like that than I do at the moment), and two boxes of books which we sent media mail to my apartment (I do have lots of bookshelves). In retrospect they should've kept those books as well because I'm moving to their city next month and have to ship them all back!!

    One brother is in college, so he was allotted several more rubbermaid containers than I was. And the other brother still lives at home, so he got to keep basically all his stuff.

    On the other hand, my dad is 50 years old and my grandma has a ton of his stuff in her basement still, so there's always that option...
  • jyber209jyber209 Registered User Posts: 653 Member
    D ended up in '06, much to the surprise of all of us, particularly her, getting a job in her field in her area. That was nobody's intention, it just worked out that way. It seemed silly for her to spend money on an apartment when our house was 20 minutes from her job, so she moved back to her room. She knew she would be headed to grad school at some point. I gave her some space in the basement for extra stuff storage. She had "willed" some dorm stuff away at school.

    Now she is following her plan of grad school, and will be moving into an apartment for that in a few weeks. I have told her I would like to make her room a guest room. She is fine with that as long as she can come home and use it herself on occasion. Sure, she can be a guest!

    I really like the idea, mentioned above, of giving each kid four Rubbermaid containers to do with as they wish.

    I have already told D that when she finishes grad school, if she does not have a job immediately, she is welcome to come home while she looks, but she will have to rent a storage unit for the stuff from her apartment. Once it is out I do not want it back, and am trying to declutter here in prep for any eventual retirement move.

    I do maintain papers and other items of sentimental value with baby books, etc. in plastic containers for each kid. We also have plenty of photo albums. But the stuff can go. I took pictures of the trophies and then got rid of them. Feels great to drop bags off at Goodwill!

    I do agree that parents who want to purge do owe it to their kids to give sufficient notice with a reasonable deadline.
  • bessiebessie Registered User Posts: 1,818 Senior Member
    A good time to go through a lot of the junk is before the kids leave for college. Afterwards, I suppose it depends on how much storage space a parent has. We are quite limited: we live in an older home with little storage, no basement, and not much of an attic so we have been fairly cut throat with what we keep for the past 10 years. I just now realized that every time my kids come home to visit I ask them if there is anything in their room that can be tossed. I kept one XXL envelope for each child's year of school with a representative sample of art, writing, grade reports, awards, etc. so that all fits into one (for each kid) Rubbermaid container in the garage. The legos and kids toys were weeded out as we went along so only a few favorite toys remain. Sometimes the kids chose them and sometimes I threw something in because I thought they might appreciate the memory of it later in life. I think the storage issue can easily be solved the same way we help our adult kids prioritize in other areas: give them a price quote from a local storage unit facility and see how much they want to keep the stuff if they have to pay out of their own pocket to do so. When kids have to use their own resources, they often make different decisions than if they are using parental resources. My son had to get a storage unit for the first time this summer and he drove 30 miles to a pretty sketchy are in order to save money storing his belongings. I come from a family where nothing was saved so I appreciate kids having something from their childhoods for later, but I am not one who thinks they need everything from their childhood.
  • Karen CollegesKaren Colleges Registered User Posts: 1,752 Senior Member
    Ack, I specifically remember buying 'meaningful' toys so the kids wouldn't have a ton of junk when they grew up.... That's still a lot of Brio, Lego, and American Girl stuff that we can't get rid of. Not to mention some of the other very cool stuff-- Jurassic Park dinosaurs, and some fabulous light sabers..... (some of those are going back to college with D for the halloween party.)

    S is planning to weed out more of his books and accessories on his next visit home. He is becoming a minimalist at school, so I hope that carries over to my house.
  • bugmombugmom Registered User Posts: 322 Junior Member
    My S in college is part-way out and we are doing the storage bins thing, but it has really been going on all through adolescence, as Brios and Thomas made way for other things. (I have too much money into Brios to get rid of them.) I have warned the kids that when they are in their 30s or earlier and settled in houses, I will appear in my truck with their bins of Beanie Babies and drop them off.
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