Inside: After moving out many kids leave some of their things behind for years, but the truth is that your parents don’t want to store your stuff indefinitely.
Ask any millennial or Gen x-er if they want to fill their house with their parents’ old stuff, and chances are they’ll say no thanks.
Most people don’t want to inherit a house full of someone else’s stuff. Would there be some special pieces you’d want to hold onto? Sure, but most of the antiques, souvenirs, personal items, and other sentimental stuff? You likely don’t have a place for most of it in your space.
And believe it or not – your parents probably feel the same way about storing your old stuff.
Maybe you’ve still got a whole bedroom back home – a time capsule from your earlier years, with posters on the walls, the same old bedding, and a too-old television.
Perhaps it isn’t too much stuff – just a few boxes filled with mementos and memories that you don’t want to get rid of but also don’t want to take up room in your house.
Or maybe you’ve asked them to hold onto your whole apartment full of furniture and stuff while you travel across the world or move across the country.
They might act like they don’t mind holding onto your stuff… but that probably isn’t the truth.
Sorry, but your parents don’t want to store your stuff.
Wait – my parents really don’t want to store my stuff?
Most parents will act like they don’t mind. After all, you’re their kid. They want to help you out however they can and remain a presence in your life. Most parents have a hard time saying no.
But if you asked them for an honest answer, they’d probably say – not really.
Think about it. They have plenty of stuff of their own to store. Their attic, the basement, the closets, and any other available storage space is likely being utilized.
Can they make room for another few boxes? Sure – but you’re only adding to their clutter, which isn’t ideal.
In a season where they may be considering downsizing and are hoping to enjoy living in a clutter-free space, they’re stuck with your stuff. They may not know how to tell you they’re tired of storing it or the logistics of getting it to you might be complicated.
But this shouldn’t be their problem to figure out on their own. While they could drop those boxes off on your doorstep, give you a deadline to retrieve it, or do a video call to assess your things it would be nice for you to take the first step in reclaiming your stuff.
Your parents don’t want to store your stuff forever, so being proactive about it can alleviate the discomfort of them having to bring it up.
But what about my childhood bedroom?
If you still have a fully decorated and furnished bedroom at your parent’s house, you might want to consider getting rid of it – and giving your parents back their space.
You’re all grown up. You have a space of your own. You’ve moved on – and moved out.
And, chances are, your parents are ready to do the same.
A big part of that process involves reclaiming their space.
Unless you’re still living at home or visiting on a very regular basis, you don’t really need a bedroom – especially not one that’s decorated according to your 15-year-old self’s tastes.
A guest room that could be used by you and anyone else who happens to drop by is probably preferable… and a little less cluttered, too.
And if your parents already have a guest room ready to go? There’s still no reason to keep a dedicated bedroom at their place.
Your old space can likely be converted into an office, a library, a craft room or sewing space, or anything else their hearts desire.
OK… so what should I do with my stuff?
There are quite a few options to evaluate when it comes to dealing with stuff you’d otherwise ask your parents to hold onto.
From donating and discarding to creative storage solutions, here are a few ways you can deal with that stuff that don’t involve burdening your parents.
Donate anything you don’t actually want or need.
Whether you’re trying to find a temporary home for a whole house full of stuff, a handful of boxes, or things from your youth, chances are there will be at least some stuff that you don’t actually want or need to keep anymore.
In many cases, it’s easy to just say you’re going to store everything and deal with it later. But holding onto clutter and stuff you don’t need is just prolonging the inevitable and creating a bigger problem you’ll eventually have to address.
Donating items that are in good condition is one of the best things you can do – for yourself, for your parents, and for someone in need.
You can donate all kinds of things, like…
Furniture. That old dresser in your childhood bedroom might not be your style anymore, but someone in need might appreciate it.
Electronics. Old televisions, gaming systems, cell phones, computers, cameras, and more can be passed along. Reach out to local high schools with technology programs to see if they could put any of them to use!
Clothes and shoes. Whether you bring them to a donation center or find someone in your community via social media, your old clothes might be exactly what someone is looking for.
Books. Many local libraries will gladly take donations to add to their collections!
Toys and games. Children’s homes, childcare centers, and after-school programs are great places to call if you have old toys or board games to donate.
Kitchen supplies. Unwanted pots, pans, utensils, and appliances can always find a new home – either through a thrift shop, a women’s shelter, or an organization that helps homeless folks get back on their feet.
There are great ways to donate unwanted items responsibly and it feels good to know the things that you’re no longer using can benefit someone else.
Need cash? Consider selling some of your old stuff.
If you could use a few extra dollars in your pocket, selling your old stuff could be a great way to make it happen. Depending on its condition, virtually anything you could donate could also be sold.
You have quite a few options here, too, like…
Yard sales. If you live in a location that sees a fair amount of traffic, a good old-fashioned yard sale can be a quick and easy way to offload some stuff and earn a few bucks.
Consignment shops. Consignment shops will put your merchandise – most often clothes – up for sale and pay you once they’ve got a buyer. They’ll keep a small cut of the profits, but they’ll do most of the work for you, which can be great if you don’t have a ton of time or energy to spare.
Sell online. Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are great ways to sell items locally, and if you’re willing to ship, eBay or other online auction sites are excellent options.
If you’re considering selling your stuff, it’s important to remember that it does take more time and effort. It can also end up being a way that clutter sticks around for too long so make sure to price reasonably and set a deadline for getting the item out of your home.
Having trouble letting go? Be honest with yourself.
In all likelihood, much of what you’ve left at your parent’s home aren’t items that you truly use and love. If they were important to you, you would have put them in your own space.
It’s time to be honest with yourself about what’s worth holding onto.
Perhaps many of the items are sentimental. There are ways to declutter sentimental items while still preserving your memories.
If you’re feeling tempted to relocate the items from your parent’s home to a storage unit, that is very rarely a good idea. In many cases, they end up being an expensive way to delay the inevitable.
And when you think about it your parents have been allowing you to do that very thing with their home. Repeat after me “My parent’s house is not my free storage unit.”
If you have too much stuff for your space, the challenge is to minimize your stuff so that it comfortably fits in your home.
Will there be some situations that are exceptions? Sure, but don’t assume your parents want to keep storing your stuff. It could be burdening them without your knowledge.
Start a conversation with them about it and come up with a plan together. It’s ok that your parents don’t want to store your stuff indefinitely. They still love you.