Warehouse of Mum and Dad

Modern parents are not just expected to bankroll their adult children, they now have to store all their unwanted clutter as well.

Blimey, I could have written this article, but I didn’t.

I’m forwarding it to my dear fledglings who fled the nest some years ago, but neglected to take their possessions with them. There is an interesting list of the things they store in the family home and I think I can safely say I have all of them!

Attics, their bedrooms and the whole house is full of their stuff. Well, I exaggerate slightly as I have gradually, with their reluctant permission,  discarded at least some of it but there is still a way to go.

Yes, entirely the fault of the parents, for being so indulgent, but my off-spring really don’t have much room.

OK, I’ll call a man with a van and ship it to them, and let them pay the bill.

41 thoughts on “Warehouse of Mum and Dad”

  1. Good evening Peter.

    My two are only just settling down, so we are most certainly in warehouse mode, and banker mode too. I have to admit that my parents housed my possessions for years too.


    I’ve just noted a presumably WordPress update, so I am using my WordPress account, and not my non-existent Twitter account or my seldom used Facebook account. Did you have a similar option?

  2. So very topical in our house too, Araminta. At least eight boxes in the attic…a museum of bikes in the garage, none of which are my size!! The chance of them sorting out those boxes within the foreseeable future is negligible but at least we have cleared their old bedrooms!

  3. Hello Jan.

    I don’t play the flute, hate hockey, so some of these things are of no interest to me either and when we decided to live in the current house, I put some of the””not required immediately” possessions of all family members in store. It costs a fortune, and I must do something about retrieving them, but probably next year!

  4. Haven’t reached that stage yet, but judging by how hard they find it to throw old toys and games out…. I have it to come

    (Yes Ara, I have the new update too. Odd. I don’t use this name elsewhere though, so haven’t accounts on Twitter or Facebook as far as WordPress is conderned. Odd)

  5. I left home at eighteen in a great hurry – I packed what I could and went. When I returned to collect the rest of my things a week later – everything was gone and my bedroom was being used to house staff.

    When I downsized from a large house to a one bed-room flat, I got my daughters to take what was theirs, took what I needed and handed to keys to a friend to dump the rest.

    When I came to Australia, I left my books, photos and one small box of ‘memorabilia’ with one of my daughters for a few years – and gave the rest away.

    I can’t understand why people are reluctant to discard what they obviously no longer need. My only weakness is a refusal to part with my books.

  6. “I can’t understand why people are reluctant to discard what they obviously no longer need. My only weakness is a refusal to part with my books.”

    To a large extent I agree with you, Boadicea. I’m not an inveterate collector of “things”, but books are my one weakness. I just wish that my daughters would make up their minds as to what they consider precious. We are all different in this respect.
    I’m housing many of their books too, but I will not even consider giving these away.

  7. Pseu :

    You are unusual, I feel Boadicea!

    Possibly. I used to go through the cupboards every year and discard things that I hadn’t used in that time. I still do that periodically. I can’t bear clutter and I like to know exactly where everything is!

    I had a friend once who couldn’t bear parting with anything – she still had her clothes from the 60s (in case they came back into fashion!), she kept her old tumble-dryer (in case her children needed it) – she had an enormous house, but only a few of the rooms were habitable, the rest were piled high with a piano (which she never played), old furniture and boxes and bags of what I would consider junk!

  8. Sipu.

    Sometimes I do too. They are a tie, they take up space and so on. I still won’t part with some things willingly, but I resent them in some ways.

  9. Like Mother, like daughter. When our daughter moved out over five years ago, while I was happy to keep some of her furniture as she was moving to a flat with less room and her bed for whenever she wanted to visit, I was looking to using her room as a bit of a den. No chance! Lots of old books, a huge pile of cassettes (CASSETTES, I ask you, she has her entire music collection on an iPod now), and many appliances she has not got room for in her flat. Our son cleared his room out when he left, leaving just a bed and a wardrobe for when he visits, now with our daughter-in-law.

    There is, however, a precedent for my daughter’s behaviour. Mrs FEEG has to be bullied for months to throw anything at all away, and still has a huge stock of video tapes, some Betamax, even though she has not watched one for years and years and many books she has not read since she was a girl! It must be in the genes!

  10. Oh FEEG, I have a feeling you are right; it’s in the genes! Or maybe just following parental examples, or in the case of your daughter, her mother’s!

    I suspect my indulgence is somewhat similar, and I have only myself, and my parents to blame for this. I don’t know how far back this goes though.

  11. FEEG and Araminta

    It’s in the Genes? I think you are right ! I remember visiting my maternal great-grandmother’s tiny flat as a child – neat and no clutter – the same as her daughter and her daughter and so on down to both of my daughters… or maybe it’s just the way one brings ’em up!

    Why has WordPress stuck its useless icons between the reply box and the “Post Comment” button – I keep going to press one of the other buttons… grrrr!

  12. Boadicea.

    I mentioned these useless icons earlier in this thread.

    They just confuse the issue. I keep clicking on the wrong buttons too!

  13. And I certainly do not need to be told that I am commenting on my WordPress.com account – as if I didn’t know that already!

  14. The problem I have found is that when children do take some of their belongings away, some of ours mysteriously go too. Then there’s the discussions, usually with my daughter – “I think you’ll find those books/towels/sheets are mine, Mother”. I think parents can’t win! Though son actually brought back some photo albums he’d taken, with the explanation that granddaughter’s clothes were taking up too much room!

  15. Sheona.

    So far the only belongings my children have removed are photographs from albums; I can tell by the gaps.
    They don’t take up much room, however, so I think I wouldn’t mind if bulkier items disappeared.

    To be fair, I did donate some furniture to one of the girls, so I suppose I can’t really complain.

  16. I have three kids, the oldest one has never left home and has in fact continued over the years to fill my entire backyard with Horse gear, Bird paraphernalia and Guinea Pig hatches, all my three workshops are full of her stuff and little by little she has been taking over my house, a fourth shed is now her favorite spot to hide any rubbish she might create. 😦

    The younger daughter has moved back home after a boyfriend break-up and she has somehow managed to move an entire house into one of my bedrooms. the fact that whatever didn’t fit somehow ended up on top of my wardrobes or under my bed is a small nuisance she can live with; having totally destroyed the Excel I gave her, she has now dumped it in my front yard, out of rego and with busted windows and door handles …. now she drives my Vectra .. with a smile on her face 😦

    The son is fine, he bought me a huge toolbox, good son that he is 🙂

    Then he brought the empty toolbox to my house, filled it up with “my” tools, and took the lot home to play with his motorbikes 😦

    But I’m lucky … I get to look after the 5 dogs, 8 cats, exotic birds, 4 Horses (currently), 6 guinea pigs and assorted fish they have somehow, over the years, convinced me needed my help 😦

    I have no problems with excessive furniture, I always somehow manage to destroy such stuff in fits of rage whenever I find the stuff dumped outside my front door because my kids can’t be bothered going the extra few miles to the rubbish tip 😦

  17. I have a nasty habit of abandoning homes along with the incumbents, couldn’t care less about possessions. I don’t care for the detritus of relationships to be dragged from incumbent to newer incumbent!
    Just a few talismanic possessions, The books, the Royal Doulton and the Waterford, all of which I bought and paid for myself mostly between marriages,
    Anyway try moving across the Atlantic 5 times, concentrates the mind wonderfully as to what you really want to keep. I have a friend in Wales who is very good at disposing of unwanted lives, she must have been a rag and bone man in a previous life.

    Spousal unit is a different matter, a pack rat if ever I saw one, when I met him he had 9 computers, I chucked out 5 when we moved up here but they have proliferated again back to about 10, the place is a nightmare and the garage unspeakable.
    fortunately he never wants to put any of his crap in my garden.

    The boy was never a problem, he didn’t really believe in possessions. When he came to furnish his flat in Brum he just emptied my current house, handy as I was moving at the time too. Little beast took all the good stuff.
    We used to argue about rugs, I/we had a lot of them, favourites of both of us we used to have rugs going back and forth six months each, every time one of stayed in the others house something would go missing to be pinched back on the next trip.
    Bizarre really, but quite funny, God knows what visitors ever thought of the changing decor!
    I suppose he left other things I don’t really know, never bothered to look, his room wasn’t used for anything else and I never went up there, it all looked tidy enough to me.

    I have to be far more concerned about the state of my greenhouse than house all my life. As for linens and bedding I always seem to have so much, God knows where it comes from, I don’t remember buying it. I suppose I must have done at some time, people are hardly likely to fill your linen cupboard are they? Spousal unit’s stuff was all ugly, but I kept it for the dogs. They all have their own bathtowels.

    Oh dear!

  18. Hi Araminta – it’s just as well we haven’t gone down the “offsite storage” route or we’d be spending a fortune by now. It’s only the constraits of the size of this place that limits what we keep. I have a flute too – but I did bring myself to get rid of my old hockey stick (played for the school team) but waited until my lovely Dunlop Maxply had thoroughly warped before I could bring myself to chuck it. Good luck with the big sort-out next year, then Ara!

    Pseu, I have reached the age where, when I talk about the great board games like Careers and Cluedo, people have no idea what I’m on about! Still fun to play at Christmas though.

    I’m lost in awe and admiration, Boadicea, that you have been ruthless in your clearances and you know precisely where everything is. I know where things are but the clearances have been frankly, inadequate.

    Wow. I am amazed the Waterford and Royal Doulton survived all those moves Tina! Like the rug thing. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me – and dog towels are an essential! 🙂

  19. Evening Christina.

    I thought you might have something relevant to say on the subject!

    My possessions, books, china, glassware, a few good pieces of furniture and photos are obviously not rubbish, but the rest of the household’s tat, is precisely that. Old magazines, clothes, boats and cars, and the rest are simply taking up valuable space.

    Various moves, and you are the expert, focuses the mind wonderfully.

  20. Hi again, Jan.

    Thank you. I’m going to be very strict, although we are still keeping this house, so it won’t be quite so bad, but the stuff in store has to be ruthlessly culled.

    We have enough to fill three houses and I’m darn sure we don’t actually need most of it.

  21. A, the secret is to dispose of other people’s possessions when they are out of the house. Hide it all in the boot and discreetly remove it to a charity shop or the dump with great stealth.
    You can empty all the attics this way, look them in the eye and swear they got rid of it themselves years a go and they are gettin Alzheimers!
    (Believe you me, it works!)

    Ring the children and tell them to pay their own storage, they will soon get rid of the offending items.

    I shipped out my stepdaughter’s bits and pieces to Florida, we paid the bill but told her that was Christmas and birthdays present for a decade!

    Get ruthless.

  22. As might be expected from my background, I have very little clutter left around – move house, clean out is the watchword. I do have a couple of boxes of ‘souvenirs’ which get rotated on display, things like the (empty) whisky bottle in a display case with the legend; ‘To the last CSM. On the last day. To the last Drop.’ (I presented it to the incoming CSM when I left Hong Kong, and the CSM of 10 Intelligence and Security Company, an old friend, at the time of the handover, was thoughtful enough to return it to me – not thoughtful enough to leave a dram in it, though 🙂 )

  23. I’m very proud of the fact that when I left the first marital home I departed with only one suitcase and my golf clubs, nothing else! I’d probably be able to do the same now….not that there’s any chance of that happening…..I hope!

    Interestingly, my mother seems to have hoarded my stuff anyway – old nursery scrapbooks and board games, lego, toy cars, cub scout uniform are still stored somewhere in her spare room! All my bedroom furniture as a child is still being used – good value for money!

    Good post Ara 😀

  24. Laughing here, Tina, good grief if I told the sprogs they’d have to pay their storage I suspect I’d get instructions to take it ALL to the tip! That is an excellent acid test.

  25. Thanks Cuprum.

    Now your response it interesting. So you travel light and think this is a good thing, but meanwhile all your stuff which your mother has carefully hoarded, you purport to care nothing about.

    Now fair enough, but how would you react if she decided to get rid of it? So are you saying that your mother keeps your belongings because they are precious to her, or does she think she is doing it for you?


    I don’t know if my daughters belongings are more important to me or the owners. A bit of a clue though, if I ask them if I can throw them away, they prevaricate. They don’t want them, or haven’t room where they now live, but they don’t want them to be binned.

  26. Ara, I meant no judgement in my comments – I suspect my mother keeps the items for herself, but I certainly don’t dismiss it and I didnt say I don’t care! She’s a mum, that’s what mums do! As for the furniture, it just seems sensible to me!

    I hoard nothing myself, I hate clutter, but I do have a few photos of my kids as youngsters that I’d never get rid of.

    I guess everyone hangs on to the past in their own little way! My mum has never asked me if I wanted her to keep anything – there’s never anything to keep!

  27. Cuprum.

    I didn’t think you did make any judgement, nor was my response intended to be judgemental. It just made me examine my own motives for warehousing my children’s belongings, and I suspect I do it partly for sentimental reasons.

Add your Comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: