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should childhood possessions be removed?

(94 Posts)
twiggy Fri 03-Nov-17 15:51:31

My husband and I have two sons and one daughter, each of whom have accumulated lots of things over the years, as you do. Now that they've all moved out and taken the vast majority of their things with them, we noted that there are a few boxes left over. Their childhood toys, old school books, children's books, their first instruments and so on. Not too much, and definitely too full of sentimental value to bin.

We're moving to a smaller house soon - not much smaller, lots of attic room still - and my husband and I have come to an impasse. He insists that they're all grown up now and can take the rest of their things to their own houses.

I argue that only one of them actually has a whole house - the other two are at university and living in a shared house with limited space. We have a whole attic we can keep their things in, and to be truthful I like having it all there for nostalgic value.

My question is, is it normal for adult children to have to remove all traces of their things from the family home once they leave? Did you let them leave some things?

Anya Fri 03-Nov-17 15:57:42

Yes, my loft had several items left behind. I found my son’s old school reports which he didn’t want initially, but now ten years on, he’s taken to show his children.

Don’t throw things away. They come to have meaning years later.

Ilovecheese Fri 03-Nov-17 15:59:14

I think it might be different if they are leaving things behind with you in the house that they grew up in, but if you are moving to another house it is up to you what you take with you. The new house will have no sentimental value to the children.
So it's not so much a case of allowing them to leave things in storage with you at your new home, but more a case of what you want to take with you.
You want to take their stuff with you, your husband doesn't.
If you have the space in your new home then your husband will not be inconvenienced by it in any way.
So if you want to take it with you, then take it with you, but accept that you are doing it for yourself and not a a favour to your children.
There is nothing wrong with doing something because you want to.

morethan2 Fri 03-Nov-17 16:08:22

Once my children moved into permanent homes of their own I gave them all the stuff they’d left here. I haven’t wiped all traces of their presence from our house. grin I still have photos, school reports, cards and the odd memento of their childhood. Earlier this year I handed over their birth certificates. It felt like the right time so I did it.

twiggy Fri 03-Nov-17 16:09:57

I'm definitely doing it in part for myself, but I do know that one of my children in particular is quite worried about where she would put everything if she did have to remove it all. I hate the thought that it's weighing on her mind

J52 Fri 03-Nov-17 16:34:31

We did this recently. We kept school reports, photos and certificates. We asked DCsto go through everything else. DS2 just picked up the plastic crates and said chuck. I went through them carefully and then chucked.
The only toys we kept were the 3 crates of Lego. Everything else went.
Modern day GCs have different tastes in toys.

BlueBelle Fri 03-Nov-17 16:34:47

I ve still got lots and lots of things in my attic in fact one room has a number of large boxes each I m not too bothered they can do what they want with them when I m gone I ve done them neatly so each has a wall 😊 but if your strapped for room I can see where it would be a problem but if it’s not then look after them
I had a beautiful dolls house and farmyard my dad had made for me that were left behind when I went overseas ages 20 I never knew what happened to them and really really wish I still had them

cornergran Fri 03-Nov-17 16:34:52

We kept our children's 'stuff' until we downsized and unlike you, twiggy simply had no room to store it.

They took responsibility for most of it, not sure how much they have kept but that decision wasn't mine to make.

I kept enough that had meaning to me to fill a box for each of them, not a huge box but big enough, they are in the top of a wardrobe along with a similar box of things that belonged to my parents. Sadly we have nothing from my husband's parents, circumstances made that impossible.

If it were me I would want to keep something but we are all different. I can understand your daughter is worried about storage. Its a bit of a tightrope you are walking, it may be that your husband is afraid the 'stuff' will never go. It might be interesting to find out why he is so against keeping anything. I'm sorry, no easy answer to this one, letting go can be hard, I hope it works out for you.

Coolgran65 Fri 03-Nov-17 16:36:42

I was in a different position. My offspring had been to uni locally and flat shared off and on, and then was working in another country, living in rented accommodation. I had divorced, moved house, and taken all of his stuff with me in the move.

Ten years later it was still with me when I remarried. Took it all with me to my new home (which had never been son's home although this is where he stays when he comes home). Eventually suggested to offspring when on a visit 'home' that we go through it. A lot of it got dumped (there was still 6th form work from some 15 years previous). This came back to haunt me years later when I was told that some stuff of his dgf's was only got rid of because of my 'pressure' to clear out, one item in particular. I felt bad about that but wasn't a mind reader and wasn't told that it meant so much.

A year later we went through it again doing a further cull.

There were still some bits belonging to dgf and a couple of years ago took a lot of it on a visit to where he now lives on the other side of the world.

A few bits remain in my attic. I've been told to just get rid of - being too heavy or too big to transport. But contrarily, I'm finding it hard because I'd like it in some way to send it over.

I'm my own worst enemy.
We are a blended family and I wanted it cleared or at least the majority of it sorted because when we pop our clogs and the time comes to clear out our house I want it to be as easy as possible for all concerned.

Tegan2 Fri 03-Nov-17 16:52:26

My house is full of their stuff. I am attempting to go through it but getting nowhere. I can probably get my daughter to take her stuff, as she has a large house that is now completely refurbished, whereas my son lives in a tiny house. Not only that, but I have my ex's stuff [he also lives in a tiny house] and his fathers stuff. I've just gone through old newspaper cuttings from when my two were at school. Can't throw those away. DGD loves a lot of the old books that I have; ditto Fisher Price toys. I do have the room to keep it all, but it is overwhelming me at the moment, and I'm not sure how to move forward from it all.

lemongrove Fri 03-Nov-17 16:59:27

If you have the loft or garage space, then keep it.We still have a few things tucked away.Some things they took years ago, some we had to chuck out ( mice tend to get at the soft toys) but things they didn’t want at the time mean more to them as they get so much older, and books can then be given to their own children.
Some things are nice to keep in pretty boxes in the house, and I still enjoy a rummage through them with the DGC who are delighted with them.

Greyduster Fri 03-Nov-17 17:06:34

When we moved from our last house we cleared the loft, including boxes of DS’s magazines and books, DD’s dolls, books, and a dolls house which, once he had discovered it, became GS’s favourite plaything until I passed it on to a nursery. They both had houses bigger than mine was then and I didn’t think it unreasonable to ask them to either take their stuff back or give us permission to get rid of it. They were not nostalgic for any of it. I have kept some of DS’s school exercise books, their school reports; things they made in craft classes at school; DD’s thesis and some of her coursework. The loft in this house is being taken over by the next generation. Persuading DD to take back possession of her son’s ‘grown out ofs’ will be difficult; but I am not in any hurry to do that yet!

Maggiemaybe Fri 03-Nov-17 17:12:07

Don't get rid of anything unless you really have to. I'd just keep it till they have permanent space of their own to store it. To be honest mine have now and I still haven't got round to sorting out most of their old school and uni things, which are stuffed into various boxes and cupboards round the house. We've passed on some of the toys and books, though, and have cleaned others up and keep them here ready for when the DGC visit. My lot would have been happy for me to throw everything out when they were younger, but it would have been a shame. They love it now when the Sylvanian Families / Millennium Falcon / original Trolls and My Little Ponies suddenly appear! I'm still hoping Shufflie Castle and the Flower Fairies bower will turn up in a box somewhere!

Maggiemaybe Fri 03-Nov-17 17:20:40

On the other hand, my DS has hinted that our original Duplo's a bit young for the DGS now and might be heading for the charity shop soon. I can see me taking it all back gradually, ready for the future DGGC that I'll probably never see!

Menopaws Fri 03-Nov-17 17:21:26

J52 I've done exactly the same as you, I now have a lego crate, a brio crate, one of all the figures, plastic animals etc etc and one with all the precious bits of paper and that's it, the best stuffed animals I washed and keep here for the grandchildren. The other stuff I asked them to go through so what I do have left they actually will want rather than me housing rubbish so it suits us all. If I moved and had room I would still keep it if it helped them as it's all in better order than it used to be.

grannyticktock Fri 03-Nov-17 17:55:02

Good Lord, I had no idea so many people kept their kids' stuff! For both my husband and me, there wasn't an option of our childhood belongings being retained, as both our parents moved house several times in the years after we left home, so everything went.

We, too, did a two-stage move after the daughters left home, so we asked them to take what they wanted and we got rid of the rest (they had homes of their own by this stage). If they don't want it enough to make room for it, why on earth would I want to keep it? It would only be another burden for them after we're gone and they have to clear the house. I kept the Lego for the grandkids, and eventually this got taken home by them. I have obviously got photos and a few small mementos ... but nothing else. It's just stuff.

Bridgeit Fri 03-Nov-17 18:04:41

I think it has become normal Twiggy, we have an attic fit to burst ,because they don't have ' time, space etc' As you are moving you have at least got an opportunity to broach the matter . Good luck with Hubby. Hang on to what you can

grannyactivist Fri 03-Nov-17 18:55:14

We have plenty of storage and so agreed to keep things belonging to our adult children until they had their own homes; our two daughters have removed their belongings. Our eldest son is in process of refurbishing his first house and when he has finished he will be invited to remove the possessions he has stored here. The youngest is in a rented flat, but saving for a home of his own and he will then be requested to move his stuff and we shall finally be free of our children's clutter. Then we'll see how much is really ours! [Gulp!]

watermeadow Fri 03-Nov-17 19:44:34

One of my daughters left a box of toys under my spare bed until she’d been married for 10 years and had a much bigger house than mine.
One day I was moving rooms around and simply dumped the box in my bin. She was furious and has never forgiven me for throwing out her old dolls. I was sorry to upset her and wish I’d stopped to ask her first.

Jalima1108 Fri 03-Nov-17 20:00:43

Yes, it is normal but there does come a time when you have to put your foot down and say - 'take it all away please'!

Then you think 'I wish I'd kept that for the DGC'.

Greenfinch Fri 03-Nov-17 20:05:06

DS2 has left lots of his stuff with us. Having been without it for so long he is now telling us to get rid of it all. However I just can't bear to as it includes all the football cups and trophies he won as a child .Sentimental value not for him but for me.

Devorgilla Fri 03-Nov-17 20:29:09

We got rid of most of it when we moved house. We also downsized a lot of our own stuff. We still have 'stuff' but enough attic space to let it fester until we pop our clogs and they have no alternative but to clear it along with our rubbish we never got round to binning. Perfect solution.

Jalima1108 Fri 03-Nov-17 20:35:29

Re-reading the OP, two of the DC are in university so it is still their home, surely, even if you move to another one?

So yes, I would keep it for the time being;', they could come home and help you sort through and pack up all their things into manageable boxes to transport to the next home.

Granny23 Fri 03-Nov-17 21:35:19

My MIL (who was a very difficult woman) emptied my DH's bedroom and binned everything while we were away on honeymoon - his records, books, Scouting stuff, huge Meccano set, every day clothes and as we discovered later, his full set of Eagle Comics from the first edition - now worth a small fortune. DH started married life with one set of work wear and his new 'honeymoon in Italy', sandles, shorts and light tops.

When we had our 2 DDs there was nothing from their father's childhood to pass on to them or show them. MIL remarked that she 'just knew' we would have girls and they would not want old 'boys' stuff.

mcem Fri 03-Nov-17 22:03:32

As each one moved to their long-term home they removed the 'stuff' they'd left behind or decided they didn't want kept. DS and wife are now looking to move from their flat to a house so the very last box will go then. GC s have 'stuff' here and I can't provide storage for 2 generations (plus myself)!!