Everything I Own, Part 5: Stalled?

The kind of toys Link liked. I think the frogs were going to sorcery school…

I have been taking an extra-long time to complete my home inventory because I “hit the wall,” so to speak.

When Link let home almost 2 years ago, a lot of stuff was left behind. It is a combination of childhood toys and mementos, clothes (half of which were personally designed and constructed), craft items and  books. When I helped Link move, we could only bring one car load of gear, so a lot of things would have gone along if there had been more room. On the other hand, most of the things left in the bedroom are either not useful, not meaningful, or there will be no room for them in a small apartment for the next decade, if ever!

Now in true motherly fashion, I tried to get Link to declutter during our last visit, but it “didn’t get done.” Typical for a child of any age not to want to clean their room! I have decided to include all of Link’s stuff in the home inventory. Link can either go through it during our next visit, or go through the lists and photos!

A little tableau from Link’s room, age 13. Yes, the walls are that dark grey!

What I didn’t count on was that I would have a meltdown while going through everything, to the point that I had to stop for a couple of weeks. Link and I have always been very close and still are, but Link is caught up in personal issues and we don’t talk as much as I would like. I’m sure that’s true of many parents and their grown children, but I find it so hard. Now you might think I would be overcome with nostalgia for the time when Link was a little girl, but that proved not to be true. What bothered me most was that Link had some tough times in high school, and the bedroom looks like a museum exhibit from those years – frozen in time. Now I understand why parents often redecorate their kids’ rooms and turn them into guest rooms and sewing rooms and exercise rooms. Otherwise it’s like living with the ghost of your child’s past! It was truly creepy.

I am about two-thirds done, and I am pleased with getting everything into order for future decisions. But I was not prepared for the emotional wallop!

Since then I have been spending lots of time doing things other than home inventory because I needed a break.

Last weekend I regrouped and tackled the shed. The weather cooperated and I spent 8 hours outdoors overhauling the space. Here’s what I dragged out of there:

Contents of shed!

Contents of shed!

I cleaned the shed and everything in it – which unfortunately included bug and mouse debris, but quite a bit of stuff had been put away properly in storage bins. I examined everything and decluttered and then reloaded the shed. Since my last shed declutter 3 years ago, the shed itself has deteriorated and may need to be replaced. But I will thoroughly investigate the options first!

Here are a couple of examples of things stored in there:

Camping gear - includes a tent in a bag, and a propane stove, but no cookware! Last camping: 2008

Camping gear – includes a tent in a bag, and a propane stove, but no cookware! Last camping: 2008

Plant pots! I was so embarrassed to see how many I hoarded. I don’t even plant seeds! I gave them to my dad who has a little greenhouse.

All of our collections are now accounted for. This is Rom’s assortment of crystals and stones:

We like rocks.

I still have a few more weekends of work on the inventory:

  • Tool box / hardware
  • Linens
  • Craft supplies
  • Office supplies
  • Documents
  • Items in car

At last, I am seeing an end in sight!

Postscript: The home inventory was eventually completed and the results are here.


  1. todadwithlove

    “Typical for a child of any age not to want to clean their room!” — that SO resonates with me. I do love those camping gear and rocks. I never cease to marvel at your organisation abilities. If only I have a mere fraction of that virtue, my room would be in better shape. 🙂

  2. I know my mother would rather see more of me than she does. She loved it when I moved home (and I made sure to take all my ‘memorabilia’ with me, save for two huge frames collages. You have a complete household, I’m not at all surprised you’ve lost steam! And I know you’ll be very exacting about it, where as I’ve been more overview, with less of the brand/date purchased sorts of details. But the end is in sight!

  3. Fiona

    Dar, I can so relate. For me, the ‘meltdown’ happened with getting rid of J’s baby things, as that was the point when I really knew we’d only ever have one child.

    There are particular challenges with one kid, too. The clothes and toys don’t wear out / disappear like they would if passed down in a family of 3 and the memories are tied to one kid only. The memories can be overwheming. I hope you are getting through it ok. I struggled to declutter our younger kid things but I can honestly say I feel unburdened by letting it go.

    • Hi Fiona, I know you understand. The baby and child things eventually got passed along and I’m sure I’ll make it through this phase too. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if, when Link visits next, I hear “I don’t want any of it!” And I don’t want to be a sad mama who keeps their child’s room exactly like it was. Until that time, everything will be neatly stacked and awaiting Link’s decisions – and if I don’t get any, I will make them myself!

  4. Dar, I was fine when my boys moved out on their own but then they took all their personal possessions when they moved. I am shocked that you could fit all that in one shed, you are better at organizing than I am I would be overwhelmed by storing that much. Love the rocks and crystals.

  5. My mum solved the problem of my stuff left at home by bringing a box or bag of it every time she came to visit, there’s nothing of mine there now, which actually makes me feel a little sad when I think about it. I can understand feeling sad about Link’s room, it would be like looking through a time capsule. I haven’t been able to get rid of lots of my boy’s things from when they were little and they are 15 and 18.

    If you could see the inside of our shed it would make you feel incredibly organised….

    • That is the flip side of the issue – I don’t want Link to feel that their time at home has been erased! I do think it’s important to have some memorabilia displayed, but not taking over the house.

      I find it easier to clean the shed than the house because so much stuff out there is either dirty or dangerous; it really needs attention!

  6. 30 years later now I know why my mom left my room pretty much untouched for years after I moved out. Wow. p.s. Love the Canadian chair!

    • Yes, I bet she didn’t like the feeling of “erasing” you. Isn’t it funny how we too-closely relate people and possessions? We got the Canadian camping chair for Rom when he moved here!

  7. Pingback: Everything I Own, Part 6: So Close! | An Exacting Life

  8. Pingback: Declutter and Reshelve Project | An Exacting Life

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