Kids are gone, but not their stuff

September 20, 2018

You’ve heard of the empty nest but have you heard of the cluttered one? Tom and I aren’t empty nesters but in only a few years our last one of six will be flying the coop. We’re not completely empty. Instead, we have the cluttered nest, which is made up of the belongings of the first five who’ve graduated and moved away.

We have closetfuls of clothing that the first five children don’t quite want, but they also don’t quite want to give away. I didn’t notice this until I went to find a jacket of mine in an extra bedroom closet.

There was no jacket of mine, but there were 40 T-shirts with various high school, college, sorority, soccer and volleyball sayings on them hanging there.

I CALLED ONE daughter and asked if she needed some of her shoes in the bottom of another closest. She said not really, but she might someday, so I could leave them there.

It’s been four years since one child has moved to college, six and eight years for two more. I don’t blame them for keeping their stuff here. Each one lives in an apartment that doesn’t have a bunch of storage.

Why store their boots, winter coats, scarves and purses in their one closet when they can store them at Mom’s? Maybe I could be the storage unit.

The tipping point was when I went into a second bedroom and found college books, notes and old mail stored in a dresser. I was looking for one empty dresser drawer to store some of my stuff and couldn’t find one.

IT WAS TIME to give an ultimatum to the birds who’ve flown the nest — either take their stuff or — I wasn’t sure. I can’t see myself actually hauling any of these items to charity.

On second thought, maybe each child can have a few full totes in the basement for what they really have no room for. Even I am not ready for them to get rid of their stuffed animals or soccer medals.

No one ever told me about the cluttered nest where you may not have as many kids around as you used to, but you still have their belongings. I’m OK with it for at least the next 10 years.

In the meantime, someone remind me that I don’t mind dusting bulletin boards, old corsages and broken remote control cars.

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