How much of your clutter is belongs to your child?
Your son or daughter has moved on, yet he didn’t take everything. Instead, he left it for you with a promise he’ll return for it. You wait…and wait…and wait.
You want your real-estate back. And your house. Or at least the room.
Does this sound familiar at all? Am I the only one that has this problem?
Clutter doesn’t have to mean the room is a mess. It’s not piles of clothes on the floor or an unmade bed. Clutter is just stuff. An overabundance of stuff.
And these unwanted items may be holding your emotions hostage.
When your son or daughter moves out, they take what is important to them. If they are asking you to hold on to their items, and it’s been weeks… months… even, in my case years, then they don’t want it any more than you do.
Why does this matter?
Their clutter is holding you back. No, really it is.
Not only does clutter disrupts our focus it also keeps us stagnate in our past life. When your child leaves, it sometimes feels like they leave us. So we keep their belongings around.
Sometimes we keep their room the same just in case they do come back. And when they don’t…their room becomes a catch-all for extra things like clothes, decorations, or computer cast-offs.
(A little secret: if they do come back temporary, they bring more stuff with them that will probably end up left behind.)
Let Go of Their Clutter
It’s time to let your child live and for you to take control of their old room. (Because it’s not their room anymore. It’s yours.) Do with it what you want in a clutter-free fashion.
The more you ignore the room, close the door, scoot past it in a light run; it’ll continue to haunt you.
Cleaning can be therapeutic.
First, let your child know what you’re doing and if they want anything they need to come get it. Set a date. If they don’t come, they forfeit their right to it.
And no guilt on your part allowed.
Set aside a day and get your supplies together.
- Garbage Bags
According to Gretchen Rubin’s book Outer Order, Inner Calm, she says to look at an item and see what emotion it triggers. If none…well, that’s easy. Toss it or put it in the giveaway bin.
If for some reason it does trigger something like something from your past, you can put it in a tote and decide later. Then if you don’t use it for a year than it should be disposed of in some shape or form.
Face The Emotions
Cleaning clutter may cause several emotions. Sadness or loneliness for times past. But be brutal. Experience the feeling and let it go.Letting go of clutter is good for your mental health. It clears space in your mind and your home. Click To Tweet
Letting go is actually good for you and one of the reasons you are doing this. It gives you space to move on and make space for the other good things that are coming your way.
Think of it like this: if you were gone would your child save it or would they throw it away? If you’re saving it just so that they will take care of it than you might as well give it to someone else that will treasure it.
Take Care Of Clutter Today
I’ve had the not so pleasurable task of cleaning out my parent’s home. And I don’t mean just once. My parents were divorced so I got to do it twice. Mom was not a clutter collector. It was easy to do her apartment although I took several of her needlework pictures home with me that I’m now ready to let go.
My father’s farm…so much work. There were still harnesses for the horse and plow days. It was 100 years of cluttered and junk. Nothing was ever thrown away. It’s a big job that is taking years to clean up. It would have been easier if he would have tossed his castoffs himself instead of leaving it to his children.
This is what has motivated me to get started on my own clutter.
Clearing clutter will also give you that change that you’re yearning for.
Not to mention clear thinking. And who doesn’t need that? I know I do.
This is for your mental health.
Practice A Clutter-Free Life
Once you have the room cleared and tidied up, make sure you make the effort to move the bags, totes, and boxes out of your house and to their designated spots. It doesn’t do you any good if you just shifted the cluttered to another room.
If you need more help on how to clean out your clutter be sure to get Gretchen Rubin’s book. It has pages of suggestions to clear clutter not only physical items but other items also.
Also her podcast Happier gives some good suggestions on how to be happy and clutter-free.
This project won’t be all finished in a day. I’ve cleaned out my son’s clutter several times and fair warning—every time I finished they came back. Just saying. Be prepared.
There are many benefits to being clutter-free. According to WebMD, The Mental Health Benefits of Tidying Up by Seth J. Gilliham PHD; if we are clutter-free it shows that we care for ourselves and offer a sense of satisfaction.
Benefits Of Clutter-Free
Having everything in their spot clears a lot of brain space too. We don’t have to waste time looking for something. There is nothing more irritating than looking for something that you swore you just saw. Once you have things sorted, be sure to keep it clean by putting everything in its assigned spot. It will make your life so much easier.
Other than giving more clear thinking, Seth also suggests that improves efficiency and decreases frustration.
Then set a goal of time, 30 minutes a week, an hour once a week, or whatever that will work for you, to put everything in their spot and keep it clean. You didn’t go through all of this only to have another cluttered mess to clean up again.
These solutions may take you a week, a month or a year but it won’t get done unless you actually do it. Otherwise, you’ll only accumulate more clutter. This will also teach your child you’re not their storage unit and if they want to keep something, it’s their responsibility to find a different place for it.
And it will teach them to keep up on their own clutter. It’s like paying it forward, no?
This article should have given you an overall idea of how and why to clean up your clutter be it your child’s leftovers or your own. But starting with your child’s leftovers will make it a little easier and will prompt you to continue through the whole house. If nothing else it will give you a moment to look back on your life with your child and be proud of the offspring you produced. They didn’t get this far without you. Now take your life back and make it your own.
I’d love to hear from you. What will you do first to get the clutter out of your life? Drop a comment below.
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