Things That Still Live at My Parents’ House

(Edit: I wrote this post a few days ago and scheduled it for publication this morning as I sometimes do. I thought I un-published it this morning, but apparently that didn’t work, so now I’m just leaving it.)

There are some things that adult children typically leave at their parents’ home, I think, until those parents get sick of them and give them away, or not. Things like old school work, and nerfuls, and playmobil.

But as a expat who left the States in my early twenties, there is even MORE stuff that lives at my parents’ house simply because I never put it on a plane or a cargo ship to get it over here. Because I was traveling with two suitcases. And I don’t go home five times a year (or even every year).

  1. All my CDs from the age of 13 to 25.
  2. All my books. (Though I’ve unloaded a lot at Half Price Books over the years.)
  3. Random things I love, like the thuja wood jewelry box I bought in Morocco.
  4. Quilts handed down from my grandmother and crocheted blankets made by my mom.
  5. Almost all the dresses I acquired before 2009.
  6. Pretty kitchen serving dishes, most of them gifts from my mom when I was in college.
  7. A modest foreign doll collection.

It’s hard to make a complete list because the things I have at my parents’ house come back to me randomly and surprisingly. Like I’ll be talking with a friend who’s knitting a blanket and then think, oh yeah, we have those things back home, and I could have them if I hadn’t moved so freaking far away.

I like to point out that J has five times as much stuff as I do, but it’s really only because there are things you just don’t take on a plane with you when you don’t know if you’re going for more than a year. (Although it is also partly because of his rock-climbing t-shirt habit.)

Maybe someday soon I’ll cough up the cash to ship some of it over here. It’s nice being free of things, but some of them are more than just “things.”

Anyone else out there have stuff they’re attached to back home? (Also, thanks Mom and Dad.)

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12 thoughts on “Things That Still Live at My Parents’ House

  1. As you know, I am in the middle of doing the exact opposite! I’ve brought over a few clothes, movies, and books over the years, and now I have to ship them all back! I had planned on getting rid of almost everything in my room at my parents’ house once we get there, since I figure if I lived 8 years here without it, I don’t really need it. Though my mom just told me she’s renting out my room starting a few weeks before we arrive (we’ll be crashing in the guest room when we’re there, since it has a bigger bed), and she’ll just put everything into boxes and I can go through it later. Which, if I’m honest with myself, means never, lol.

    I keep telling my husband he can leave stuff at his mom’s and we can bring stuff back whenever we visit. But whether because they moved around a fair bit when he was young, or it’s just his natural tendency, he really doesn’t have that much! About a million BDs, which he insists on shipping (thank goodness it’s by volume and not weight!) but nowhere near as many toys, knickknacks, school things as I know I have in my old room.

    • I can’t even imagine the work that would be involved in going back the other direction! It sounds very exciting though.

      Mostly I’m thinking about this since we’ve bought a house and are creating a more permanent home, so it would be nice to have some of these things. We had to go through a lot of stuff a few years ago when my parents moved into a smaller home, and since then, yeah, the boxes haven’t been opened.

  2. L says:

    My old room is mostly like I left it, although my mom has completely taken over the closet as extra storage for her and my desk serves as counter space for storing random things (paper products mostly). I too have a couple blankets there it would be nice to have, and then lots of books. I was lucky enough to have my mom freight ship a whole bunch of my stuff the year I was a language assistant, so I have all my clothes, a few coffee mugs, and other random things. Occasionally I’ve thought about getting the rest of my stuff: CDs, most but not all of the books, some random objects like music boxes and sand in water bottles I collected in Florida, Yukon territory, and Prince Edward Island.

    I am also not looking forward to the day my parents downsize and move to a smaller place, because I know I’ll have to help them go through 30+ years of stuff.

    • My parents moved a few years ago to a smaller home and we went through a lot of stuff. So all the stuff I have left there was either purposely kept, or stuff I acquired during my masters program.

      What was the freight shipping process like?

  3. I have so much left at home. Like A LOT. It was never sure until last year that I wouldn’t be going back. I promised her this Christmas that I’d go through all of the clothes that are still there. And the CDs. I have a lot of stuffed animals, many of which have sentimental value (like things that were from my dad). I might start bringing them over? It’s just we still don’t have a lot of space here so I’m not sure where it would go. And I have boxes and boxes of books and DVDs. Maybe I should look into shipping? But again, no real space for it until we have a house or a MUCH bigger apartment.

    • I totally get that not sure you’re not going back thing. I gave up most real books a few years ago and bought a kindle—it’s just simpler, more portable. As a former English major I think my books would even have been too many for this house!

      Good luck with the sorting if you get around to it!

      • I have a Kindle now, but I don’t want to part with any of my books! At least not all of them. Like I have all the Harry Potters, but those are super heavy. I don’t think my mom is going to allow me to get out of the sorting this time, so thanks!

  4. I still have a decent amount of stuff at my parents’ house. I thought I would clean it out three years ago before coming back to France for grad school, but didn’t. When I went home for Christmas one year, I also had plans to do it, but didn’t. When I was back home this past year, I got rid of a lot of things, but still not nearly as much I thought I would! Now my mom is clearing things out so she can redecorate a little, which is probably for the best because it’s hard to get rid of unnecessary, but sentimental things.

    • You’re right it’s probably best to have a second point of view on what to keep and what to get rid of. Glad to know I’m not the only one with lingering important stuff across the ocean.

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