Cleaning Closets

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Cleaning Closets
By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 10:18 am: Edit

I have been very brave throughout my son's senior year and throughout this summer, but as the magical day approaches, I find there are more things tugging at my heartstrings than I ever thought would. The latest came as I offered to help my son clean out his room so that we could better determine what he needed for school. He works a 40 hour week, and his weekends have been spent with his high school friends and I wouldn't ask him to give up these last few weeks with them.

It all started when he began work this summer and was doing laundry every couple of days. I asked him why he was doing so much and he replied that ony a couple of pairs of pants fit since he had grown an inch in the waistline. He's been going through that change that 18 years olds do from the body of a boy to the body of a young man. I was prepared to go through the rod full of pants and shorts that probably didn't fit any more, but I wasn't ready for everything else. I waded through the old schoolwork and that was fine, but when I found his model rockets, complete with tool kit, parachutes and unused charges, I just had to take a break. Today, when I start up again, I will face legos, an erector set and various other momentos of his youth. Hopefully, I'll be able to get more done today before he gets home from work. I don't want him to see dear old mom so nostalgic. He's so excited about moving forward and I truly am happy for him.

Thanks for letting me work through this on the forum. Hopefully, I'm brave again. Well, off I go.........

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 10:21 am: Edit

I'm saving all that stuff for my grandchildren! Hugs to you, Alongfortheride.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 10:26 am: Edit

I had hoped my D would clean out her closet before going to college last year ... and again hoped that she would do so this summer (plus her boxes of stuff in the basement). No such luck. I assume we're going to be stuck with this stuff until WE move (which is what my sisters and I did to my parents!)

Now that it's August, I think it's also safe to assume that all the stuff she brought back from freshman year, which is STILL piled on one side of the living room, isn't going to be moved until she has to pack up to go in about a month ... sigh. It's wonderful having her home (really) :)

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 10:28 am: Edit

Aww... I have stuff from my kids' kindergarten years. AND I have framed one or two pieces they did in 1st grade. These are not junk; they are archival documents.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 10:58 am: Edit

Absolutely, Marite! The problem I have here is that in Texas, we don't have basements, and the attics get so hot in summer, that it's not a great place to store more fragile items like school work. As much as I would like to follow Aparent4's lead and save it for my grandchildren, I must file it away now so that we can continue to live in the space we have. Like Rhonda63, my loft is full of his soon to be college things, and unless I clear out a great deal of space in the guest room, it looks like it will stay that way next summer when he arrives back home.

Thanks for all of the support! I feel much better now.

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 11:21 am: Edit

Alongfortheride--you've still got the legos? Wow, I couldn't WAIT to get rid of those! I still remember one hot summer day, sitting on the floor of one of my twin's bedrooms, trying to sort a mountain of legos from a mountain of locblocks, having to peer closely at each one, thinking "this is surely hell!" and wondering if it was a man who had invented the darned things!

I guess because we haven't moved in the thirty years of our marriage and we don't have a lot of storage space, I've been forced to go through stuff on a regular basis. When Son #1 went to college, I spent three days cleaning his room. I guess he thought the candy wrappers he was depositing behind his bookcase were disappearing into some alternate universe. Ha! Also, he was so unsentimental about his room (no posters or "shrine" type stuff left behind) I was relatively quick to re-do the whole thing (two years later) into added office space for myself.

However, I won't be doing that with our twins. I suspect they will want "rooms" to come home to for a good time to come. On the other hand, I just informed them yesterday that however they leave their rooms when they go off in the fall will be exactly the way they'll find them at Christmas! Okay, okay, if they actually pick the "stuff" up, I might deign to vacuum, but that's it! This is MY new life too.

By Digmedia (Digmedia) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 12:23 pm: Edit

Ahhh, the Legos.... My son has been collecting Legos since he was very young. Every birthday, every Christmas, all he wanted was Legos! The collecting got serious when he started finding (on the internet) older Lego sets, and now his Lego collection could help pay for his college.

When we built his room, we had to have three sections: the sleeping section, his office, and the "Lego City" room, where his more valuable Lego sets are on shelves and the entire floor is covered with a huge city: trains, monorails, airports, office buidings, and on and on...

Doing something with these (even if it's only to pack them up back into their original boxes - which we kept) will be a massive undertaking.

I still have about 11 more months though before it has to be cleaned up...


By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 12:43 pm: Edit

We still have an entire basket of plastic Ninja Turtles and assorted accessories! Remember them? I'm not sure we'll ever be able to throw them away.....

By Over30 (Over30) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 12:55 pm: Edit

Two huge plastic containers of legos, individual boxes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman and friends, 2 big boxes of Star Wars stuff, wooden blocks, Brio trains, and who knows what. We even had Lincoln Logs (for those who grew up in the 50's). One summer mine built a chess set out of Legos and played with it for months. Of course the queen had to have a castle, and a place to keep the horses, and it took up most of one room. One of mine used Legos for a senior year project last year.

I'm keeping everything for the grandkids too (and because I just can't throw it all away). My mom threw everything away when I went to college, and I'd really like to have all of my Beatles memorabilia - that would help pay for college too.

We haven't attacked the room or closet yet, partly because I'm dreading it.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 01:05 pm: Edit

We gave all of my son's Legos--a massive collection--to my husband's brother's son, now 8.

My suggestion to anyone who wants to give away Legos: the nearest afterschool program (Boys and Girls Club, etc.).

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 01:09 pm: Edit


I know someone who bought tons of Star Wars memorabilia and keeps them in mint condition with the idea that one day they will become collectibles.

We donated S#1's train collection and S#2's lego collection to our district's science team. We still have boxes and boxes of K'Nex. I am keeping all the essays they wrote, beginning in first grade, school reports, projects, and books, books, books. Oh, also the craft projects they did either in school or at camp.

By Over30 (Over30) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 01:20 pm: Edit

Marite, nope, we played with our Star Wars guys (and the dog chewed off a head or two).

I have to hide all of their papers from my husband, because I still have stuff from pre-school on. I even have all of their science fair project boards from elementary school. It must be true that opposites attract. This pack rat and the neat freak husband celebrated 29 years yesterday.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 03:44 pm: Edit

I am loving this. So I'm not the only sentimental person forced to be a little practical. The Legos will stay. We have too many memories. Also, his little red hammer that made every car trip with us. I have my stuffed monkey that my dad brought home to me when I was two. We turned around on a car trip when I was small and drove sixty miles to retrieve him. Zippy was it for me, and now that my dad is gone, I love him all the more. I will try and keep all of the stuff with memories attached.

Enjoying this, my husband used to get so irritated because the legos are hard on bare feet in the middle of the night. I just had to laugh out loud at your description of sorting through them to weed out the locblocks.

I think I'll wade slowly into the copy source box full of pictures........

By Massmom (Massmom) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 04:09 pm: Edit

Funny, I was thinking of cleaning when I opened this thread. I was convinced when my boys were small that I would be finding legos all over the house for years after they were gone. I think I gave most of them, along with the Brio trains and assorted action fiqures, to younger cousins. I have folders for each of them with some schoolwork, awards, report cards,etc., and I know there is more in the attic.

Years ago, when my twin sisters left for college, my mother cleaned their rooms, got rid of their beds, and put sofa beds in their rooms. They were such a handful in high school that she wanted to make it as difficult as possible for them to move back home. It didn't really work, as they were both back, at least temporarily, within a year.

I don't plan on doing the same, but need to clean my son's room out enough so that it can be used by my mother in the next few months if needed, as she is very sick with cancer and may need to stay with us for a while. Too many changes at the same time.

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 04:35 pm: Edit

Lest anyone think me totally unsentimental, I will report that we definitely HAVE saved the big box of Brio trains, a barely weeded out collection of pandas and bunnies, and several sets of Playmobile. My daughter liked those and actually played with them, making up stories etc. until she was practically a teenager. I liked that they didn't break down into so darned many pieces! I also have an embarrassing number of American Girl dolls and accessories which were really more to humor me than for my daughter! That is, she scrawled all the stuff on her Christmas list (which I still have) but I think she was actually just humoring me. Well, I'm all set for the granddaughters, if I get any. Oh, I've also saved all the costumes, which I enjoyed making and which I already have enjoyed lending out to young friends. They may not survive until grandkids, but that's okay-- I will enjoy the excuse to make more!

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:07 pm: Edit

Massmom, bless you. I too, had too many changes this year. Somehow, we manage to survive.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 07:08 pm: Edit

Some of the American Girl doll stuff goes for way above retail on EBay. I was stunned when I got $35 for the AG dress patterns I bought for $6 in the late 80s.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 07:26 pm: Edit

Dont they still make the Americian girl doll stuff?
It seems like we barely stopped getting the catalog.
( my oldest had the Kirsten doll and my youngest had the Girl of Today that was as close to her as she could get... which was pretty much like the Kirsten doll)

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 07:48 pm: Edit

I think the older stuff may have been discontinued. Or modified. Or something. I know they still make AG stuff. Apparently collectors want the older stuff.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 08:10 pm: Edit

We have a giant panda that was given to my older S when he was born. And he truly is a giant. A very erudite panda: even went to college a couple of years. He may resume his interrupted undergraduate education (as a transfer student, though) when S#2 goes to college. Right now, he is plopped on the couch outside the kids' rooms, looking like a furry version of The Thinker.

By Patient (Patient) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 10:51 pm: Edit

My mind is just awash in memories as this is the summer I decided to organize all 3 children's school work, photos, art, letters, etc. into plastic file boxes by child's name and year. And then I did the same thing with my own stuff that I still had at my dad's house! So I feel that I have lived my children's childhood and my own life all over again. Brings with it a lot of emotions, occasional tears (especially when reading my mom's letters to me, as we lost her two years ago), and a reminder of how much fun it is to watch these human beings grow up.

Psst...but I am still lying in wait for the day I get to undertake a cleaning frenzy in son's room after he departs!!

Sounds like we are united by nostalgia and love for our children!

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 01:04 am: Edit

Patient-- yeah, that's how I was about son #1. I really did want to get in there and clean!

As for the cleaning and weeping--been there. I did one closet a couple summers back. All my childhood dolls were in there. My mother never saved one thing from her childhood for me so I went the other way. Then my daughter could not have been less interested. I saved some but did sell a couple on e-bay. I figured at least whoever bought them was interested!

Sorry you lost your mom, Patient. Hey, write me? My ad is in my profile.

By Tabby (Tabby) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 02:08 am: Edit

Alongfortheride, I surely can relate. When my S went to boarding school last August, I had a similar situation. Guess what - all the closet junk is still there! I could not bear to part with it yet. It is comforting, in a weird way, to go in the closet and see it all when he's not here. It is something akin to grief - a personal journey that everyone goes through in their own time and in their own way. Don't part with anything till you're "good and ready"!
Bet your S is excited about Tulane. Best of luck!

By Valpal (Valpal) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 04:26 am: Edit

What a coincidence, this thread! I was just saying to my D that she needed to deep clean her room prior to going off to college. I promised to help her sort through the mountains of stuff. Otherwise, I don't think there's a prayer that it would ever get done.

Ours is a lego house too. It started with D, who couldn't seem to get enough of them. Then she passed this passion on to her brother (along with all her old sets). And of course, he's added a considerable amount to the Lego collection. I don't ever see throwing them out, though. Ditto, the brio trains and the large number of playmobile sets we've collected over the years. I envision having them at my house for the grandkids (fingers crossed!). They will be special "grandma's house toys". I figure that in the future, well made imagination toys may be in short supply, especially wooden ones. They could well become family treasures, passed down from generation to generation...

D enjoyed a short period of American Girl interest. We bought Samatha and a number of her alarmingly expensive accessories before she decided that she really wasn't a doll person afterall. It's too bad, because just about that time, they came out with the Addie doll, and I dearly wanted an excuse to buy her---LOL!

By Massmom (Massmom) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 07:49 am: Edit

I told my son last night that I would clean after he left. We just sorted through clothing last night (a rare moment when all of his friends were working or otherwised engaged and he actually had to stay home with us for an evening) just to see if he needed more socks and t-shirts, etc. He is not a "stuff" person, so I was thinking that there wouldn't be much to bring, but it looks as if I was wrong.

We are having both bathroom renovated this summer, while my youngest is at camp, so the house is a mess. I am not ready for any more right now.

As I said, most of the legos are gone, but we still have a box of these tiny transformer type things called zbots in the basement. My S and his best friend used to play with them in elementary school. Now they just throw them at each other when they are sleeping in the basement or playing pool. They are a nuisance to step on. Will probally find those also for years.

By Muppetcoat (Muppetcoat) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 08:03 am: Edit

If any of you want to clean my room, you're welcome to do it.


(Seriously though- cleaning out a kid's room is dangerous... what happens when ten years down the line you find out that ugly junky thing you threw out is worth a mint?)

By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 08:08 am: Edit

My sister stayed with S when I was away one weekend, and I came home to find almost all clothes, toys, art supplies, and books, given away to charities. They saved one big tupperware box for me, the sentimental one. Remember those foam puzzles, where you built 3-D houses, castles? Only things they couldn't give away. They justified that the migrant workers' children had more need than our garage did.
P.S.-I have MY childhood dolls from foreign countries displayed on shelves in dining room, which have moved with me many years.

By Fredo (Fredo) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 10:01 am: Edit

I can't wait to get at my daughter's room. I am a notorious neat freak and "thrower outer" so she is mildly threatened by what is going to take place in there after she leaves! This spurred her to "clean" out her room - which meant that the piles of stuff got rearranged (and actually grew in some cases). Like EnjoyingThis, I'm thinking that candy wrappers are fair game for disposal. As are CVS receipts, soda can tabs, plastic bags, broken hair bands, empty chapstick tubes, old folded half-done crossword puzzles, cardboard holders for cheap jewelry, hallway passes, clothing tags, all sorts of little boxes that makeup, contacts,etc. come in, and -of course- the bathroom stuff: the 10 different razors, 4 different shave creams, five different body soaps, 3 loofahs and entire contents of a bath and body works store crammed into every available inch of space in her shower!!

Oh, I cannot wait *salivates at thought of cleaning* LOL!!

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 11:03 am: Edit

I guess part of the idea of YEARNING to clean is the idea that this time, the clean might last for awhile! I remember when my husband would take the kids on a short trip so I could work on my own for a few days, I would clean the minute they walked out the door, wanting to give myself full benefit of my efforts for the longest time possible. This time I'm figuring--as far as their rooms go--that they will be home soon enough to mess things up again. I'll be looking forward to the total refurbishing that will happen sometime down the line!

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 11:09 am: Edit

Some of those things that are "worth a mint" down the line cost money to move and store, as well as taking up house space.

My sister's son stored 15 years of comic books in their basement, near the furnace. Do I really need to continue with this? Yes, big fire, and months later the insurance company is still not paying up.

By Massmom (Massmom) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 12:34 pm: Edit

Remember they say that hindsight is twenty-twenty. Trash is far game (most of that is in the basement, however). I think I can box a lot of things and put them in the attic. The drawers full of clothes that are waiting for his brother to grow into can go to goodwill, since I don't think at this point that they will ever be the same size. Sentimental stuff can be boxed.

Dmd77 - My husband and I had a hundred or so vinyl LPs stored in the basement when we had a washing machine hose break (with the subsequent flood). Insurance company gave us $4 a piece for them, and we didn't even own a functional turntable at the time. Went towards the rest of the repairs.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 03:57 pm: Edit

The saga continues. I have not been able to get back to the task today because of band colorguard activities,a private lesson and a company dinner with H this evening. But I did find a prize yesterday. We have lived in our house since my son was in the first grade and he has attended school with many of the kids he graduated with since they were all in kindergarten. Yesterday, I found four envelopes of pictures in his closet. One had several pictures of his little sister that he had taken to finish the roll. She was in kindergarten at the time and he was in fourth grade. On that same roll were pictures of two kids he was in band with for the whole six years. One envelope was full of pictures from his fifth grade trip to Sky Ranch. Still another had pictures of a vacation trip to Colorado, and on that same roll, pictures of a trip he took with my parents. Since I lost my dad in November, finding pictures of him was especially sweet.

I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed your posts. I have laughed and cried and taken comfort in the fact that we are all in this together and that life is good.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 04:07 pm: Edit


What a nice story. Finding these mementoes makes the effort of housecleaning all the more worthwhile. Plus, you get a tidier house.

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