Stuff and clutter: what we own, what we store, what we’ll inherit

Have you read the list of 49 things about me I posted the other day? Numbers 6, 7 and 8 touch on my desire for order in this house. Frankly, I could come up with 49 items just on that topic, but that would be a boring list to read. πŸ˜›

But the accumulation of stuff is a prevailing topic in my life.

For instance, my parents are housing stuff that belongs to us. Even though we have our own house, you understand.

The difference is that their house is bigger, and emptier of people (it’s just the two of them now) and our house is a lot smaller (about a third of their size) and full of stuff.

Mostly the kids’ stuff. Sports equipment, clothing, shoes, toys, books, craft supplies, electronics and assorted other knicknacks.

And my partner’s stuff. Hunting stuff and camping stuff and aviation stuff and work stuff for college and books. So many books. Too many books. Also papers and binders, receipts, old bills. Old electronic equipment and footware and I don’t even want to talk about it anymore.


Some of it is my stuff, true, but most of my stuff is communal – kitchen/cooking stuff and supplies for writing, note-making and things like that. Seasonal clothing and toiletries. A few artsy things I made or collected. A few precious German language books, and some plants.

Perhaps I own more stuff than I realize, hence the semi-regular purges…

So. One day last week we were at my parents’ place for lunch.

“You still have floor boards here,” they said to us. “From when you renovated your house and had leftover boards.” (That’s about four years ago.)

“And your old bike,” they told my partner.

“There’s several boxes and bins of old things from your childhood,” they continued, talking directly to him. “Records, and some old camera accessories.”

He gave me a look.

Somehow those items ended up in my parents’ basement. Either because our house is too small to store all of that superfluous stuff, or because when we renovated and the rented utility storage unit was full they offered to take the overflow.

My partner’s family lived in a huge house full of a lot of stuff. With five kids, spanning 24 years in ages, this is hardly surprising. He was the baby and lived in that house until he was 29.

The house is gone now, sold when the remaining parent died, and a lot of stuff came to our house in bins and boxes. Things he was holding on to, in some cases, for sentimental reasons.

Some of that stuff is now in still unopened bins and boxes in our garage, attic, basement or, as mentioned above, at my parents’ place. Been there since we moved into our own house 17 years ago, or at least since the renovations.


I don’t even want to open up the bins and boxes…

What are we going to do with this stuff? I’m hardly able to stay on top of the kids’ current constant clutter and outgrown clothing, not to mention toys they won’t part with (anyone need more lego?) so adding more unused stuff into our already precariously organized home isn’t going to work for me.

We need another bike like we need another hole in our heads – he bought a new bike some years ago that does not hurt his back and has an ergonomically specialized seat, but he can’t/won’t part with the old, traditional bike. It’s in my parents’ basement. The new bike, which is much longer than a standard sized bike, is in our garage but it’s not doing anything other than take up valuable space we don’t have.

I can’t remember the last time he used it.

“Can we hang it on the wall with some hooks?” I asked numerous times.

He nodded.

Well, we need double the amount of hooks now because a new ladder found its way into the already tight space in that garage and…no one uses ladders daily. No reason it can’t be hung up on some hooks when not in use. Up on the ceiling, for example. Or above the bike? Below the bike?

Maybe I should add hooks to my shopping list.

The point is, the stuff that my parents are hording for us is weighing on me. I think about it, want to get rid of it, but he doesn’t. My parents say (continually) that it doesn’t bother them but if they have to move or when they die, the house will be full of their stuff, plus ours his, so why not deal with it now?

My parents are also continually downsizing their own stuff. They understand what I’m going through with my tiny house and kids with endless sports gear. There are items they’ve kept from my childhood my daughter still plays with, but soon…what will we do with that stuff?

To add insult to injury, I like some of their stuff! πŸ™„

Well maybe some of my complaining has reached the husband’s consciousness. He brought home two things from my parents’ place and placed it in the basement office to sell on Kijiji.

It’s a start.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go purge outgrown clothing out of the kids closets, since they are not here. πŸ˜›

Further reading:

The purge: starting at the beginning

13 thoughts on “Stuff and clutter: what we own, what we store, what we’ll inherit

  1. Interesting, interesting… I’ve been through something like that and I want to know how this story goes. Maybe it’s fun.


  2. I managed to find a way to convince Sunshine to go through a large space saver bag full of stuff. Random stuff. Like photographs of people he can’t identify. Obituaries of family members. Old ass letters.
    His attachment to stuff drives me bonkers.
    I don’t even want to think about what the hell my brother, sister, and I are going to do with my mom’s house full of stuff. There is so MUCH of it.
    I feel your pain. I’m here if you need a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to vent to.
    cynthiawalkerwhite at gmail [dot] com

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well currently I’m avoiding that area of the basement… Seriously! I can’t deal with that AND my daughter’s room! 3 bags and counting from that tween girl. πŸ˜› πŸ™‚

        But yes, true. At the same time, be careful what you wish for, friend. ;P

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I understand that there will be some stuff that only your partner just like only my husband can decide to get rid of and it is frustrating. Hence my remark about trying on clothes and throwing out the ones you have outgrown with the time off. I can get rid of some books and old receipts as this is my domain but I won’t touch his records or books or tools!

    Liked by 1 person

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