So the kids have finally flown the coop, but they’ve left a whole lot of stuff behind.
Having the house to yourself after 18+ years of prison parenting is likely a daydream you’ve indulged in for a while. But in that daydream, your child’s ex-bedroom was probably transformed into a stylish guestroom or yoga retreat – not overflowing with abandoned teenage paraphernalia.
These are a few options parents have for their kids’ stuff once they’ve left home.
Sort into Piles: Discard, Donate, Sell, Keep
While one option is to simply shut the door and walk away, this isn’t going to help you reclaim your space (and may cause an eye twitch or two each time you pass the room).
Take a day (or a weekend) to sort through your kids’ belongings and determine what needs to go back into the hands of your children, and what needs to go for good.
Keep the things with value, then donate, sell, or throw away things that aren’t important. The special stuff can be boxed up and given to your child the next time they visit.
If you’re having trouble deciding what’s worth keeping and what you should say goodbye to, follow our path of questions to determine whether you should keep it, store it, or throw it away.
Short on time? Skip ahead to:
From broken electronics to trophies for participation (lol), there’s a reason your kids didn’t take some stuff with them. During your rummaging, you’re bound to find some belongings that deserve the boot. But instead of simply chucking them in the bin, you should consider recycling.
Rubbish Tips – Most rubbish tips have separate sections to place different materials for recycling. Be sure to ask your local rubbish tip’s gatehouse attendant where to dump what.
Check out our guide to rubbish tips to find your local tip and learn what you can and can’t dump there.
Kerbside Collection – Another great way to get rid of unwanted belongings is to put them out come kerbside collection time. Here they can be scavenged by your neighbours or taken by Mr Waste Collection Officer to be recycled.
Brush up on the basics of kerbside collection and find your location’s kerbside collection dates in our helpful guide.
Donating your excess belongings is another great way to get them out of your house and off your hands while feeling like a semi-decent human being.
A few common places to donate second-hand toys, clothes, books, and other stuff include:
- Salvos Stores
- Red Cross Shops.
These stores accept these donations:
- Clothing in good condition
Some Vinnies and Salvos Stores also accept furniture, and can even arrange collection from your home. Just check your local store.
They generally don’t accept:
- Electrical goods and whitegoods
- Clothing with stains or damage.
So your kid no longer wants their collection of Pokémon cards? Jackpot.
You might be surprised at just how valuable some of their unwanted stuff could be. (Seriously, check out our list of 10 surprisingly valuable things that could be lying around your home.)
If you’d like to make some quick cash, selling your kids’ stuff online or throwing a garage sale could be your ticket to a small fortune.
Selling Online – With endless online marketplaces such as eBay, Gumtree, and Facebook Marketplace, it’s easier than ever to find an enthusiastic buyer who sees your trash as treasure.
Selling your things online allows you to reach a wider audience than those who just so happen to wander over to your garage sale – but it can also be a bit of a pain photographing and listing all your items.
Weigh up the pros and cons of selling online or holding a garage sale in our Garage Sale vs. Selling Online article.
Garage Sale – Holding a garage sale allows you to set the location and time of sale to suit you. It also gives potential buyers the opportunity to inspect your items before buying.
It does, however, mean you won’t have as many people seeing your stuff, and you can expect low-ballers to fight you for a good deal.
Follow these tips to throw a successful garage sale.
As for those special or expensive items in the keep pile? The sooner you box them up and hand them over to your kids, the better.
Give them a deadline for when they need to collect the things that still matter to them. Threaten to throw them away or give them to their most disliked cousin if they don’t collect them in time.
If their excuse is that their new place is too small for their stuff, hit them with our 35 storage hacks and help them make space.
And if they’re still struggling to find a spot for that guitar or surfboard, introduce them to the wonderful world of self-storage with one of our storage units. Obviously.