My daughter Emily finished college last month, a semester early. We were very happy to have her back home. We were less excited to see the return of her stuff.
Getting Emily packed up and off to college in a rented SUV in August of 2015 remains one of my less enjoyable family memories. It was the culmination of a summer of preparation and negotiation. She wanted to take much more than I thought she should. I think we met somewhere in the middle.
Emily spent the last three summers here, but she would put much of her stuff in storage near her college before coming home. So we never had to reabsorb everything she owned until now.
What I realized as we unpacked and put things away was that we had expanded our household items a little too much into the empty space. The two closets in her bedroom always held a combination of clothes, linens, hardware, suitcases, and other family items. In order to make room for her things, I needed to put on my Professional Organizer hat and downsize myself.
I had to make some hard decisions, but I really enjoyed getting the figurative dead wood out of the house. I donated, recycled, and gave away things that we didn’t need anymore: posters for which there was no more wall space; travel accessories we never used; dog supplies that had long fallen out of use; hardware that was no longer state of the art.
Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion”. As I have written before, the Organizing Goddess’s corollary to that is “Stuff expands to fill the space available for its storage.” Reabsorbing my college grad’s stuff back into our home has caused us to counteract that expansion . . . at least for now!