How to Rid Your Home of Your Adult Children’s Stuff

I blame Star Wars for halting my annual cleaning spree. Confronted in the attic with boxes of 1980s-era toys, from Darth Vader figures to a Millennium Falcon spacecraft, I called my son to tell him I was going to throw them out. Stunned silence. He lives in a small New York City apartment, so he’s not able to store the toys — but he couldn’t imagine tossing them either.

Those Star Wars figures are just one roadblock to my efforts to declutter my home of almost 50 years. I embarked on an annual spring cleaning quest a few years ago, having been motivated by a prior session with my siblings at my mother’s house. It was an intense effort, and we heaved decades of her old stuff into a dumpster. So far, none of my three adult children has questioned my decluttering efforts, but we are now getting down to the memorabilia — from high school varsity jackets to an American Girl doll collection — that the kids want to store at the “warehouse of Mom and Dad” until further notice.

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