Sorting through the stuff under your childhood home and being frightened of what you'll find

We’ve lived in my family home for over 22 years. That’s my whole life, minus the five weeks that I lived around the corner as a baby. I used to be envious of kids that moved around a lot. They had the opportunity to make a new house into a home, and sometimes they even moved schools and made new friends! It all seemed very exciting and glamorous.

I realise now that being in the same place your whole life is also rather special. While I didn’t have the chance to reinvent myself, I have been able to walk to kindy, primary school, high school and university, which has been super handy.

At the start of this year, while overseas, I decided that one of my aims for the year would be to clean/sort through/set fire to all the stuff under my parents’ house. Over the time we’ve lived here, STUFF has built up and up to the point where it now covers nearly every inch of the space downstairs. It’s tricky to walk through it at all and you ingest about a kilo of dust and spiders’ webs when you try to. It’s also mildly terrifying.

While not being full blown hoarders, our family is bad, very bad, for keeping things that, straight up, should not be kept. And I’m certainly not excusing myself from this trait. I keep lots of seemingly useless things that could *possibly* be turned into something else. If an inanimate object has the potential to have its life extended, then by golly, I’ll hold onto it for 10 years with the best of intentions.

However, the main perpetrator is my mum. In my eyes, a lot of what she has kept over the years is absolute junk. But, I do recognise a lot of myself in her too (which is also mildly terrifying). We’re both incredibly sentimental and we both don’t like to waste things. Mum moved around a lot as a kid so I assume her hoarding is a direct response to always having to let things go.

This is a partly selfish undertaking. I’d like to be able to use the space downstairs for storage and for general crafty/art stuff. I’m also hugely interested in what is down there (apart from all the dust, silverfish and spiders). Given my parents’ incredible lack of enthusiasm for sorting it out themselves, I know I’ll eventually have to go through it at some point. Either now, or when they die. So, at least I can ask them about stuff while they’re still around (which I hope will be for a long time yet)!

Sorting through the crap under the house is something that needs to happen for my family. And it’s been a long time coming. I’m going to document my findings, so check back here if you’re interested. I legit don’t know the half of what’s down there.

I’m already feeling a healthy mixture of shame, embarrassment, excitement, trepidation, and exasperation for what I will uncover. But I also feel lucky, not everyone has the opportunity to go through their childhood toys in their twenties. 

Posted on June 21, 2017 .