Etiquette for Storing Stuff at Your Parents’ House

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I get it; you’re a student. You don’t have the space to store your childhood accumulations in your dorm room or tiny apartment you share with five roommates. But there are general guidelines you should follow when using mom and dad’s rec room as your personal storage unit.


First, remember they’re from another generation.

Don’t leave them with anything they’d be embarrassed to have their guests find. Just take your 50 Shades of Grey trilogy and your Queer as Folk DVD set and save them a few awkward conversations.

Understand there is a statute of limitations on using their place as your hoarding headquarters.

As a general rule, be sure to get your stuff out within ten years. That gives you time to complete school, maybe get a master’s, find a place of your own, and settle in before reclaiming your belongings.   However, if you have something huge like a drum set, bikes, or any kind of furniture, be nice and get it out right after graduation. And prepare yourself now: you might need to put a few things on Craigslist if your new accommodations can’t house your monster hobbies.

If your parents are holding on to collectibles that you plan on selling, give them a cut of the profit.

It’s a classy thing to do and it’s an appropriate way to thank them for the time they spent as caretakers.

Keep in mind the size of their place and the amount of stuff they own in relation to whatever you’re sticking them with.

If you suspect your tower of boxes in their guest room is cramping their style, it probably is.

Don’t leave them with anything that requires maintenance.

You know Mom and Dad worry about you—they don’t want to stress you out at college, so they might not tell you when something becomes a burden. In general: don’t make them rotate the position of your comics within their boxes to avoid worn spots. Don’t make them oil and polish your samurai swords (wearing cotton gloves, of course). And don’t leave them with a needy beta fish or hermit crab to feed.

Getting ready for college is undoubtedly a stressful time, and the last thing you want to agonize about is what to do with all your stuff. Don’t worry, your parents want to help and will gladly hold on to whatever you deem important. But don’t forget, these people gave you life. Don’t push it.

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