The 16 Things I Threw Out When I Moved Back into My Childhood Bedroom

published Mar 9, 2020
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Credit: Sarah Hdruka

Moving back in with your parents is nothing to be ashamed of. When I graduated college, I moved back in with my mom and I’m glad that I did. Doing so has helped me save money for graduate school and enabled me to pay off more than half of my student debt—and over a period of less than three years, to boot. In fact, moving back home has become a new normal for millennials, and is a good option for those struggling in our economy to find somewhere affordable to live. 

The downside is that more often than not, we’re inhabiting a space that doesn’t quite fit our adult needs: right back into our childhood bedrooms. I don’t know about you, but my bedroom has remained pretty much untouched in the time that I was away during college. It was a veritable time capsule of my high school years by the time I moved back in with my mom.

Taking ownership of your childhood bedroom and making the space feel like yours is going to help make the move back home a lot more bearable. Here are the things that I threw out and donated when I moved back into my childhood bedroom, and here are 25 places to donate your stuff if you’re thinking of doing the same.

1. My bed

Until about three months after I moved back home, I was laying my head in an old twin-size bed. I was beyond pleased to upgrade to a more adult-feeling full.

2. Bedding

With the tossing of my bed came the donation of all of my sheets and the comforter. Not only was this because they no longer fit the size of my new bed, but it also helped signify to me that this was a new space. Even if you keep the same bed, getting new sheets can help disassociate the space with your childhood. 

3. Towels

I can’t speak for other mothers here, but my mom will literally hold onto towels that have holes in them. After all, they still do the job. Getting new, soft towels felt like a very grown-up thing to do. And they didn’t even cost all that much. 

4. Kiddie furniture

I had a rickety bedside table that I didn’t need. It was basically just taking up space, so I donated it. I also asked my mom if she wouldn’t mind me moving my bookshelves to the den. This helped make my space feel much bigger. 

5. Dated posters and wall hangings

I looooved Winnie the Pooh when I was a kid—so much so that I had a poster of him and the Hundred Acre Wood crew hanging in my bedroom far into my preteen years. By the time I was a teenager, I felt as though I had grown out of it, but I still didn’t want to throw it out. Once I came across it in my closet as a 21-year-old college graduate, I was finally able to part with it and de-clutter. 

6. My old rug

Nothing was wrong with my rug. But it was old and didn’t really feel like my style… probably because my mom picked it out for me when I was, like, 10 years old. So it was donated and replaced with a new one from Target. 

7. Pictures

I am not usually one to suggest throwing out pictures. I love mementos. I have a whole box of mementos in my closet filled with things like pictures, ticket stubs, broaches, handwritten letters, and plenty of other things I can’t bring myself to part with. But I had so many pictures from my high school years with people that I hadn’t kept in contact with. So I didn’t get rid of all of my photos, but I certainly purged some. 

8. Clothes

It’s so easy to hold onto clothes you haven’t worn in years when they’re stored in your childhood bedroom. Donate those old jeans and t-shirts! Or, if you’re feeling crafty, DIY some of your old clothes to make them feel new again. 

9. Accessories

Along with clothes, I had some seriously bad taste in purses and shoes back in the day. The ones that were in good shape got donated, but most of them were falling apart and were thrown out. 

10. Books

I love books. I wish I could hold onto every single book that I’ve ever read. But I just have way too many. When I moved back home, I went through my bookcases and evaluated what could be donated or sold. I still have a lot of books from my childhood that hold sentimental value (my tattered copy of “Maniac Magee” will never be thrown out), but for the most part, I knew someone else could get more value from them than I ever could as an adult. 

11. Stuffed animals

I still have a seal puppet that I got when I was 4 years old (he’s missing one of his eyes). It’s the only one of my childhood toys that holds serious sentimental value. But other than that, they all got tossed. Sometimes they can be donated, but mine weren’t stored properly and gave me a sneezing attack when I opened the bag that contained them.

12. Beauty products

Why do we hold onto expired beauty products? I found so many old bottles of lotion and shampoos that desperately needed to be tossed. In fact, I do this in my bathroom every three months now. 

13. My hair dryer and flat iron

I’m pretty sure the ones that I was using in high school could have caused a fire by just being plugged into an outlet. 

There are some chapters of our lives that we’d sometimes rather leave in the past. For me, this came in the form of old gifts from ex-boyfriends and terribly embarrassing diaries from my angsty high school years. 

15. Sports trophies

Admittedly, I didn’t have many. But I was more than happy to get rid of them as I moved into adulthood. 

16. Tchotchkes

I held onto so many tchotchkes throughout the years in places like my desk drawers and (somehow) the bottom of my dresser. Keychains, seashells, figurines. And they took up so much space! So long and farewell.