when the children leave home …

When my sons and daughters started to leave home, I took to planning what I’d do with the freed up space. Not big extravagant plans but I thought maybe a tasteful guest bedroom. Perhaps a space I could call my own – where I could put all my various craft bits and pieces.

Well, it appears that my offspring don’t just move out but proceed through a long drawn out process of coming and going. By December, the four of them had each reached a different stage of moving out:

1 I’m very happy here and have no intention of moving out for the time being.

2 I’m going back to New Zealand and have nowhere else to keep my things, so I still need my room.

3 My flat’s too small to take all my books, clothes, paintings … and anyway, I’ll be back every now and then so I still need my room.

4 I know I’ve moved out but I can’t bring myself to clear the last few things from my room.

Spurred on by the imminent arrival of family to stay over Christmas and the New Year, we managed to clear the last things from one room. Result.

I haven’t yet got my tasteful guest bedroom because there’s been a bit of a swap around of bedrooms and anyone staying the night has to sleep in a room adorned with purple handprints made by a bored, arty teenage daughter who found a pot of emulsion paint and spent the evening accessorising her bedroom.

But I have got my space where I can keep everything in one place. I won’t have to clear away my sewing if we want to use the dining room, my knitting needles and yarn can sit together instead of being stuffed  in different cupboards wherever I can find a space and Bill won’t have to move my sewing machine every time he wants to get to his gun cupboard.

So far, I haven’t done much more than move in a table and a bookcase, which already seems to be filled. I haven’t decided the best way to deal with the two big bags of fabric left over from various sewing projects (any suggestions welcome) and I suspect the paints, screen printing set and various other bits left over from summer holiday activities with the children will stay in their boxes and get hidden away in a cupboard.

When I’ve arranged everything, it will look beautiful be functional and never ever only on rare occasions be used as a dumping place; the sewing machine will always be on hand so clothes will be mended in an instant when they’re indecently ripped and I shall may never again resort to stapling up the hem on my jeans.

Do you have a special room or studio where you keep everything? Does it work?

13 thoughts on “when the children leave home …

  1. Jane @ Shady Baker says:

    Oh Anne, this has really made me laugh although we are at different stages in life. I think a tasteful guests bedroom is something we all dream of. As for moving the sewing machine to get to the gun cupboard…this is our life too…although I don’t actually sew x

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  2. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial says:

    Yes. I have a dedicated sewing room and did for years, but I don’t sew much anymore. The kids grew big and didn’t want my handmade clothes anymore. The room now doubles as a spare bedroom and a plant propagating conservatory.

    My lot haven’t reached moving out stage yet, but I suspect we’ll be storing all their stuff for many years to come.. 🙂

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  3. Thomasina Tittlemouse says:

    This did make me smile partly because even though I left home years and years ago I still expect my parents to keep “stuff”! I know, it’s bad! Fortunately they are pathologically averse to throwing anything out (which is a mercy!) and to be fair, for years I lived in so tiny a house there simply was not room to store anything not in immediate use (so my sympathies are very much with your numbers 3 & 4). Less fortunately my parents seem to have passed on the pathological aversion to throwing anything out to their oldest grandson and H is a terror for wanting to hang on to everything no matter how past it or battered or outgrown it is and I got into a lot of trouble recently for throwing out an old favourite stripy polo shirt that was so small he can barely get his head into, let alone ever wear again and I felt really could now go the way of the fabric recycling bin. What I am really dreading is when he starts driving and acquires one old car after another and it’s not just the house that will be filled but we’ll have an ever-increasing pile of old rusty metal accumulating in the garden! I do now have a bit more space and room not to have to make the choice of leaving my sewing machine up or eating dinner at a table but I tend to find my crafty endeavours follow me round the house leaving a tell-tale trail of thread and yarn! Love your pics – they make me come over all orderly and want to arrange all my sewing things in jars and neat stacked boxes instead of being jumbled up in baskets and drawers! E x

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    • Anne @GtSlamseysFarm says:

      I think hoarding skips a generation; my father-in-law sounds like your parents, my husband is of the opinion that if you haven’t used it in the last year then you don’t need it so throws things out and one of my daughters is just like her grandfather.

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  4. rusty duck says:

    As it’s just the two of us we were rather indulgent when we moved into our 3 bed cottage – one bedroom to sleep in and a study/studio each.

    Mine was going to double as the guest bedroom as it has an ensuite. So it was never going to be used as a dumping ground. Oh no. And now there’s so much stuff in it I’m moving in on the dining room to sew. Thankfully there’s also a very good local B&B…

    (If this is a duplicate comment pls delete – problem signing in!)

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  5. Sarah @bluewaterdreaming says:

    We’ve recently moved onto a boat so had to get rid of most of our possessions, but I couldn’t part with my shoe collection and some of my pretty clothes, so they’re now sitting in the cupboard in my old bedroom at home, which is being used as an office. Mum was not impressed! For weeks after we moved I was inspected for more stuff/contraband as I entered the house, every bag was questioned…but this didn’t stop me stashing stuff in my brothers’ room!
    I’ve always dreamed of having a whole room for my craft stuff, but at the house the two extra rooms were used as a media room and a junkyard/place for drunk friend to crash. Since the move i’m just grateful to have a storage space under the starboard couch.
    In a perfect dream land I would have a room for my craft, a room for my books and a room for my shoes!
    Loved the bit about having to move the sewing machine to get to the gun cupboard. Your gun laws must me different from ours here in Aus!

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    • Anne @GtSlamseysFarm says:

      I hadn’t considered that they might be bringing extra things back! I shall have to pay more attention.
      The gun cupboard hides the steel gun cabinet that’s bolted to the wall. I don’t know why it’s called the gun cupboard as the shelves seem crammed with all sorts of things.

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  6. Pat Machin says:

    I’m with Rusty Duck. Once we were reasonably sure the children had all gone for good and we were down to one parent between us and she was in a nursing home, we took the plunge and downsized from 6 bedrooms to 3 – and one a boxroom really..

    My husband has the hoarding gene and our ‘guest’ bedroom is no such thing. However, in the past 20 years since we took the plunge, all the children have produced grandchildren with gay abandon and we’d not be able to fit any whole family anyway.

    We do each have a room of our own which is a blessing!

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  7. Jayne says:

    I’m saving my pennies to finish our bonus room over the garage to use as my sewing room, things have changed so much since I moved out of my moms house (I was 17 and a freshman in college). My 3 sons live in a very different world and rents are crazy expensive so who know’s when they finish college if they will get their own places. And I am desperate for a dedicated spot to sew! lol!

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  8. knitsofacto says:

    My little studio will be ready soon but the problem with taking over a tiny storeroom is you have to find somewhere else to store what was in there before you can slap a coat of paint on and move in … I’ve been wondering if my mother would pop a few bits in her loft!

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  9. captureyouphotography says:

    I think most of us probably left stuff behind when we moved out of our parents house. We had four children who left a lot of stuff behind. I recently gave both the girls a lot of their stuff I knew they wanted to keep. For some reasons boys really are not attached to as much stuff as the girls are but I have plenty saved for them as well.. I took advantage of the spare rooms and now have a home portrait studio, a prop room and a craft room. I did leave one guest room.

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