The patter of tiny feet may have gone, along with the teenagers and young adults the children grew into, but it doesn’t take long for a new set of tiny feet to arrive – here come the grandchildren! Whatever age the grandchildren are, the first thing they need when they come to stay or visit is space, which means clearing out the piles of junk that have accumulated over the years to free up room for the arrival of exuberant little ones.
Sort, then save, sell or dump
Letting go of possessions can be difficult, especially when they have sentimental value attached to them. Yet so many houses are packed with boxes of belongings that were put there for no other reason than because “they may come in use one day.” In 99% of cases they won’t, so it’s important to be realistic when sorting through belongings and deciding what to keep or discard.
Casserole lids without accompanying casserole dishes, strange looking knick knacks that nobody ever really liked, books that nobody ever reads, ancient videos kept in case the VCR makes a comeback: all can go.
Photographs can be sorted and digitised, old vinyl albums can be sold, those attractive but never-used pieces of china can be given away as presents or sold as well, and the distressed furniture that has been wobbling forever can go to a charity shop where it can quickly be refurbished and passed on to other households.
Think of ways to sell your stuff online and then use the proceeds to equip the house with new things for the grandchildren. Clearing out unneeded items means that other people may benefit from the surplus while the grandchildren will have extra space for themselves.
Preparing a room for grandchildren
If grandchildren will be coming to stay on a regular basis, it’s good to talk to them beforehand about the room they will inhabit. Since they will come to think of it as “their room”, it needs to be a comfortable and welcoming place. Posters and pictures that follow favourite themes – and which can also be removed and replaced with others as they grow up – make a great display. If the room is painted in a simple yet solid colour, it can also be changed in later years.
A small chest of drawers labelled or decorated with the child’s name, favourite pictures or drawings can help instil a sense of belonging. A comfortable bed, perhaps a captain’s bed or a bunk, can also help young ones create their own space and will make settling down to sleep much easier. A bedside table with a safe lamp is another good addition that can be a permanent feature.
The bedroom can also function as a playroom or a sanctuary to which a child will want to retreat after a busy day of play. A selection of toys and books that are always in the room means the grandchildren will find great pleasure in having familiar things to look forward to when they visit.
Toys and books can be updated as the children get older. If there are some items once owned by their parents that have been kept over the years, they can provide a delightful bridge between the generations.