Long term storing of 'formals'

monicakm_gwNovember 11, 2004

My daughter is married and has been out of the house for 4 years. She wants to keep all her formal dresses but really doesn't have a place for them. I'd like to get them out of my closets! Could I safely put them in space bags and then in a large plastic box, in my attic? If the heat from the attic is a no-no, would the space bag idea in the house be OK. I seriously doubt she'll wear them again but they'll be nice for my future granddaughter to play in :)

Monica

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blazedog

Unless you are dealing with Chanel or other couture, why in the world do you want to keep useless clutter.

If you start reading about clutter, people keep it for several reasons -- yours being the what if it comes in handy someday.

If you have a grand daugher, you can easily buy her dress up clothes on EBAY or any thrift store when the times comes for not very much money -- just check the prices for used out of style clothing. In the meantime by storing the stuff, you're expending time, space and money to storing clutter for no purpose.

I realize others will chime in with suggestions on how you can store the formals but I really would urge you to reconsider why you are keeping useless stuff before you go through the effort of stashing it away. As a reformed sinner, I can truly say that life is enhanced rather than diminished when one tries to have one's possessions earn a place in one's home rather than be stashed away out of fear, inertia or some other dysfunctional reason. Think of your time and space as valuable assets :)

As flylady writes, donating your clutter blesses someone else. If the formals aren't seriously out of date YET, there are organizations that provide prom gowns to poor girls.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 9:04AM
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lazy_gardens

Find a place for them in another girl's closet ... there are organizaitons that recycle prom dresses.

Either they are in use or wasting space.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 9:08AM
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monicakm_gw

blazedog and lazygardens, you are "preaching to the choir"! Clutter and I mix like oil and water. I "weed out" twice a year nad the rule of thumb is if I haven't used it in 6 months, out it goes. Course there are some exceptions. I was a "Flylady" before I ever heard of Flylady LOL. I have learned some neat tricks from her tho. If you'll read my message again, you'll see it's not ME that wants to keep them, it's my daughter and I DO want them out of the my house. I don't mind storing them for her in the attic if they'll be OK. However, I will mention to her that she might rethink this and consider donating them so that some other girl can be as pretty at her prom as she was :) Remarkably, the dresses aren't out of fashion YET.
Monica

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 9:26AM
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blazedog

Monica -- Always glad to find a fellow member of the choir :)

Of course, you can safely store in a dry attic specially since you are storing in for possible use as playthings. Of course, the stuff will eventually be tossed or donated when you move anyway as that's when my parents hand over their kid's clutter :)

However, you could really help your daughter by making her realize that her past and memories are not somehow magically entwined in the old dresses and that liberating them -- especially since they still are fashionable and could truly bless another girl -- would be a wonderful thing for herself and for others.

It took me years to realize that my possessions didn't define me and that I didn't need massive amounts of object to remember the past, the people I had loved and the person I used to be. Once I realized that, it was much easier to only keep objects that I truly loved or needed.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 9:45AM
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rjvt

Just one other comment that may help to persuade her. I used to save everything for "someday", too. But it seems, no matter how well I tried to store things, they get discolored, molded, dried out, chewed up by critters in the rafters, whatever. This knowledge makes it much easier for me to pass things along to people who might be able to actually USE them. Also, she is making the assumption that she will have a girl. Who knows when or if that will happen? Just a few comments from my reformed self - it took me a long time to get to this attitude! Yes, it would be good to teach her this now rather than later if you can :) Otherwise - I have no comment on how to keep things safe (see above)

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 11:11AM
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talley_sue_nyc

I'm w/ blazedog--this is a great way to continue teaching her the important skills she needs to have in life.

You know, skills like tying their shoes, doing their homework, baking cookies, choosing their friends, managing their time, and letting go of their stuff.

She's not a kid anymore, she's not just out of the house, she's MARRIED. If she can't find room for them, SHE should get rid of them.

There's a really fast way to get them out of the house: "Here, hon, I brought you your old prom dresses. I don't have room to store your stuff."

The next month, "did you find a place to put those dresses? I ran across an organization that provides prom dresses to girls who can't afford them. And I thought, before they go out of style or get damaged in storage, maybe you could pass them on."

The thing is, right now they have a value to someone else--they're in good shape, and not too out of style.

In ten years, when she's finally ready to "let go" of them, they'll be trash. And in the time in between, they'll be wasted.

You can sometimes store clothes successfully in the attic, and sometimes the fabric ages and discolors from the heat. Blues don't keep well at ALL--that's a very unstable dye. Acetate fabric (often used in less expensive satin dresses) doesn't do well in heat. And, it doesn't keep its color well, either.

I think if I were gonna keep my kids' stuff in my house, it would have to be stuff that *I* agreed they should hold onto. And they'd have to be in a position in which is was clear they absolutely did NOT have room, but WOULD have room someday in the not-so-distant future.

Like the furniture they inherited from Grandma that they don't want in their tiny rental apartment when they're just starting out.

But you're you, and you're willing to stash them in her attic. I say, stash them. That's the only place you're willing to put them. So, tell your DD: "I'm going to put those dresses in a space bag, and stick them int he attic. I don't think it will damage them, being squished, and stuck up there where it gets pretty hot in the summer. If you're worried, take them now. Otherwise, that's where I'll put them."

I bet she doesn't really care what happens to them, she just doesn't want to feel that she's rejecting them by "getting rid of them."

And maybe, you could find an article about the prom-dress donation sites, and say, "hey, isn't this a neat charity? Wouldn't it be great to be able to help them? I bet your dresses would really be appreciated."

I know that my 10-y-o DD does much better if she feels she's helping someone else, as her major motivation, instead of just dumping them at the thrift shop, which feels like discarding or rejecting them. She chooses a positive feeling over a negative one.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 12:03PM
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lazy_gardens

Talley Sue:
"Here, hon, I brought you your old prom dresses. I don't have room to store your stuff."

Yes, the best method of all.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 9:18PM
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jamie_mt

I agree - if she wants to keep them, she can find a place in *her house* to store them. Otherwise, out they go!

(Yes, I have a couple of old formals in my closet - my mom made them, and I kept the ones that are a "classic" style just in case I ever need one, but they hang in *my* closet, not my mom's).

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 10:29AM
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talley_sue_nyc

Monicakm, if you go ahead and store them, check the fabric content. Acetate is a plastic, and if your attic gets hot (my mom's sure did!), and it's in a space bag, the wrinkles will probably be permanent.

If anyone wants them to look good, they probably shouldn't be squished in a space bag.

Good luck--I'm sorry we weren't more practical help if you do want to keep them for her.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 11:28AM
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monicakm_gw

I took the advice of asking her if she'd like to donate them or even SELL them to a thrift shop so that others can benefit and told her that storing them in the hot TEXAS attic wouldn't be a good idea. She said no :( I didn't push too hard but gently tried to persuade her to part with them. But, she DID take them to her house and that freed up half of a semi-large closet :))
Thanks for all your help,
Monica

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 12:06PM
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talley_sue_nyc

hey, that's progress for you, if not for her.

You put the idea in her head, and now that she's a grownup, that's all you can do.

And, they're out of YOUR house!!

Now, when she gets p.o.'d at them in her own space, she'll have an idea of what to do w/ them.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 1:16PM
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cupofkindness

Storing the possessions of any grown up child should not be an issue once that child lives on their own, married or not, in most cases the child needs to deal with their stuff. I believe that some parents keep hanging on to their children's things because it makes them feel more "needed" by that particular child. And perhaps the child uses the parent in this way.... not a good thing for the parent, at least. It doesn't teach the child responsibility either.

It's an interesting mirror of the parent-child relationship.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 9:19PM
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monicakm_gw

LOL, I was shocked to see this thread revived (email notification). Nearly six YEARS! Well, I have that "future granddaughter" (and grandson) now :) I have no idea if my daughter has held on to those formals but nothing of hers remains here. I gave her 3 months, after she married, to get settled and then come and get rest of her things.
Monica

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 11:42PM
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