Downsizing Baby Boomers have made a disappointing discovery as they relocate from their 3,000 square-foot homes to smaller quarters–the kids just aren’t interested in their stuff.
By stuff, I mean just about anything that might be of sentimental value to the parents. That can range from the dining room table that’s been in the family for generations to the leather sandals they swore Jimi Hendrix stepped on when they wore them at Woodstock. And for all the grief we give millennials about everything from feeling entitled to selfies, guess what? The kids might be on to something.
A major contributing factor to household clutter is our obsession to holding onto things. And the excuse most often used after “I might need it/wear it” is “I can’t throw it out, it has sentimental value”. Consequently, many Baby Boomers have quite literally buried themselves in sentiment.
That’s not to say millennials are devoid of sentiment. Far from it. Their sentiment is not captured in physical objects but in photos and videos that are stashed on their computer or in the cloud.
As parents of children who have adopted this surprisingly mature and efficient approach to minimizing clutter, you need to embrace this philosophy rather than pass on your own.
For example, if you’re downsizing or just decluttering, ask your children if they want the grandfather’s clock that’s been in the family for generations. Add the disclaimer that you don’t have to take it if you don’t want it. Give them a time frame (e.g. tell me by May 15 or else we’ll make other arrangements) and then follow through.
If the things you are looking to pass on are smaller items (e.g. Mom’s miniature gnome collection), you may want to try to sell on eBay or give them away for free on Craig’s List before offering to your children. Why? Because the smaller items tend to be the ones people agree to take and then wish later they didn’t. And the goal here is to downsize and declutter, not pass on the tradition of passing on guilt-ridden “keepsakes”.
Need help with your downsizing? Please drop me a line or call 508-246-6120.
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