Boomers are starting to recognize that their adult kids are living a more transient life in cities and living their lives free from possessions. Millennials even store theirphotographs and memories digitally. Their mantra may be “less is better”. All of the dust bunny covered boxes, assorted files and tubs of accumulated photos, trophies, collections of childhood art and graded school work unopened for years in Boomers attics and basements are no longer filled with stuff worthy enough for the next generation to keep. Perhaps one or two items may be special to them, but not a houseful. Ouch.
their Beanie Baby collections, Grandpa’s stamp collection or any hand-me-down furniture and the cut crystal from Grandma’s house. Can this really be true? Apparently it is. It’s time to face the fact that your kids may not want what we have stored for them.
- Ask, don’t assume: Do not fall into the lazy trap of thinking you will hang onto your stuff for the kids. Ask them what they want and get rid of the rest.
- Believe them: When your kids tell you they don’t want whatever it is you are foisting on them, honour that. Believing otherwise is really a delay tactic that allows you to postpone giving up stuff. So what if they look backin 20 years and regret not keeping Dad’s blue recliner? Let them live with the consequences of their decisions. Isn’t that a parent’s job?
- Your kids want to create their own lives: Just like you did. They also want their own style, not yours. Plus, many already have a household oftheir own stuff!
- Accept that stuff has a lifespan: When your kids rebuff your stuff, remember, your ___________ (fill in the blank) has served its useful life – for you. If it’s still useful, sell or donate it to someone who wants it.
- Times have changed: Many Millennials eschew fussy formal furnishings, china and crystal and prefer to live smaller and lighter. Respect their lifestyle choice.
- They are practical: Most adult children will take furnishings they like if they can see it working for them. Maybe your china, but not because it’s meaningful, but perhaps they may happen to like it. Fair enough. If your daughter loves your bedroom set, which was yours as a girl, and was your parents’ when they got married, it’s great when that works out! Just don’t force it.
- Don’t guilt them: Please do not say things like: “When I’m gone, I want you to have my 12-foot mahogany dining room table and eight chairs.” The line between bestow and burden is blurry. They don’t need your furniture to hold you in their heart. Give them the gift of freedom.