Downsizing: When your children don’t want your stuff
“All this one day will be yours,” your parents proudly tell you as you survey a garage packed to the hilt with, what you consider, junk. Gee, thanks Mom and Dad.
Countless articles have been written about the fact millennials don’t want the “stuff” their baby boomer parents are now ready to either get rid of, or pass on to their children as they downsize. That can result in bad feelings on the part of parents and a sense of guilt in the children for not wanting grandma’s old silverware.
Let me be the first to say: This is by no means a reflection on you, mom and dad. Your kids don’t value the kind of stuff that you did.
Successful downsizing requires grace and tact. Here are some tips:
Don’t guilt your kids: If they say they don’t want something, believe them. Your children don’t live in the kind of world where they’re going to need your things. It has no bearing on their love for you. Sure, they may one day regret the decision, but it is just that – their decision. They’ll get over it. If they don’t, it’s not your fault.
Use your stuff: What’s the good of keeping beautiful china or silverware hostage in the china cabinet? Make everyday your special occasion and use those items. Break out grandma’s china and unpack the silverware. What’s the point of even having beautiful items that you do not use? Make everyday a special one.
Finally, don’t wait until you get into an emergency situation to start the process of clearing out your home: While it may be difficult for you — and uncomfortable for your kids to talk about — do it. Make sure the discussion happens in a relaxed environment and not when emotions are running high, or during a family disagreement. It’s never too early to start getting rid of stuff.
Most importantly, remember: Just because your child doesn’t want something of sentimental value, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you. They do, they just don’t want great grandpa Fritz’s spittoon. You probably didn’t, either.