Years ago, when my father-in-law downsized (the first time), my sentimental husband and I (I’m only moderately sentimental) relieved him of many family “heirlooms” that helped to fill our new, large house. While we saw these items as serving a purpose in our home, we believed we would then pass them on to our own children. I also saved their grandmother’s china and silver flatware for them, never using it myself (she probably never used it either). Well, to our dismay, our Millennial kids want none of it. (They don’t even want their Beanie Baby collections or all the “participation” trophies from their sports teams that were so important to them once upon a time!)
Many of us Baby Boomers have spent our adulthoods not only collecting our parents’ things, but many other consumer items that our relative affluence has afforded us. Our children have grown up with lots of stuff, most of which is now collecting dust in their childhood homes!
Why, you may ask, are they turning up their noses at our beautiful, top-quality furniture, our 12-place settings of matching china and crystal, family heirloom quilts, volumes of photo albums, and on and on? Don’t despair—it’s usually not that they don’t love you. Rather, they just don’t love your stuff. As well, Millennials, and Generation Xr’s to some extent, have differing world views and priorities from their parents and, frankly, face much different economic and societal influences. Some of the realities Millennials confront are:
- Stagnating incomes as a result of the Great Recession of 2007-2009
- Higher rates of consumer debt, especially as it relates to student debt
- Increase in mobility as they are ever on the lookout for the next best thing/job
- Smaller living spaces, often in an urban setting, as housing prices/rents increase faster than the general rate of inflation
- The Digital Age
This younger generation has limited disposable income, limited space, and a desire for spontaneity that the acquisition of things stands in stark opposition to. In addition, they have all the storage space they need on their cell phones for a plethora of things from photos to bank statements to music albums.
As for me, I am going to take a cue from my children and “downsize” my collection of nonessential belongings by donating them to charity. My home is full of lots of stuff that other people can use, so I intend to find joy in the thought that someone else will get some joy and benefit from those things. And, when my own parents begin to downsize, I intend to be as steadfast as my children are in graciously declining to transfer their collections of a lifetime to my house!
– Cindy Leap, Transition Tamers
If you need help downsizing your home or the home of a family member, don’t hesitate to call Cindy and Kandy at Transition Tamers of Charlotte at 704-237-4262.