Recently, I have been working with quite a few clients who are downsizing their homes. Their children have ‘flown the nest’ and now it’s time to move onto a new chapter. While de-cluttering and organising, I started to identify a common issue, keeping ‘stuff’ for their kids.
Anything from small items like photographs and books to larger items including sofas, chairs and dining tables. Even an old Victorian 3 piece bedroom set stuffed inside a small garage!
A few days later, I remembered an article by American Home and Lifestyle Author, Marni Jameson. In her book ‘Downsizing the Family Home – What to Save, What to Let Go’ (Sterling Publishing 2016) Marni firmly states
“Your kids don’t want your stuff….!”
Don’t take it personally, they still love you, they just don’t want your ‘precious items’! They know you are very generous, paid good money for them and some are part of your family history but … they just don’t like or want it.
So, what do you pass on to your kids and what do you let go?”
Here’s advice from Marni:
- Ask. Don’t assume they want your items. Stop hanging on because you can’t be bothered sorting. Discuss with them.
- Believe them when they say no! They are adults and can make decisions. Accept and get rid.
- Your kids have their own style. They will want to create their own home and style, not replicate yours.
- Accept stuff has a lifespan. When your kids refuse your … (fill in the blank) remember, it has served its use for you. If you think it is still useful, sell or donate to someone who really wants it.
- Times have changed. Many Millennials reject fussy formal furnishings liked by the Baby Boomer generation and prefer a more minimal style. It’s time to respect their life choices.
- They are practical. Most grown-up children will only take items they like and that will work for them.
- Don’t guilt them. Please don’t say things like, “This has been in our family forever” and “This means a lot to me.”
There is a fine line between bestow and burden. They don’t need your old furniture to hold you in their heart.
My mum was a great antique collector while I was growing up. She has passed down a few pieces of furniture which I love and do have a family history. However, my Mum has said the following when trying to pass ‘stuff’ onto me…
“I paid good money for this…”
“When I’m gone…”
“You do like this, you do, you told me”
“When you were little, you loved this…”
Mmmm I’m going to have to take some of Marni’s advice and say no!