If your age is, let’s just say, somewhere in your 50’s, 60’s or 70’s, you may be holding on to all of the things that you believe your kids are going to want to inherit some day. I’m going to take a guess and say you have china, silver, crystal, antique furniture from family m
embers, photos and boxes of your kid’s things from when they were little. Now, this is just the stuff that seems to be the “good stuff” or memorabilia. On top of that, you have all of the regular stuff like dishes, kitchen gadgets, linens, cosmetics, clothing and jewelry. You know, all of the stuff that makes up a home.
Now, the chances are good that your kids are grown and they have their own homes, furniture, dishes, kitchen gadgets, linens, cosmetics, clothing and jewelry. You know, all of the stuff that makes up a home. And I would be willing to bet that they already have more than they need and may already feel a little bit overwhelmed by their own stuff.
So, I wonder if you’ve asked your kids what they really do want from you? It may not be an easy conversation, but it’s a crucial one because there’s been a shift in our culture when it comes to stuff. Grown children often do not want items that were previously passed down from generation to generation. Think about fancy silver sets that need to be polished. This generation is on the go and doesn’t really have the time or an interest in sitting down to polish silver. What used to be coveted is now often a burden as this generation buys their household items from stores like Target, Ikea and Walmart.
No matter what their age, when a child loses a parent it can be a devastating blow emotionally. Now picture the additional burden of emptying out a home and bringing stacks of boxes of stuff back to their own home. It usually ends up in the garage as an emotional burden and a source of stress. People often feel obligated to hold on to the things their parents had when they really don’t have room for it themselves.
You can save a lot of heartache by having those difficult conversations now. Be open to the fact that there are things you own that your kids don’t want. Let them tell you what has special meaning to them and that they will feel is a happy reminder of you and their childhood. Let your kids know it’s okay for them to take the items they want and to let the rest go. You can even share the charity you’d like them to donate the items to.
Make sure you give your kids the joy of happy memories and special keepsakes after you are gone instead of the stress and burden of too much stuff.
Courtesy of my Efficient Organization column in the Lake Stevens Ledger