What To Do When The Kids Don’t Want Your Stuff

Posted by Richard on June 21, 2023

Baby boomers are about to make one of the largest transfers of wealth in history. Trillions of dollars will go to the next generation, and somewhere in all that money is a china hutch that no one wants. The sad truth is that the kids don’t want the stuff. They don’t use china, silverware, or fancy linens. Their lifestyles are 10 times more casual than their grandparents’ lifestyles, and much more casual than their parents. The stately furniture that baby boomers thought would be timeless hasn’t translated to the style of the next generation, which prefers minimalism.

Millennials, who were born between 1981 and 1996, prefer eclectic styles, mixing and matching different pieces. So what do you do when you have to downsize?

The fact is that you can’t store the extras. Not only is it expensive, it’s pointless. The best you can do is ask the kids to take what they want, and sell or dispose of the rest. It’s not worth as much as you think, either. In fact, according to estate appraiser Julie Hall, quoted in Nerd Wallet, a highboy dresser worth $8,000 in 1980 won’t be worth $800 today because there’s no market for it. Even regular furniture in good condition, isn’t worth much.

Experts say the best thing you can do is start sorting and selling off your extra items as soon as possible as you age. Forget the adage “waste not want not”. Preserve memories: Make boxes of small mementos for children, friends, and relatives. Give photos away. Sell the big stuff. Trash used clothing, unless it has value as a period collectible. Sell collectibles, if you can, but don’t expect there will be a big market for your porcelain figurine collection. Donate them if possible. Take photos to preserve them for yourself. Keep 20 books. Ask yourself: If you were stranded on a desert island, what 20 books would you take?

Good luck!