The basement in our home, though mostly finished, has a good-sized unfinished storage area.
That, I have learned, is a mixed blessing.
On the plus side, having a large storage area — ours is nicely hidden by sliding pocket doors — makes it easy to keep things organized and out of sight.
It sure made it more convenient to deal with those boxes of not-immediately-needed stuff when we moved in almost three years ago.
On the down side, it provides zero incentive to get rid of things we haven’t used or even looked at in years.
That not-immediately-needed stuff I mentioned? It’s turned out we didn’t need most of it later, either.
Lately, led by my wife Mary, we’ve begun sorting through this stuff. Little by little, we’re going through boxes, donating some things, recycling or tossing others.
Occasionally we ask our kids if they want something. Some of it is even theirs. Their answers are usually either “No thanks,” or “We don’t have room for it.”
There have been lots of articles written around the theme: “Your kids don’t want your stuff.”
There’s even a book about it that came out last year: “No Thanks Mom: The Top Ten Objects Your Kids Do NOT Want (and what to do with them),” by Elizabeth Stewart.
Our kids also don’t seem to want much of their own childhood stuff.
Old report cards? Nah. That prom dress or high school band uniform? Nope. Old books? Are you kidding?
Forget most of your stuff you think they might want.
There are exceptions, I guess, but overall, they don’t want your “good” china, your mother’s dining room set, the linens you rarely use yourself or your questionable pieces of artwork.
A New York Times story last summer explained that part of the reason why they don’t want it is that we live in a disposable society.
“Today’s young adults tend to acquire household goods that they consider temporary or disposable, from online retailers or stores like Ikea and Target, instead of inheriting them from parents or grandparents,” the article reported.
Mary Kay Buysse, executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers, told the Times: “This is the first time we’re seeing a kink in the chain of passing down mementos from one generation to another.”
I’m not so sure I agree this is a new trend. I didn’t want a lot of the stuff from my mom’s house when she passed away in 2006.
I do still have a few items from when I was a kid — including an old kitchen table and chairs I’m still trying to decide if I can part with.
We haven’t used it in decades, but my dad refurbished it for us when we got married 37 years ago, and it was one of the last projects he took on before he died.
We’ve made progress decluttering. Down the road, that should make things easier for our kids.
As for the kitchen set, I’m guessing I am going to keep it. Let the kids deal with it.
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