Purging all the things
I can’t count the number of times my mom asked me if I wanted something that was hers or my grandparents when I helped her move to a smaller place in 2013.
Basically, 99% of the time, my response was “I don’t want that crap.” Now to be fair, her stuff, nor my grandparents stuff was crap, I just didn’t want it. (Anecdotally, she did the exact same thing with her parents’ stuff when they were gone).
Stuff no longer equals success
Having stuff, especially nice stuff, used to be a status symbol. Keeping up the Jones’ type stuff. “Oh you got a new fangled microwave? Well we got an Upright vacuum!” *GASPS*
Now the only thing anyone compares anymore is who has the newest phone with the best camera and that thing fits in your hand!
The ideals of Baby Boomers and their parents’ before them of having stuff is dying out.
Shifting away from materialism
There are so many reasons for this and it’s not just a shift in the attitude toward consumerism, it’s a huge societal shift.
Back in the day (I use that term loosely, like 20’s-80’s) the American Dream was to get married, buy a house, have kids, and a picket fence (aka “stuff”).
Filling a house with stuff made sense, not to mention was basically the norm. Today, as living prices go up, price per square foot is at a premium, making most people settle with less space.
No wasting space or money
These young couples (late Gen Xers or millennials) aren’t buying fancy furniture or nice silver and china to take up what little precious space they have.
On top of that, people for their 20’s-early 40’s are much more concerned with experiences rather than things.
They don’t have the same attachments to objects past generations did.
A new generation
In an article written for NextAvenue.org, Richard Eisenberg spoke with NASMM (National Association of Senior Move Managers) executive director Mary Kay Buysee. Buysse states, “This is an Ikea and Target generation.They live minimally, much more so than the boomers. They don’t have the emotional connection to things that earlier generations did,” she notes. Click To Tweet
“And they’re more mobile. So they don’t want a lot of heavy stuff dragging down a move across country for a new opportunity.”
Buysee could not be more correct, but how can those of us that will be responsible for our parents or grandparents help them transition or more morbidly, deal with what they’ve left behind.
Eisenberg gives some great tips on how to deal with downsizing parents or grandparents.
Start mobilizing while your parents are around
If you plan of selling your parents (or grandparents stuff), Holly Kylen of Kylen Financials, advises “Every single person, if their parents are still alive, needs to go back and collect the stories of their stuff, that will help sell the stuff.”
What Kylen is talking about here is getting the backstory on something your grandparents or parents might have gotten from your close family friends, the Astors (yeah, those Astors).
Give yourself plenty of time to find takers, if you can
Sometimes you have years to plan for the inevitable. Sometimes you have absolutely no notice and thus no plan.
If you can plan ahead, do so, and give yourself a healthy head start. Chris Fultz of Nova Liquidation says “We tell people: the longer you have to sell something; the more money you’ll make”. Not only that but you’re not scurrying to empty an apartment or home to avoid another rent payment or electricity bill.