Baby Boomers - No One Wants Your STUFF... Including Your Children
I’ve done some sort of craft since I was a child. My Mother was “crafty”… and I learned it from her.
As other “crafters” know… as you move from one craft to another, you stick your left over “supplies” in a drawer, just in case you might “need them later”. Heaven forbid that you throw them away. Over the years, that turns into a lot of stuffed drawers and storage tubs!
Several months ago I realized that I had tubs that hadn’t been opened in decades, so I started going through them and decided that I would list everything for sale on eBay. It was time consuming taking the pics and making the listing, but everything sold like crazy. And in no time flat, all of the leftover stuff was gone and I had several, and I do mean several, empty containers.
Well being the “entrepreneur” that I am… and I use the term loosely… selling the stuff had been fairly easy so, I decided I would go through the house and see what else I could find to sell.
I love “old stuff”… the older or rustier it is, the better I like it. My house is full of not only craft stuff, but also what I call antiques or heirlooms. Unfortunately, neither of my children share my enthusiam for crafts or antiques, and refer to it as junk.
I decided I would go through the house and put a “sticky note” on all of the things I was going to list on eBay… like Granny’s Sunday dishes, my Betty Crocker crystal, Aunt Lotties Jewel Tea bowls and tons of misc stuff.
Then, when the kids came up for breakfast on Saturday, they could go around and if they wanted something that had a sticky note on it, they could take it home with them. I figured that would accomplish two things… 1 – they would get what they wanted, and 2 – it would be out of my house. Good plan!
Saturday morning the kids arrived, saw all the sticky notes and wanted to know what in the world I was doing now! I told them my idea and they both looked at me like I had lost my mind. What in the world would make me think that they wanted any of it! My son did offer to take all the re-cyclables home and put it in his recycle can for the trash.
My daughter, seeing my disappointment mentioned an article her Mother-in-law had posted on Facebook and suggested that I read it. “SORRY, NO ONE WANTS YOUR STUFF”, is a great article and if you’re a Boomer or Gen-X’er, it may “sting” just a little, but it made me realize why the kids had reacted so differently from what I was expecting.
Here are a few excerpts from the article:
Many Baby Boomers (me) and Gen X’ers (my kids) that are in charge with disposing of family heirlooms are unprepared for the fact that the furniture, china, crystal, flatware, jewelry and artwork that you and your parents cherished — no one wants, including you or your children.
Mahogany dining room tables and chairs, walnut end tables and cherry dressers are just things that can be painted with chalk paint and then thrown away when chalk paint isn’t “the hottest” thing any longer.
And if you think that your children will want any of your parents things, if only for sentimental reasons, you’re likely going to be disappointed (which I was).
Young couples starting out don’t want the same things you wanted. They live minimally and don’t have the emotional connection to things that earlier generations did. They’re mobile and don’t want a lot of “stuff” to drag across the county if a new opportunity comes along.
And you can pretty much forget about your grown kids wanting the books that their grandparents read. If they want to read them, they’ll grab their iPad instead.
I walked back through my house again… and realized that I had gone through the exact same thing when my Mother passed away a few years ago. Cleaning out her house had been a total nightmare. Every closet was crammed full of “stuff”. We hauled 4 trailer loads of furniture and clothes to our church’s Helping Hand Ministry. Her books and magazines went into the recycle bin. One closet had 52 brand new towels… probably leftover from some craft project. The pantry had canned goods that expired in 2002.
It got to the point, that I was actually mad at her for leaving me to clean up the mess. But wait…. I was doing the same thing to my kids! If something happened to me today, my kids would find the same thing as I had found at Mother’s. Well not quite that bad maybe, you would have to ask them that question.
I’m not going to let that happen. I’m going to “declutter” and “clean house”. I’ll get rid of things that have been important to me because of the memories they hold. But that’s exactly what they are – MY memories. I’ll drink iced tea out of my Betty Crocker crystal and if the gold ring comes off or I break one… so what.
I’ve decided that instead of the clutter, I’ll leave a “note” for my kids telling them how much I loved them and reminding them of something special that we did together. And maybe, I could add a special picture in with the note…. what do you think?
FYI – Most of the sticky notes are gone and my eBay listings are doing well 🙂