Re: Saying Good-bye to Family Home

04/08/18 - posted by Frank Dunnigan

Myron—

Congratulations to you and your wife for relieving your adult children of such a huge burden. No one looks forward to sifting through the possessions of a loved one, but younger generations seem particularly dis-inclined to view family mementos in the same way that many of us do. As I write this, I’m drinking coffee from Dad's old blue mug and looking at a glass bowl that one grandmother kept in her breakfast room, a small ceramic box from my other grandmother. and group photo taken at a family wedding in 1918. Once I’m gone, I suspect that these and many other household items will find their way to either a nearby re-sale shop or else the local landfill.

I have seen the same thing with friends who have been clearing out their own parents’ homes. When various artifacts were offered to adult children in their 30s and 40s, there has often been complete dis-interest—expressed in the most basic question, “Why in the world would I want THAT?” These young people were not just rejecting items like Grandma’s high school diploma or Grandpa’s collection of Kodachrome slides, but also furniture, books, family photos, china, and crystal that had been treasured heirlooms for generations.

An article in AARP magazine last year summed it up thusly: Times have changed. The old idea of keeping precious keepsakes so you can hand them down to your children appears to be a thing of the past. Why, you ask yourself? It’s a new generation. Children today are moving around more frequently and some prefer smaller-home city living. It’s also much easier to buy cheap lightweight furniture online and have it delivered. Think about all the times you moved that heavy curio. Your kids don’t want to be doing that!

Meanwhile, you and your wife can enjoy your new clutter-free life and home.

The Western Neighborhoods Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.