This article is worth sharing if for no other reason than three people sent it to me. The New York Times’ Aging Parents With Lots of Stuff, and Children Who Don’t Want It explores exactly that issue. As aging parents downsize, their beloved objects don’t necessarily find a warm welcome in the homes of their children. With the rise of minimalism’s popularity, less and less, children have the space or desire for their parents' things.
I can attest firsthand to the melancholy air to sessions with clients who are downsizing and wish more would go to the kids than to the thrift store.
Writer Tom Verde says:
"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."
Sides don’t beg to be taken from this solid read, but as both a minimalist and someone who believes firmly in quality over quantity and scours estate sales for that reason, I have some advice for both sides:
For the younger generation - Actually consider taking the silver set, and using it for life. The Bed Bath & Beyond set of cutlery you have certainly can’t stand up to it, and is probably devoid of any patina or sentimentality.
For the older generation - Either start using - or donating - beloved items earlier than you might think. This way, you can find new life in old (and barely used) things, and you an ensure that items are passed on to those who will use them, even if they aren’t family.
To all - Use the good stuff. Why hide the Waterford and Lenox only for it to see the light of day once a year, if that? I remember my sister being so impressed when about 10 years ago she went to her newlywed friend’s apartment and she was actually using the Waterford wine goblets she registered for! So what if it breaks. Things are for using.