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Younger adult generations won’t take their aging parents’ stuff, The New York Times reports. Some of these parents are paying thousands of dollars for professional help downsizing. The resistance among grown children could be financial – or ideological.
No one wants the family china.
At least not the generations set to inherit it.
Tom Verde writes in The New York Times that millennials and Gen Xers are uniquely resistant to the influx of furniture, kitchenware, and general stuff that comes with their parents’ downsizing.
They can’t even donate it.
“We are definitely getting overrun with furniture and about 20% more donations of everything than in previous years,” Michael Frohm, the chief operating officer of Goodwill of Greater Washington, told The Times.
An entire industry has sprung up around figuring out where the stuff will go. Professional move managers help seniors downsize and dispose of the belongings their grown children won’t take, charging about $50 to $150. The full cost of the service, which may include an estate sale, can reach $5,000 or more, The Times reports.
It’s not all that surprising when you think about it. For one thing, younger generations might not have the space to store table service for 12. The average age of homeownership has been pushed back, and the number of millennials who own homes is at a record low.
Experts say it’s partly economic – 20- and 30-somethings buckling under student-loan debt and having trouble securing work right out of school don’t have the disposable income for many of the traditional life markers, like buying a home or getting married – but these grown kids may also have different value systems.
Consider some of the movements of the past few years:
Tiny houses. Tiny houses are cheap, mobile, and have extremely limited storage. But that’s not deterring the people flocking to more-limited living space. Even the multimillionaire CEO of Zappos lives in a Las Vegas trailer park.
Minimalism and capsule wardrobes. Marie Kondo famously jettisoned everything that didn’t “spark joy” in her best-selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” And one of the hottest trends in the fashion blogosphere in the past few years is the capsule wardrobe, in which you wear only a fraction of the clothes you own, ultimately aiming to isolate those you no longer need.
Early retirement. The way people retire is changing, and some people are doing it earlier than ever through a combination of aggressive frugality and extreme saving. As one example among many, take Brandon, who retired at 34 after years of extreme frugality. He told Business Insider he could hardly find ways to spend his money.
Experiences over things. Psychological research has repeatedly found that spending money on experiences rather than tangible things makes people happier, an ethos embraced by 20- and 30-somethings, some of whom even cast aside traditional jobs and lifestyles to travel the world for years at a time.
The younger adult generations want something different from their parents – and apparently, it starts with heirlooms.