If youíre lucky, one day your kids will take up housekeeping in a home of their own and rid your house of all of their stuff, plus the stuff you intend to give to them. Thatís the hope, anyway, but donít count on it happening.
With todayís competitive job market and the branch structure typical of many occupations, you can expect your children will be even more transient in their lives than you were. From ages 18 to 29, my education and career paths took me through rooms in three college dorms and six private homes, to four apartments in two states and, finally, into two houses I could call my own. Young men and women remain single even longer today, begin their careers later and start families well into their 30s. When you add in compiling college debt and the high cost of a starter home today, this transition of possessions could take a very long time indeed.
Your offspring will come back for their photo albums and framed posters, American Girl dolls and Magic trading cards someday, but what about the china, antiques and collectibles youíve saved to hand down to them? Traditionally, heirlooms and historical keepsakes are handed down for their intrinsic value. Not to the Millennials, Iím afraid. Not with their popular mantra, ďYou Only Live Once,Ē or YOLO. This age group doesnít seem passionate about history nor anything nostalgic.
By the time they do move into a place of their own, you wonít be able to find the set of dishes you packed away for them anyway. They are there somewhere, probably wedged in between the spare furniture youíve carefully preserved. And soon van loads of hand-me-downs will begin arriving from your aging parents when they transitioned into smaller homes or senior living facilities. The thought of all of this stuff piling up in the attic, basement, garage and barn makes me want to move into a $35 a month storage unit myself.
Your children might want a bedroom set, a carpet remnant and maybe a chair or a lamp or two at some point, but not if they are living clear across the country. Shipping is expensive when you figure they can buy something of good quality for the same price or pay less at a flea market sale. You might as well forget about sending off any items that need repair or refinishing, even if they are useful. If you donít have time to do the work yourself, you can guarantee your kids wonít either. Do they know about wood grains, sanding and varnishing? Have they polished anything besides their nails?
Desks and filing cabinets of any variety arenít worth passing along because Ė in case you havenít noticed Ė no one writes nor files anymore. Offices complete with cell phone chargers, computers and Wifi connections to cyberspace can be rented in just about any city today. No 19th Century oak, roll tops with secret compartments for important records and papers. No shelves nor drawers no matter how curious and quaint. No adorable brass knobs required. Forget about giving away bookshelves along with the books, too, and resolve to dusting those hefty Harry Potter tomes for life. As you know, virtually everything can be downloaded and read online now.
Place a gentle kiss goodbye on grandmotherís well-used Joy of Cooking and your entire cookbook collection to boot. This generation spends most of their of time alone, switching from screen to screen all day and night long, so dining in restaurants is the only opportunity to be social. When they must cook a meal, Internet search engines quickly sort through cuisines from around the world and offer easy to make recipes from ingredients readily available.
Unfortunately, by the time my two get around to moving their stuff out, Iíll be out of boxes. You see I recently moved my large stock from the attic to the basement, thinking the threat of mold would inspire me to pack up the items I know they donít want and sell or donate them this summer. That was until the other day when I opened the cellar door to pitch in a couple more boxes and was met by a slithering, shiny, black and white striped snake.
At least whatís in the cellar wonít be bothering me for a while.