I heard a news clip on the radio one day recently that millenials are saying “no thanks” to the “stuff” their parents leave behind. That the current generations do not want the “treasures” former generations have kept in their homes for years thinking to pass it on to children and grandchildren. This sounds sad to me. My mother passed away a few short years ago. Yes, it took all summer to go through the house and clean and sort and get things to a point where my siblings and I, the grandchildren, and some close friends could claim various keepsakes. Yes, there were some things that were donated to Goodwill and some that just went to the trash, but we all claimed memories we wanted to keep. It was a big job, but I felt close to my mom and relived a lot of great times and shed many healing tears and even shared some laughter during that time. I can’t fathom that it could be “too much trouble.”

A small sewing cabinet, re-purposed to hold other odds and ends, now resides in my daughter’s apartment.  It was the first piece of furniture my mom got as a new bride. My son has some of the coins his grandpa collected. My older daughter wanted the snowman-themed Christmas decorations. One niece has a mirror hanging above a bookcase in her home that spent years in mom’s family room. Another niece uses the Corelle dishes that we ate on at every family get-together. The family room couch and chair resides in another niece’s apartment. A nephew has the framed antique postcard his great-grandfather sent to his sweetheart, who became great-grandmother- they were the parents of 11. That postcard is a sweet little piece of family history. Another niece claimed an anniversary card her grandpa sent to grandma one year.The girls all have some piece of jewelry.  All the grandchildren have some Christmas decorations that were all around the house during the holidays of their childhoods.

My daughter and son, nieces and nephew are all millenials. They had a little space for grandma and grandpa’s  things. I am glad. It makes me happy that some of these things will continue to be passed down to new generations. More important, though, is the family stories, values, and traditions that will live on. The things kept probably will get fewer and fewer with each generation. I just hope each succeeding generation will hold on to something of their past.

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11 Responses to Stuff

  1. Love this! Though sometimes I think we are drowning in too much STUFF – this sentimental stuff holds much more value than something new from the store. Great slice!

  2. arjeha says:

    There is always room for “stuff” that holds special meaning to us. I have two huge pictures that hung in my grandparents’ house. Seeing them brings back memories.

  3. My motto has been “when in doubt, throw it out,” but that only applies to things that I don’t think will have any value, sentimental or otherwise. I have a few things from my grandparents in my home — a pie safe, a bookcase and the crucifix that hung in their bedroom. These will be my treasures until I pass them on to my own kids.

  4. So happy that your family members were able to find the things that carried meaning with them. That’s the key, I think. Not to keep everything but to treasure the special pieces. Good for you for taking the time to go through the “stuff.” Your treasure hunt ended well.

  5. cvarsalona says:

    Diane, we have been having the same conversation in our home. There are so many treasures from the past that I love but my children do not. I have made an attempt to change. All of my beautiful marble-top Victorian tables have been sold to a dealer. I have been told that not many people are in the market for Victorian furniture anymore. My daughter has a new home and does not want anything that looks old except a few items. I am happy, as you are, that some treasures will last through the millenials’ throw out phase.

  6. Ramona says:

    What a delightful post about the value your millenials place on some of the family treasures. I am happy that some of these things will continue to be passed down to future generatlons. I loved the paragraph that detailed the new homes found for family treasures. Just think of the pleasure it is to have such an item in your home and to know the story that goes along with the item. I think my favorite has to be the framed antique postcard.

  7. lindabaie says:

    The extended family did the same thing with my husband’s mother’s things, & we all treasure what we kept that was so meaningful to each of us, that meant memories of what it was & where it was in her home. Now that I’m older, and had a sale a few years ago before I moved, much of what my children took was art & certainly some mementos of my husbands. I still have a lot, and am hoping the grandchildren will want some of what I have when they grow up. There is a lot in each of our homes, so keeping one or two things might be all. It is sad that some say “no way”. I hope they won’t change their wishes when it’s too late!

  8. Lisa C says:

    Cleaning out my grandmother’s house was such a chore that it inspired my parents to go through their own house and clean out everything as a favour to us. 🙂 I like to keep a few things, but I have my own stuff!

  9. Leigh Anne says:

    I am an antique collector so “stuff” doesn’t even have to be in my family for me to enjoy it. But I do have several pieces from our grandmothers. I hope our kids will carry on the treasures!

  10. i wish i had held onto some “stuff” and i know when my parents pass, i will make sure that i will be keeping their stuff.

  11. Yes, it only takes a little bit of room to make way for a wonderful lifetime memory. You must be so proud of your family. 🙂

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