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De-Cluttering Your Kids Don't Want Your "Stuff."


NJ Expert Organizer, Marilyn Shain Labendz, says that the next generation does not want parents' things.

NEWSFLASH! Your kids don't want your stuff!

It seems that everyone is talking about handing down our prized possessions, silver pieces, sets of china, figurines, Christening clothing, and more to the next generation .

When we ask, the response we get is "No, thank you."

Here are some tips to find out how to manage the task of "tossing or keeping" without straining family relationships.

  • First, understand that life is much more casual now, with the exception of holidays, perhaps. How often do we pull out the crystal, fine china, linen napkins, etc? Our kids who are setting up new households are much more practical. They want less "stuff."​

  • Do NOT invite your adult kids specifically to show them all the possessions you would like them to have. It is overwhelming for them. It doesn't mean they don't love you, they just would rather spend their time doing other things, perhaps with you, as well. And if they live a distance, don't waste precious visits on objects. Don't do it.

  • Adult kids, from their 20's to 40's, don't make picture albums. They don't have their photo albums on the coffee table. They keep them "in the cloud" where it is easily accessible and shareable from all devices.

  • Understand that different is not better or worse, it's just different. We have made our choices as to how to live our lives...let them.

  • Finally, emotional value is not monetary value. Most of the things we treasure are closer to worthless than priceless. Clients of mine settling estates have found that no one wants to buy silver, books are of little value unless it's a signed first edition, and so on.

Here are some tips to make "tossing or keeping" easier!

  • For those who love to set a fine table but have passed the stage where it is worth keeping those items around, I suggest setting a fine table, with flowers, etc. Take a photo of the table and save it...not in an album.

  • Invited to dinner? Offer to make a dish and gift the serving bowl to the host.

  • Plaques and awards? Again...take a photo of them and make an on line or physical photo book. (A la Snapfish).

  • Take some time and go through the items you would love them to have. Take a photo of each item and email the photos, (or have someone help you with the tech stuff) to the kids. I did that and was surprised that here and there one would email back, "Gee, I'd like that." Put it aside and label it for that child. This does NOT have to be done in one shot. Make it an enjoyable project.

  • Scan, scan, scan photos from their childhood, or from family events or whatever. Then choose a representative sample and make a "Snapfish" book for them. Lots of pictures through the years but in one book...or even a few, but not tons. They take up little space, and you can write some text with a sweet memory.

  • Once you know what no one in the family wants, start hunting for places that can use your "stuff." Shelters, organizations that help others less fortunate get on their feet again, Habitat for Humanity, Hospice stores. Even consider a consignment shop...you could earn a few dollars.

NJ Expert Organizing Expert, Marilyn Shain Labendz, strongly says that prioritizing is finding a balance.

Part of finding balance in life is knowing when to hold on and when to let go.

  • When you come across something you're unsure of, remember the mantra: should I toss or should I keep? Keep repeating these words to guide yourself.

Not having Aunt Gertrude's tea set in your closet does NOT mean you don't have Aunt Gertrude with you any longer, (even if you don't). Pass down the stories about Aunt Gertrude, about how she loved her tea set, who she invited, etc.

Remember #YourKidsDon'tWantYourStuff!

Need help in deciding if you should toss or keep your "stuff"?

Contact me to help you through the process.

And, please don't forget to share our blog with your friends on Facebook and other social media.

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