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The hardest part of downsizing may be letting go of your expectations

The hardest part of downsizing may be letting go of your expectations

After a lifetime of choosing, purchasing and living with things you love, it’s natural to want to pass them down to the next generation.

There’s just one problem: The next generation really doesn’t want them.

And it’s not just your kids who don’t want your stuff. It’s everybody’s kids. There is very little demand for the things baby boomers and their parents have spent lifetimes amassing.

While the post-war generation looked forward to filling their homes with “grown-up” furniture, china and silver, today’s millennials like living lightly. They’re happy to have fewer things and live free-of-attachment.

What’s a downsizing baby boomer to do?

Follow these tips to successfully downsizing your home — and your expectations.

1.   Check online to get an idea of current prices for your things.
If you’re looking for values for furniture, china and/or crystal, you’re likely to find they’re worth a fraction of what you paid for them. On the other hand, Midcentury Modern furniture is hot right now.  So if you have an original Charles Eames chair or a Knoll table, you are in luck.

2.    Ask, don’t argue.
While you certainly want to ask your adult children which of your things they’d like, don’t be surprised when they say “none of it”. Suggesting that your things need to be kept in the family won’t change their minds. Don’t frustrate yourself trying. And remember: saying no to your things doesn’t mean they’re rejecting you.

3.    See if you can consign.
The Bay Area has a variety of consignment shops, some of which specialize in particular kinds of goods. Know that you are usually responsible for taking your things to the store, and for picking them up if they don’t sell. You’ll receive 40-50% of the sales price for things that move. Decide if it’s worth your time and energy before you start.

4.   Feel good about moving on.
Downsizing isn’t only about letting go. It’s also your opportunity to take a fresh look at your life and decide what’s important to you now. The truth is, at this point you’re probably not interested in caring for furniture, china and silver any more than your kids are. So use this opportunity consider what would make you happy now.

5.   Commiserate.
It may help to know that many other downsizing adults are sharing your experience. Here are a couple of articles from the very helpful website,, that will assure you lots of other people are in the same boat.  Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff  and What You Said about ‘Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff.’

6.    Get help.
Downsizing can be emotionally overwhelming and physically exhausting, even when you’re ready to do it. (Or think you are.) If you’d like some help getting the process started, or taking it all the way through, I’m happy to assist. As a Certified Senior Move Manager, I can make the downsizing process much easier than you might have expected. Let’s talk about it.

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