Help! My Stuff Needs a Home!

Seniors these days are getting surprised when they try to off-load much of the stuff they have accumulated. For one thing the market for used items, whether antique or not, has plummeted. The markets are saturated with Boomers’ possessions as they all try to turn them into cash to support their retirement years. Another reason is the generations coming along have no desire to buy or inherit their parents or grandparents’ treasures. Their lifestyles are very different. They may be nomadic, not living in one place for very long. They may even be camped out at their parent’s place. The younger generations are stressed out from their jobs, their debts, their children, and their over-committed lives. So, don’t assume that the next generation is going to deal with your stuff. With that in mind, I suggest that you:

  • Lower your price points for things you want to sell. Consider instead the freedom and space you gain from getting rid of stuff.
  • Accept the fact that your several sets of dishes will have no takers within your family. There are exceptions of course and do give family members the chance to have items, just don’t be crushed by their refusal.
  • For true family heritage pieces, be sure you can tell your family the story of the item. Who owned it before you? How was it acquired? Does it have special significance ?
  • Be willing to hire an appraiser if you do have items of antique value. If you know the fair market value of an item you will be better equipped to take offers for them or, if family members do want the items, you can help them make equitable trade-offs.
  • Consider who else other than a family member might benefit from your generosity. A historical society in a place where you have lived might be glad to have things that pertain to it such as programs from a past event. Charities could take used clothing, household goods and furniture. You might realize more from making a tax-deductible donation of these items than you would by selling them.