Take Care of Your Stuff, Your Kids Will Thank You

Take Care of Your Stuff, Your Kids Will Thank You

When parents move and downsize to a more lifestyle-accommodating home, or when they pass away, it is often up to the children to decide what to do with the lifetime of “stuff” they’ve collected. It can sometimes be a huge burden for the children to go through and decide what to do with all the things they don’t want to keep. Here are tips for starting that process now, so that your loved ones aren't unduly strained over those stressful decisions. 

You've accumulated a lifetime of memories and momentos. Often, there are items of tremendous personal meaning and some of great value. Whether the worth is internal or external, there is tremendous freedom in deciding now who to give those items to.  If you decide to take care of your things now, by downsizing and getting rid of things you no longer use, want, or need, it can do a tremendous service to your children when you’re no longer there to make those decisions.

Embrace the Gift of Gifting

By carefully selecting the items you have that are of great value to you, either because of the memories they hold or because of the actual worth of the item, you can choose who to give them to. The opportunity to talk to a loved one face to face, share with them why you are giving them something and watching the joy in their face when you present them with a gift of meaning and value is extremely rewarding. You can rest easy knowing that you have shared part of your family history with someone who will love it as much, or more, than you have. 

Ask Family if They Want Items You Have

Even if you’re not ready to part with the item now, you will know which family members are interested in each item and place a piece of tape with their name on it. That way everyone knows who should receive the items when you’re gone or so that you don’t forget when you’re ready to part with them.

Begin with your children and then move on to extended family to see who wants what, if anything, you have to offer. That way your children and other family members feel free to tell you which items they desire, and you don’t have to worry about getting rid of something others might want.

Sell the Items No One Wants

Get rid of stuff. eBay and other auction sites offer the perfect opportunity to get rid of unnecessary and unwanted items in your home. If you’re selling a lot, you might consider having an estate sale, auction, or putting the items up for a consignment sale. You might be amazed by the value of some pieces compared to how highly prized other items you have are among buyers. Plus, someone else is doing the heavy lifting for a small cut of the proceeds.

Downsize Your Furniture

Believe it or not, the style trends are changing. Those large armoires and China cabinets that were once highly prized are now considered wasted space and worth considerably less. Don’t be offended if you attempt to sell these items, and they net very little return. More importantly, don’t be upset if families seeking to maximize space with smaller furniture footprints aren’t interested in inheriting these pieces. Getting rid of these heavy items now means your children aren’t left to struggle with them later.

Consider Charitable Donations

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. For those in need, discarded clothing, housewares, and small appliances can be a blessing. Consider donating items that are in decent shape if you’re no longer interested in them and haven’t been able to sell them. You can even enjoy a small tax break for your good deed.

Eliminate Clutter

Clutter is clutter and no one wants to have to look at, live with, or sort through an endless amount of clutter. If items are no longer meaningful to you, get rid of them. It will make your life much easier from day-to-day, and it’s something your children won’t have to manage or eliminate after you’re gone.

The sense of freedom that comes in deciding for yourself what happens to your belongings is liberating. It will also make life much easier on your family during a potentially stressful season of life. With just a little proactive planning, your family with appreciate your efforts.  



Back to Blog