You’ve probably read or heard about housing trends and the hot housing market. The pandemic has created options for professionals to work remotely or relocate closer to family. Here’s another trend I’ve noticed in working with my clients – a desire to downsize earlier than expected.
A year and a half of being cooped up and surrounded by stuff has led people to reevaluate what truly makes them happy. Many are finding that things and material possessions don’t bring as much joy as they once did, leading to a shift younger generations would call a minimalist lifestyle.
There’s definite appeal to wanting less stuff and less complicated lives. Many of my clients are finding it easier to downsize. They are even willing to let go of family heirlooms and items they’ve stored for years with the intent of passing them down to their kids. Some have realized their kids don’t want more stuff because younger generations often place more value in experiences than material possessions. Other clients haven’t broached the subject of downsizing and don’t know where to start. Here’s a game plan for navigating that conversation with your kids.
Prepare for an honest conversation. Before you talk to your kids and assure them it’s okay if they decline family heirlooms, make sure you’re ready for that response. Prepare for emotions that go along with that conversation and keep in mind that memories stay with the person long after the possession is gone.
Start the conversations early. I have a client who jokingly gave two friends different colored tape to call dibs on items they wanted in her house. Maybe you don’t enjoy the thought of tape or stickers littering your house, but you could ask your kids or family members to list three items they want. Keep a master list. If an item isn’t spoken for you can start downsizing those pieces right away.
Set clear terms and boundaries. Clearly communicate how long you are willing to store or keep pieces before making other arrangements.
Create new heirlooms by grouping smaller items into more keepsakes. For example, a box of Christmas ornaments can be turned into one Christmas wreath. It’s easier to display and enjoy a wreath than keep track of a box full of smaller items. T-shirt quilts and pillows are another popular way to create a new keepsake while decluttering and downsizing.
Memories stay with people, not possessions, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk to the people in your family about downsizing family heirlooms.
I can help you downsize and prepare for a move. Send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk about what’s on your mind.