BUT WE’D LOVE YOUR HELP MAKING OUR HOME AS NICE AS YOURS
Isn’t our goal as parents to raise kids who have roots to ground them and wings to make their own decisions? Of course it is! So why do we switch gears, sometimes do a 360, when it comes to something as silly as furnishings?!
My kids don’t want any of the things I have. They would rather buy Pottery Barn and Ikea than use the fine pieces we saved for and have had for years. – KP
I’d love some of the furniture my parents have. But I either have to wait till they are gone to get it, or there are too many strings attached about how I can use it, to make it work for my family now. – JM
Real quotes from real clients. When you have been fortunate enough to work in the design industry as long as I have, a funny thing will happen. A designer can be working for both a parent and a child at the same time. Good for job security but often places the designer smack dab in the middle of the family legacy. We are privy to feelings on both sides of the fence. It’s clear both want the same thing. To make each other happy.
Recently our youngest son decided to move into a furnished 200′ cottage while he pursues the career he loves. He has been the sentimental one in the family and the one that always says “yes I’ll take it” when anyone is purging things they no longer want. Whether an item is truly an heirloom, or junk, he makes us think he needed it and will cherish it. He simply could not say no. He ended up with more “treasures” than an 80 year old man who never threw anything away! Until now. He is giving it all away (with our blessing) to others starting out to furnish a home. This is what works for him right now. When he is ready to set up another home there will be new circumstances and he will make things work then. Bravo to him!
Why is it so hard for many to do this with even a single item?
It does not have to be.
Let’s look at photos of cherished older pieces being repurposed for the next generation and talk about how to approach our own situations.
It’s Motivational Monday so let’s do this!
- Our kids are smarter than we are. They acknowledge how busy they are and don’t want extra things to take care of. Chances are the things we are getting rid of because they are “junking” up our homes won’t be desirable to them either. Yes, either is the key word here. Solution…ask once and move on.
- When our kids do want and take something that used to be ours…we have to let go. They may not use the piece in the same way and we should not guilt them into not doing whatever they can to make the piece work for them. Wood furniture may get painted, kids may be allowed to use formal sofas as a jungle gym, fine china may become everyday dishware. As harsh as it seems, if we can’t let these things happen our things will end up at Goodwill after we are gone where someone else’s kid will buy our china cabinet and paint it!
- We have to stop being the storage building. Our generation is terrible about squeezing in one more box, or one more piece of furniture until our kids come to get it. Be honest about expectations. Do our children really want these things enough to drive to pick them up? Do we want them to have them bad enough to pay for shipping the items to them? Time or money is a great motivator!
- If parents have something you want, or need, ask us for it now. Don’t wait until we are dead and fight over it with your siblings. If we are not ready to part with something we will let you know when it will be available. We are most likely going to downsize before you are or may decide we are ready for something new in its place. How nice for us to be able to see you and your family enjoy something we have a connection to.
- Be honest with your Mom or Dad about how you intend to transform, reuse and repurpose the items you take. I for one think it’s great to see our kids bedroom furniture painted in fun colors for the grandkids. Aren’t granddads usually pretty handy with paint brushes? What a great new memory waiting to be made!
- Don’t take things out of a sense of obligation. Instead, use the times when something is offered to remember the good times. Then move the conversation towards how you can help us in our quest to find new homes for things we no longer want.
This is all well and good you say for “my junk”, but your things are valuable! You can remember how much you paid for each item. These things are certainly sellable. Perhaps you are correct. Because I am involved with new, used and free furniture everyday, I can assure you the amount you can reap from these items is much lower than you believe. However, here is one last thought about disposing of the things you no longer want. Go ahead and sell them. What about giving the money to the kids now? Yes, you may be sitting on a Pottery Barn chair for that next holiday dinner at their house but your legacy will be cemented…PB seems to be holding its own!
I want to be the cool Mom, and Nana, that marvels at how creative our kids are at making homes they are proud of and that meet their families needs.
I want to chuckle a little when I see them acquiring things I know they will one day have to get rid of just like we have. Most importantly, I do not want the last memories our kids have of us to be of the time they had to spend undoing our home. I’d rather it be like a treasure chest full of only good things they may actually be anxious to get!
Have A Great Week!