Unstyled scouting shot of my bedroom by Michael J Lee
There have been numerous articles just lately in the newspaper about the generational divide when it comes to passing down furnishings.
The Washington Post’s: Stuff It: Millenials nix their parent’s treasures and from The New York Times: Treasures: But Only to You?  Each are intriguing reads about the passing on of furnishings and personalized mementos from one particular generation to the following. The posts are themselves fascinating, but the comments are genuinely enlightening.
As the Child Boomers are hitting retirement, several are downsizing right after a lifetime of upsizing. I have had a couple of recent experiences with this and needed to share my thinking on the topic. My initial knowledge was deeply personalized – marketing my dad and mom residence of thirty years and disposing of its contents following my mom passed away final 12 months. And more lately, helping a pre-retirement couple select what they would be bringing from their recent residence to a new smaller sized retirement community house. In reality, my parent’s home was their pre-retirement smaller sized home and they also had gone through a comparable method of downsizing when in their late 50’s.
True estate listing shot of my parent’s living room
I was born in 1962, which puts me on the cusp of the end of the Baby Boom (1945-1964) and the beginning of GenX (1961-1981 or 1964-1984 based on who you request). No one particular looks to talk about GenX’ers any much more as it really is all about The Millenials (1982/4-2004).
As you see over, my parent’s had very standard, classic taste. Their property was filled with fine high quality furniture (some mass industry this kind of as the Hickory Chair sofa) and some antiques such as the little flip leading desk in the back corner. But, these days, furnishings like this (aka “brown furnishings) is not usually prized by the younger set. Tastes come and go, of course, as do residence sizes. As it happened, my parent’s downsized just as I was moving into my 1st apartments and it was a whole lot much less costly for me to get their furnishings than it would have been to acquire all new. Or worse, acquiring newish used things at a yard sale. Genuinely previous furniture is so significantly greater top quality!
Unstyled scouting shot of my existing living room by Michael J Lee
The little Hickory Chair settee above came into my lifestyle around 1970 when my parent’s did their living space and grew to become mine in the mid-1980’s when they downsized. It was initially blue silk and by the time I re-upholstered it in 2000, the fabric was faded and shredded in places. I in fact had to wrap the seat cushion in a quilt just to hide the innards.  I’ve used this piece in each apartment and condominium I have lived in given that, which includes my 200 sq. ft. Beacon Hill shoe-box. I utilized to get naps on it when I was younger, slimmer and a lot more flexible! It would have been a shame had I turned my nose up at this tiny piece. On the wall, best correct, you will see a star burst mirror that I most just lately took from my parent’s residence (you can see it above the fireplace in their property photograph over).  I also took from their living room the two modest side tables (which now flank my bed – see leading photograph). The rest of the furnishings was sold in an estate sale, except the sofa which no one particular wished and because of it is loose arm, was taken to the dump. (that killed me – but I had no space for it!).
So, a piece of suggestions to Millenials – Contemplate the high quality and usefulness of “hand me down” furnishings – will not just turn your nose up at it. Employing previous furniture is much better for the atmosphere than acquiring newer, poorly produced stuff. You can usually paint it, recover it or otherwise make it your own.
And to Infant Boomers and their parent’s generation who are rapidly leaving us: Provide up your left overs to your little ones or grandkids, but never ascribe a huge sum of sentimentality to them. It’s truly just things. Some of it is great, some is not so great. You bought it for your self and used it well – that must be ample. And will not freak out if your classic coffee table is abruptly acid yellow!
True estate listing shot of my parent’s living area
Unstyled scouting shot of my entry by Michael J Lee
See anything that seems to be household in between these two photos above? The cabinet which I am presently using as a bar cabinet was originally a stereo. (Side note: it also doubled as an altar when I had my 1st Communion at residence several years ago). Don’t hesitate to create new utilizes, or pairings, of old issues. Even though I do have sentimental attachment to this piece, I would not have taken it if I did not have a genuine useful use for it and also really like the style.
Genuine estate listing shot of my parent’s family members area
Of program, not all Millenials are turning their noses up at the old things. 1 of my nieces specifically asked for my Dad’s wing chair (observed above). It truly is large and comfy but not leading top quality and does present its age. Nonetheless, it reminded Katie of her grandfather and she produced a cozy small reading corner for herself with it.
Real estate listing shot of my parent’s dining space
The hardest furniture to sell or give away is, hands down, the formal “brown wood” dining area sets. Beautiful quality pieces that had the patina of age and recollections imbued into every wood grain.  And nevertheless… It was sold at the estate sale for \$150 for complete set, buffet integrated.  No a single in the loved ones had need to have or area for it. It was initially priced at \$750, but following two days and almost 200 individuals coming through the sale, it just required to go.
So, a word of advice for Boomers (and in the immortal words of Queen Elsa from “Frozen”) : Allow it go! In the finish, it went to somebody who desired it and had a area for it. It isn’t going to matter if it went out of the family.  Better that than the trash heap.
The runner in the hall is now in my entry way (currently being loved by RoyRoy) and the dining room rug is now in my bedroom.
Advice for Millenials – Hold the rugs, especially if they are antique orientals!!! I do not know something about the runner (though it really is absolutely extremely outdated), but the massive rug is at least 75 many years old (it belonged to my grandparents) and isn’t going to demonstrate any wear. It truly is not about the value (there is tiny worth in even antique rugs these days), but you will in no way find the high quality in something newer and classic orientals work with any type of decor. Believe in me on this. You can often roll them up and keep them in a closet till you have area. It really is not about sentimentality so significantly as just putting a worth on quality. However I do enjoy realizing I am the third generation in my family members to use these rugs.
And a ultimate word of advice for Boomers: when you are downsizing, let go of your personal sentimentality. If you’ve utilized one thing well, then you’ve gotten your money’s worth. Will not hold onto things you that you truly never have use for (and worse, do not actually really like) just simply because you received it from your mother and father or you believe your children must take it. There is way too a lot guilt linked with these decisions. And right after all, we cannot get it with us.
If you happen to be hunting to produce the house of your dreams, contact me to examine the choices!
Unstyled scouting shot of my bedroom by Michael J Lee