When nobody wants the family heirlooms anymore, what can you do?
As more and more of the US population ages, downsizes, and passes away there is a tremendous amount of STUFF flooding the market. Younger generations are faced with inheriting a sizable amount of family heirlooms, but their homes are already full. It seems nobody wants the family heirlooms anymore. So what can you do when it happens to you?
In this article, we'll discuss some options for what to do with the family heirlooms when nobody wants them. As a bonus for readers, we are sharing this free printable Declutter + Downsize Family Heirlooms Game Plan.
Want to learn what to do when nobody wants the family heirlooms? Keep Reading.
#1 Manage Family Expectations
You know that in addition to being a tough task physically, downsizing your home is emotionally taxing. You now have your head in the game and know what to expect when it comes to the feelings you'll have.
To help you on your journey, I've created this Downsizing Your Home Emotional Roadmap just for you! Feel free to download it now.
What emotions have you experienced when moving or downsizing? Leave me a note in the comments section!
Mom, We Have to Talk: 5 Ways to Discuss Downsizing with Your Aging Parents
With free Discussion Cheat Sheet
Assess the Mess: How to Plan Out Downsizing Your Home
With free Room-by-Room Checklist
Help Organize Your Aging Parents (While They are Still Young and Healthy)
With free Conversation Guide
Want to help organize your aging parents? Read on.
Start Talking Before It Gets Awkward
I Know Your Excuses...because they’re the Same Ones I Used
- For APs, NOT TALKING about things is the norm.
- Ditto that for many families. And if you come from the Midwest (like me), we truly excel at not talking about things!
- Talking about Later Life Plans means eventually talking about Death. And nobody likes to think about that.
- There is legal paperwork involved and it’s too complicated, expensive, confusing, and/or overwhelming to start.
- There’s some sort of family discord and somebody will definitely object, be offended and/or hurt by the efforts to discuss Later Life.
- Everyone assumes that the adult child living closest to Mom or Dad will take care of it all.
- Money. Discussing financial plans for Later Life is awkward at best, taboo at worst.
Suck it Up, Buttercup.
Timing Is Everything
(aka Don’t Start Talking at Thanksgiving Dinner)
Emphasize Your Role as an Advocate
End the Conversation with a Plan, No Matter How Small
For example, you could say “Next time we talk, I’ll bring along a printed copy of a blank Living Will for us to discuss”. You also want to make sure you have an agreed-upon plan if your loved ones can no longer make decisions or in the event in an emergency.
A great resource is this free conversation guide, created by A Place for Mom.
What’s the Plan for All the Stuff in the House.
- Sterling Silver (but not silver plated items)
- Coin, stamp, artwork, gun, crystal or other valuable collections
- Truly unique, high-end antiques that are in pristine condition
- Family photos
- Sentimental items (christening & wedding gowns, military memorabilia, etc.)
The best way to describe this is to quote this article from Forbes magazine: “Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff”. Start planning now for what will become of:
- “Brown” furniture
- Most mass-produced china and glassware
- Organs (the musical instrument, not your innards)
- Greeting cards, magazines and newspapers with no historical significance
- Old Tupperware, appliances with frayed cords, and cookbooks
- Flower delivery vases
- Plastic souvenir cups and empty Cool Whip bowls. Trust me: your aging parents have these.
- Your school papers, textbooks, and every drawing you ever did. Keep your diploma, let the rest of it go.
- 80% of the stuff stored in the garage
- Clothing that hasn't been worn in decades
Want to help your aging parents with clearing out all the stuff in the house?
Clutter Puts the Rage in Garage
The 3 Commandments of Closet Organization
Four Important Legal Papers
There are 4 important legal documents you should ensure your aging parent has.
- Will: An up-to-date Will is an important document.
- Living Will (also called Advance Health Care Directive)
- Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care:
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances:
- Organ Donation registration
- Final Disposition Instructions (funeral and burial wishes)
- Digital Legacy Plan (learn more about what this ishere)
How can you find out what documents you need in your state?
Want more Advice on Helping your Aging Parents?
They have all the papers in order! Now what?
You've started the process of later life planning!
Coming soon...Later Life Planning Guide, workshops, and one-on-one coaching
Professional Disclaimer: The ideas, recommendations, and opinions on this website, blog, and made in person are for educational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered legal, financial, or medical advice. I am not an attorney, doctor, or licensed financial professional. Sage Organizing Co., LLC is not liable for any losses or damages related to actions or failure to act related to the content of this website, blog, or in-person discussions. If you need specific legal, financial, or medical advice, consult a professional in your area.
Back To Schoool
Before & After
Closet Organization Ideas + Hacks
Decluttering Your Home
Downsizing Your Home
Family Schedule Logistics
Garage DIY Organization
Later Life Planning
Organizing Aging Parents
Selling Your Stuff
Weekly Family Routine
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