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There’s nothing like moving around to help you realize how much stuff you have. When every single item in your household needs to be packed and transported elsewhere, it is easy to wonder at the sheer volume of tangible possessions you own.
When we move, we often take the opportunity to clean our belongings. Bags and boxes are donated to thrift stores. Handed over clothing is passed on to the neighbors. Souvenirs are given to friends.
This can be a tedious process at any age, but a particularly emotional one for aging retirees.
The numbers show that between the ages of 18 and 54 we tend to move into bigger and bigger houses. It makes sense – you start with an affordable space with a bedroom. They get married, have children and have to move into something bigger.
Retirees are on the opposite tip.
Their adult children have moved out, they are getting older, and they want to make housework and maintenance easier. After the age of 55, people usually move from larger to smaller apartments.
A growing senior move management industry has emerged to meet the specific needs of the older group. The trading group, the National Association of Senior Move Managers, has 950 member companies.
These companies take care of everything from renting the moving trucks to changing your address to renegotiating your cable contract for your new home.
Industry insiders say one of the more difficult aspects of their job is managing the valuable items that won’t fit in the new home, but the mover wants to stay “in the family”. Parents and grandparents often hope that their children and grandchildren will adopt their cherished heirlooms and collections. But the younger set doesn’t have it.
The adult millennial children of the Baby Boomer generation have their own styles and tastes that may not match their parents’. Many even live in small apartments with a minimalist aesthetic. An antique oak hutch just doesn’t match an Ikea-inspired bachelor pad of twenty.
The younger set also doesn’t maintain the same formal style as the older generation, eliminating the need for silver cutlery and fancy china. It’s not about being ungrateful, it’s about wildly different styles between generations.
What matters is: Just because mom thought it was precious doesn’t mean the daughter doesn’t care.
Kate Grondin of Senior Move Management Company Home Transition Resource says, “We can help mitigate the blow when the kids don’t want anything but are afraid to tell their parents.” Sometimes the children flatly refuse to accept items like furniture To inherit art or dishes that their parents have held onto for decades or even generations.
In other cases, the children may take items to avoid harsh feelings and then turn and toss or give them away.
When moving elders ask senior moving manager Anne Lucas at Ducks in a Row, “What do I do with my crystal and china?” She says to them, “Drink your OJ out of it. Who cares if the gold falls off? The children don’t want it. ‘”