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This article – Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents Stuff – prompted me to share these thoughts:
I liquidated my dad’s house when he was killed and my mom then moved into her own little place. Then I liquidated her home when she moved in with us. Then when she died I did it again with her stuff. Then I moved to Europe and liquidated our home, acreage and belongings. Last year we, mostly Kristen and her brother, liquidated her parents home when they moved into assisted living. It’s painful to see a life times worth of stuff end up in a dumpster.
That said, shame on those who turn down free family stuff and opting instead to buy trendy crap on their own, and usually with credit. Learn how to refurnish something, get artsy with old stuff. Be thankful. It may not be much, but it’s your inheritance and it blesses your parents to be able to pass things on. I love giving to my kids. If they want it they can have it, now. Books, coin collection, pictures, guns…. they show interest and I give it to them. Oh, but I had to work hard for this stuff and I don’t want to give my kids the impression there is any such thing as a free lunch! I had that thought too. But it was canceled out by my desire for my kids to know me as generous and that maybe they’ll value generosity too.
Once Thomas craigslisted something I gave him — had a bill due he couldn’t pay (both my boys are masters with craigslist, better that than the credit card – new is overrated). It bothered me at first but good for him trying to get the highest price. (It was a window unit air conditioner.) Better to sweat than borrow!!! I’ve passed on my aversion to debt to my son!!!
Kristen and I lived the first fifteen years with furniture from garage sales, we’d joke about our furniture being early garage sale era. The kids beat it up anyway, why get something good? Hand me downs are God’s provision in your life.
I’d encourage older people to start early liquidating their estates so their kids aren’t foolish with the stuff later. I had my kids walk through my home and tell me what they wanted. If they all wanted the same thing I took note and they traded this for that. The rest I sought a home for- don’t worry about recooping dollars- there is a bigger blessing in giving it away to young people in your church. If something means something to you, stick a note on it or your kids won’t have a clue later.
Liquidating your stuff is both scary and freeing. It’s a spiritual journey, of sorts. It is not God’s will that you have a full home and still need a storage unit. When you want to buy something, ask first if it’s a legacy purchase or just more crap for your kids to deal with.