We baby boomers love our stuff, and it seems many of us have cherished the notion that our kids will love our stuff, too. However, it turns out that a lot of our kids don’t want our precious family treasures.

A steady tide of articles has highlighted the trend, including this recent piece by Samantha Bronkar in the Christian Science Monitor with an apt title summarizing the generational tension: “Boomer parents: ‘One day, this will all be yours!’ Grown children: ‘Noooo!’”

After my mom passed away ten years ago, I was confronted with the dilemma of what to do with my parents’ prized possessions. My dad collected Lladró statues. My mom collected antique cup and saucer sets. When they were both alive, I used to call their home “Harry and Gail’s House of Glass.” Though my mom had winnowed down my dad’s once-massive collection after he died, my sister and I were still faced with trying to decide what to do with a houseful of their fragile treasures, not to mention all the other tchotchkes they’d accumulated over the years.

Neither my sister nor I wanted those teacups—or most of the other stuff in their house. And when I asked my young adult children if they might want any of it, the three of them gave me the same answer: thanks, but no. My sister and I invited an estate sale buyer to make us an offer for the good stuff, donated the rest to the Salvation Army, and then we each packed a car trunk’s worth of family pictures and a few other sentimental objects to bring home. One of the most precious things I took was an inexpensive metal egg slicer that I remember my mother using whenever she made tuna salad. Now I use it for the very same ...

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