Downsizing In Today’s World

Downsizing in today’s world is much different than twenty or forty years ago. Parents could give away the furniture and the dishes and the children were happy to take them. Now children are not as willing to take things. The main reason being their own homes are already too full and bursting at the seams. Parents have a hard time just donating the items to charity while at the same time wondering why their children wouldn’t want the perfectly good recliner or bedroom set, so instead they just continue to hold onto the items. The parents feel rejected.

But what all parents need to know is just because the children do not want the things, does not mean that they don’t love the parent! This is so important for parents to understand. We are not rejecting them; we are rejecting the stuff that we do not have emotional attachment to or the items we don’t need. The items we do have emotional attachment to are things such as pictures or handwritten recipes. Or maybe a special item or two like the family nativity set or the Easter dishes. When downsizing, find out what items your children truly would want and enjoy and be ok with donating the rest.

I have found the items most children do not want from their parents would be furniture, china and clothing. Parents need to ask their children if they want any of the stuff and if the children say no…..the parents need to be okay with that decision. The children as well need to be respectful when saying no as well as even being able to say no. Nothing is worse than taking items out of guilt and then living the next 20 years resenting the couch you don’t like or the wall hanging that isn’t your style.

We live in a different time. We can go to a big box store and buy 5 shirts for $25. Our parents were maybe given a couple of new shirts and pants or a few dresses a year and that is all they got. Our parents probably had one couch that they saved for and paid cash for. Now we can buy couches with financing by making a snap judgment purchasing decision and have it in our home by the time supper comes around. I am not saying that this is right; I am just saying that the children have a different set of circumstances with their purchasing power. Then put on top of that, the children’s homes are already full to the rafters with their own “stuff”. You have a recipe for a clutter filled home.

Have the conversations now. Come from a place of love, not judgment.

Make the right decisions now. Find a good home for all the items where you know people will appreciate them. There are plenty of charities that are happy to take items in good shape. Think about your local historical society for some of those special items. Don’t know where to start, call your local church and see if they have a family in need. Our church is how we donated our old washer and dryer as well as a car. Think about the good that these items can bring to an individual or a family now. Don’t just throw items you want out of your home in a room or a basement and think that you will deal with them later. Take action; get the items back in circulation and into a home that will love them. As I was reminded this week, nothing feels better than giving something knowing that the person will be thrilled with the gift.


To Joyful, Simplified Living,


MS. Simplicity


MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at


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