How to Downsize ‘Unwanted Heirlooms’

One of the many quirks that most baby boomers have is a penchant for collecting. Whether it be bits and pieces of trinkets or some genuine pieces of jewelry and heirloom, most of the 60’s and 70’s crowd have already an ample amount of their time building up a trove of collectibles. However, one glaring concern is that eventually, these treasures will take up too much space and most of today’s generation doesn’t want to accede to these old relics and mementos.

Baby boomers vs. millennials

Indeed, most millennials are wary of accumulating things that they think are not relevant in today’s fast-paced world. In the eyes of Scott Roewer, a professional organizer for The Organizing Agency, most young adults live with hectic schedules that their lives are always on the go, and therefore don’t want to be cluttered with too much stuff: “Millennials are living a more transient life in cities. They are trying to find stable jobs and paying off loans.”

Most often, these young adults also live almost 24/7 in the digital world. “They are living their life digitally through Instagram and Facebook and YouTube, and that’s how they are capturing their moments. Their whole life is on a computer; they don’t need a shoebox full of greeting cards.”

On the other hand, another gap that showed how different the generations are is the how they look at things. Whereas baby boomers tend to collect everything from old baby photos to a century-old grandfather clock, young urban professionals prefer to keep it simple, with only the basic necessities and without the ‘risk’ of spending time de-cluttering their homes or workspaces.

This doesn’t mean that millennials are already opposed to how baby boomers led their lives. On the contrary, while some people of today’s generation go into collection, they prefer to act out on “investments.” Rather than treasuring memories in say, a cabinet full of fine China that were first gifts in their wedding, most millennials will invest on “present value,” like a DSLR camera and a collection of lenses; or accumulating quite a number of devices from their favorite tech manufacturers. Even with a strong sentimental value, some of the young ones may think of trinkets and such as “junk.”

This fast-paced and digital lifestyle for millennials has been growing strong over the years, and is being said to be already on par with baby boomers’. According to a Nielsen report dubbed “Millennials: Breaking the Myths,” it is revealed that in the United States alone, at least 77 million people are living this fast-paced and transient life, making up at least 24 percent of the population.

Living a transient life without any attachments to trinkets and heirlooms reflect in day-to-day lives for millennials. Speaking to The Washington Post, Kelly and Josh Phillips agree that most of baby boomer stuff that their parents try to pass on to them, they consider as clutter. This is true in almost everything, even for valuable and memorable family antiques.

“My parents are always trying to give us stuff, it’s stuff like bunches of old photos and documents, old bowls or cocktail glasses. We hate clutter. We would rather spend money on experiences,” Kelly states.

Her husband Josh adds, “I consider myself a digital hoarder. If I can’t store my memories of something in a computer, I’m probably not going to keep them around.”



Organized downsizing

For baby boomers, how then to best declutter their space, if their children don’t want these “unwanted” antiques? Although most people will recommend selling to auctions houses or flea markets and garage sales in just one go, there are more organized ways of downsizing old items, particularly valuable antiques and assets.

  • Go with the digital flow. If your children don’t want these trinkets around their house because of space constraints, why not go with the flow and convert these mementos into digital ones? Have old albums, greeting cards, those Barbie dolls collection photographed before disposing. This way, you can still preserve the sentimental value for these items and still share these memories with the children.
  • Cull your collections. Of course, everything is memorable and probably valuable, but most often, collection heirlooms have centerpieces that serve as the most important piece of the collection. If you can’t manage to detach yourself from the lot, pick the most valuable and memorable out of all the pieces.
  • If it’s meant to be a legacy, work around excuses. If you really wanted your children to have say, a century-old wristwatch, explain its importance to them. If they insist that they don’t want to hold on to it and give excuses like, “It’s too much valuable and I may lose it,” work around them by suggesting that they can have their banks safe-keep the heirloom.
  • Consider an appraisal. If you are downsizing and has a substantial amount of clutter to want to get rid of, have the items appraised to see if they are worth keeping. Otherwise, determine what’s the best way to get rid of them conveniently. If you have an ample number of valuable trinkets and heirloom, contacting a professional appraiser is best.
  • Sell to an established assets institution. If you really need to do away with fancy antiques, the best way to dispose of them is by transacting with Biltmore Loan, which is an established institution that buys high-value assets. Though auction houses also do the same type of business, we offer a wider variety of services. For example, we can grant collateral loans on your valuables, have the chance to get back your heirlooms if you wish to do so. In addition, we also have expert appraisers onboard who will determine the value of your items.
  • Check for the items’ backgrounds. This is especially valuable for jewelry collections and other treasured antiques. Most valuables get appraised close to their real worth if you can provide background history and provenance for the items. It also helps if there are documents that prove their value.