Feeling Like a Millenial

Confession time: I was born in 1982.  By most demographers’ standards, this makes me a member of the much maligned Millenial generation – but only just. And that’s why I saw only some of myself in Jura Koncius’ article for The Washington Post: Stuff it: Millenials nix their parents’ treasures.

Chest and bed both inherited, photobombing dog is all ours.

When I first moved out on my own, I took all the hand me downs anyone would offer me.  After all, I was living in an expensive city on a nonprofit salary and couldn’t exactly afford furniture shopping in a pre-Move Loot era.  I’m forever grateful to the family members who furnished me in those lean times, and many of those pieces remain in my house to this day!  The incredibly heavy cedar chest with the broken hinge that my uncle was only too happy to part with?  My husband fixed the hinge and it’s become one of his favorite pieces.

Living room: still a work in progress

On the other hand, inheriting means that you don’t get to pick the aesthetic, and the current look of my living room can be summed up as granny chic.  I come by it honestly: literally every piece of furniture in there (plus lamps) came from one of my grandmothers!  But this is a place where I definitely feel some connection to the Millienials in Koncius’ article: I have a stronger sense of my own style, and am comfortable with refinishing, reupholstering, or just plain declining hand-me-downs.  My dad would be only too happy for me to take several more pieces of heavy wood furniture out of his attic and garage, but if I don’t love the pieces themselves, they won’t be moving in with me.

I come across this contrast so often with clients.  A happy accident of my organizing business is that I’ve gotten to work with people who are or are about to become empty nesters.  It can be an emotional time for parents, and they often cling to things “just in case the kids want them someday,” while the kids in question don’t seem to have any attachment at all. 

I had a lot of fun working with an eighteen year old client about to go to college – she is a very self assured young woman with a strong personal identity and style, and once I guided her through the organizing rubric she was absolutely off and running.  Her mom was shocked with how many objects, toys, and clothing items she blithely consigned to the give away pile, having expected it to be a much more fraught process!

So, for any Boomer readers, understand that your kids see stuff from a whole different perspective.  And Millenials, cut your parents a little slack – they’re just trying to show their love!