9 things your kids don’t want when you downsize

Among the list of least-wanted heirlooms? Fancy dinnerware, dark brown furniture and sewing machines.

With spring in the air, now is a popular time to organise and declutter. But if you’re making a list of items for your kids or grand-kids to pick up, you might want to establish a backup plan.

If your kids tend to favour the phrase “less is more” when it comes to possessions, check out this list of 9 items they probably don’t want – and learn what you can do with them.

1. Books

Check biblio.co.uk for information about your books. If it’s rare or valuable, call a book antiquarian. Otherwise, ask libraries, schools, or charitable organisations if they can use them.

2. Paper

This includes old photos and greeting cards. Digitise family photos but keep the prints for those that are linked to a celebrity or historical moment. There might be a market for your historical snapshots among greeting card publishers and image archive companies. Other options include your local historical museum or local archives.

3. Trunks, sewing machines and film projectors

They’re probably not valuable unless made by a renowned company. Consider donating these items.

4. Porcelain figures and decorative plates

Precious Moments figurines may not be precious to your loved ones, but an assisted living facility may appreciate them for gift exchanges. Figurines that trigger fond memories may deserve a photo shoot with a professional photographer so you or your kids can continue to enjoy them without having to dust them.

5. Silver-plated objects

Unless your serving pieces and silverware are from a manufacturer along the lines of Tiffany or Cartier, consider donating them.

6. Fancy dinnerware

The next generation likely isn’t interested in hauling out a full service for special occasions. Consider selling to a replacement matching service.

7. Dark brown furniture

There’s still a market, likely second-hand stores or antique lovers who may look to upcycle your pieces for the modern aesthetic. But don’t expect much if you choose to sell. Mid-century pieces should fetch higher prices if you decide to sell those.

8. Persian rugs

High-end pieces are still selling in high-end places. Otherwise, your best bet may be to donate them.

9. Linens

If your children don’t want the delicate textiles, see if you can find someone who repurposes hand-embroidered work into special-occasion garments, like christening gowns. Theatres and costume shops may also appreciate them.

It can be emotional to sort through a lifetime of where we’ve been, even when it means clearing a path for the future. Loved ones and friends might be willing to lend a more objective eye as you cull – consider setting up a video chat or having a visit to show your items, share stories and hear their opinion. Make sure you’re willing to return the favour, too.

If you need even more objectivity, find a professional whose job it is to help people downsize. There are also companies that specialise in managing estate sales to help you manage the task.

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