BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – There is a generational and cultural shift happening in our country, our communities, and our families. The young adults, known as the Millennials, have now passed the post-World War II Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
With this generational shift, Baby Boomers are downsizing and unloading the items they’ve spent a lifetime collecting. But there’s a problem. Millennials, born in the ‘1980’s and 90’s, are saying to their parents: “I don’t want your stuff!”
Mary Claire Sessamen, owner of Quality Consignment Furnishings in Clarence, N.Y.. says she sees it every day. “Most women, on a daily basis I hear this, that their kids don’t want their stuff.”
Sessamen continues, “I get a lot of things that parents are disappointed that the kids didn’t want, but here it is.”
Leah Riccio who is 25 and sharing a small apartment in the Elmwood Village, says it’s a common topic among her peers. Their parents are downsizing and want to unload closets and cupboards full of china, crystal, collectibles, and more. But their children are taking a pass.
“I just don’t have room for it,” says Riccio. “Appreciated the offer, but just where I am right now (I’m) just trying to keep things tight and not have too many things that will clutter up my tiny apartment.”
Mariann Caprino is a Baby Boomer mother who realizes her own daughter, living in a small apartment in the NYC area will take very few of the family treasures.
“My daughter is not going to entertain and require silver, so I think that’s the hardest piece for me to get rid of because my mother really wanted me to have it,” says Caprino.
Mariann is now clearing the Buffalo home where her late mother lived for 70 years. It’s a big and emotional task, so she has hired Jamie Shaner, an expert in downsizing and decluttering, to help sort through the memories.
“Half the garages I go into have attics over the garage in addition to the house,” says Shaner, owner of Home Solutions of WNY, “and they’re filled with things.”
Shaner has seen a lot of stuff in Buffalo’s big old homes, and more and more is finding the younger crowd travels light.
“They’re not going for the place setting of 12 with all the 4 different sizes of stemware to go with it. You can pour wine in any shape of glass and call it dinner,” says Shaner.
So Shaner has shuttled a lot of unwanted family stemware, and much more, to shops such as Quality Consignment Furnishings, 8619 Main Street, Clarence, where families hope to, at least, cash in on their treasures. But that can also be disappointing.
The owner of the consignment shop, Mary Claire Sessamen says: “There’s just a lot of stuff that isn’t worth what people paid for it. And, I try to let people know, I’m honest to say ‘You’re not going to be able to get what you paid for this. I want to make sure you understand that.’ ”
Organizing expert Jamie Shaner (www.homesolutionswny.com) says all of this stuff will eventually find a home, just not the home Baby Boomers had envisioned. So, as Millennials create their own efficient living spaces, Boomers must make sense of parting with the things they spent a lifetime acquiring.
“There are people still out there buying,” says Shaner. “It’s just that they are pickier because there’s so much stuff to pick from.”
And Baby Boomer Mariann Caprino says her great hope is that “everything is just used and appreciated by somebody.”