Monday, June 10, 2013

Passing on the Stuff

I wonder if this phenomenon has happened to any of you.

When we bought our house four years ago our parents unloaded tons of stuff on us. Not just normal house stuff. They've given us stuff that has meaning for our families - my childhood kitchen table that my dad fixed up and refinished when they were first married, my grandparents' bookshelf, Andrew's grandmother's salad bowls, my grandmother's dressers, Andrew's grandfather's academic book collection from when he was a professor at Madison, a rug that Andrew's parents bought from the Romanian woman in the brownstone next door when they were first married, Andrew's childhood couch that his parents had made for their house in Salt Lake City, my grandfather's fishing poles, and there's more... Jeez, that' a lot of stuff. A lot of cool, interesting, quality stuff.

I'm a fairly sentimental person, and I love the stories and history of this stuff, but it is SO MUCH STUFF. As I look around our house, there is very little that we have bought ourselves. Andrew and I are the ones in both of our families that like old stuff, stuff with stories and histories, and our siblings are the opposite. They'd rather have a new dresser from IKEA than a solid, high quality, art deco-y dresser from the 1930s. So, it's clear to our parents who they should give their stuff to if they want it to stay in the family.

As we have settled into our house and now that we have a little extra money to put toward buying our own stuff, I'm realizing that we can't just get rid of this stuff our parents have given us. We feel obligated to keep it, to use it and enjoy it. And, I want to keep it because I feel so attached to it.

So, what do we do? So far the options I've come up with are to give some of it back to our parents and let them deal with what to do with it, but knowing our parents, it will go in the basement or garage and we'll inherit it again someday. We could also pass it on to friends who would genuinely appreciate it. Or, we can just keep it.

Does anyone else have this dilemma?

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