Posted by: Ellen Hankes | November 17, 2008

“What can I do with my aunt’s things now that she is gone?”

Overwhelmed with sadness and stuff

Overwhelmed with sadness and stuff

Many baby boomers are experiencing the disposition of their parents’ personal effects. Members of the elder generation are downsizing, moving into expanded health care needs or passing away. The result in many of these situations is a surplus of stuff and a lifetime of memories for someone to address.

In Julie Hall’s book The Boomer Burden, she shares some interesting statistics about the distribution of personal belongings:

  • Overall contents thrown away: 20 to 25 percent
  • Overall contents that are donated: 50 to 80 percent
  • Overall contents suitable for an estate sale: approximately 30 to 35 percent

Are these numbers what you would expect from your personal experience? How have you dealt with the loss of of a loved one and their lifetime accumulation of stuff? We would like to hear your viewpoint.


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