Goodwill is 'overrun' with stuff millennials and gen-Xers refuse to take from their parents, who pay up to $5,000 to get rid of it

  • Goodwill thrift store donationsJohn Moore/Getty ImagesNo one wants the family china. A Goodwill thrift store in Denver, Colorado, is pictured.

    Younger adult generations won’t take their ageing parents’ stuff, reports The New York Times.

  • Some of these parents are paying thousands of dollars for professional help downsizing.
  • The resistance among grown children could be financial — or ideological.

No one wants the family china.

At least, not the generations set to inherit it.

That’s according to an article by Tom Verde in The New York Times, who writes that the younger generations — millennials and gen X — are uniquely resistant to the influx of furniture, kitchenware, and general stuff that comes with their parents’ downsizing.

They can’t even donate it.

“We are definitely getting overrun with furniture, and about 20% more donations of everything than in previous years,” Michael Frohm, the chief operating officer of Goodwill of Greater Washington, told the Times.

An entire industry has sprung up around figuring out where the stuff will go. Professional move managers help seniors downsize and dispose of the belongings their grown children won’t take, charging about $US50 to $US150. Potentially including an estate sale, the full cost of the full service can reach $US5,000 or more, the Times reports.

It’s not all that surprising when you think about it. For one thing, younger generations might not have the space to store table service for 12. The average age of homeownership has been pushed back, and the numbers of millennials who own homes is at a record low.

Experts say it’s economic, in part — 20- and 30-somethings buckling under student loan debt and having trouble securing work right out of school don’t have the disposable income for many of the traditional life markers, like buying a home or getting married — but these grown kids may also have different value systems than their parents.

Consider some of the movements of the last few years:

Tiny houses. Tiny houses are cheap, mobile … and have extremely limited storage. But that’s not deterring the people who are flocking to more limited living space. Even the multimillionaire CEO of Zappos lives in a Las Vegas trailer park.

Minimalism and capsule wardrobes. Who could forget Marie Kondo jettisoning everything that doesn’t “spark joy” in her bestselling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up“? One of the hottest trends in the fashion blogosphere in the past few years is the capsule wardrobe, in which you wear only a fraction of the clothes you own, ultimately aiming to isolate those you no longer need.

Early retirement. The way people retire is changing, and some people are doing it earlier than ever through a combination of aggressive frugality and extreme saving. As one example among many, take Brandon, who retired at 34 after years of extreme frugality, and told Business Insider he can hardly find ways to spend the money he has.

Renting … everything. Many younger adults see the appeal of renting everything from homes to phones to clothes to cars. And companies are happy to help them do it.

Experiences over things. Psychological research repeatedly finds that spending money on experiences over tangible things makes people happier, and it’s an ethos embraced by 20- and 30-somethings, some of whom even cast off traditional jobs and lifestyles to travel the world for years at a time.

In fact, Business Insider’s Kate Taylor put together a list of the industries struggling most in the shadow of millennials’ disfavor, from casual dining chains to napkins to cereal to golf.

The younger adult generations want something different from their parents — and apparently, it starts with heirlooms.

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