‘Til Death Do Us Part

Most of us enjoy hearing those words during a wedding ceremony where the new couple is floating in bliss and envision being by each other’s side until death separates them.  From my perspective, however, I see people who have a very passionate reliationship with their material possessions; sometimes more so than with each other!  If I didn’t know any better, I would say they feel confident that they can take their possessions with them when they leave this earth.

With almost two decades in the estate industry helping people make decisions about the dissolution of personal property, I have seen it all.  And in all those years, I have tried to figure out why people have such a hard time letting go.

It is important to note that often the Depression Era generation is the one that accumulated the most.  Their parents did not have much and probably possessed more utilitarian items because of the time period.  When their parents passed away, they did not distribute or sell those items — they absorbed them, which means the Boomers have much more to deal with when their Depression era parents pass away.

Here are a few thoughts on why people hold on to so much:

  • You just never know when I’m going to need this.
  • There are so many things I could use this for.
  • If I only hold onto it long enough, it will become valuable.
  • It is already old, so it must be valuable.
  • I did without this as a child, and I will not do without again.
  • It was a gift and I will honor the giver by keeping it.
  • The more I leave for the kids, the more they will have.
  • I worked very hard for these things, and I will pass them down.
  • They bring comfort and familiarity.
  • Sentimental reasons
  • Too overwhelmed to let it go — emotional attachment
  • “I’ll let my kids deal with this after I’m gone.”

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your reasons for keeping things; click “leave a comment” below this blog.  We’ll talk more about the problem and the solutions in the next couple of weeks.  Please come back!

© 2010 Julie Hall

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