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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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Gen Z’s want some but not all your stuff, mom and dad

Keep it simple. Gen Z does not have space for your clutter. Picture by Mr Lee/UnSplash

Keep it simple. Gen Z does not have space for your clutter. Picture by Mr Lee/UnSplash

Published Apr 26, 2022


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Sorry Mom and Dad, I don’t want your inheritance if it means cluttering my home. This is the new mantra of the younger generation.

Unlike the Boomer generation and Gen X, Gen Zs and millennials have no interest in acquiring anything that serves little or no purpose other than to clutter living space.

So that sewing machine you're keeping for your daughter? If she is not an ardent dressmaker, consider selling it. Youngsters today do not want - and also just do not have the space - for all the excesses of our parents generation.

Added to that, many do not have the financial means to service your old car, or your fancy one either.

With unemployment so high― reported as 35.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021― and purse strings pulled so tight, youngsters of today do not have the financial means to go out and buy big homes. In fact micro units (about 21 squared metres in size) or bachelor apartments of between 30 to 45 squared metres, are the norm for first-time home buyers. Let alone, those amongst us who want to be part of the #vanlife - small mobile homes - crew.

So how will we fit big family heirlooms into our small spaces? Smaller space means less clutter. Sadly, it just wont work.

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Aaminah Peerbhai, 27, from Port Elizabeth says although she will “obviously appreciate anything from her parents”, she’d have to go with not wanting to inherit ‘furniture’. Her reason? “It’s ancient and big.”

Tastes have definitely changed over the years, and some people, because of the size of their homes, have been forced to go minimalistic.

Yes, that means books, too many pots and pans, plates and silverware just won’t fit in our smaller homes, let alone excessive ornaments, homeware and items that have little value besides being sentimental.

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Yes, we are well aware of the upcycling movement, and we are all for it. But truly that could be only one item, not an entire house full of items.

This is probably why “death cleaning” has become such a big thing. From the Swedish word, döstädning, it calls on the older generation to slowly begin decluttering so their death isn't such a burden for those they leave behind.

A wonderful connecting ritual would be to declutter with your child or children, where you have a say about what goes to whom and what can be sold. In effect, you take ownership of all the things you have acquired over your life, get a chance to reminisce and then let go, long before you say your final goodbye to the world.

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In her book on the subject, Swedish author Margareta Magnusson says, “Death cleaning is not about dusting or mopping up; it is about a permanent form of organisation that makes your everyday life run more smoothly,” she explains. “It is a delight to go through things and remember their worth.”

Talking about other things we truly don’t want to inherit: It is debt - the reality is, is that the economic state of the country has declined and youngsters simply cannot afford to pay off the debt of late relatives. There are also some of financial burdens many of us have had thrust upon us, that we would like to let go of.

Vanessa Bodole, 23, says “black tax” is something she oculd do without, because “I do not want to inherit any obligation that makes relatives feel entitled to receiving handouts from my family”. - additional reporting Vivian Warby

What don’t you want to inherit from your family. Let us know by emailing Kaymery Swart here

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