Nobody Wants Your Wedding China

One Awesome thing. (Awesome in the true sense of the word, not like ‘surfing is awesome’).

One Awesome thing about the next 20 years is that the transfer of assets from the Baby Boomers to their offspring will be the SINGLE GREATEST TRANSFER OF WEALTH IN ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY.

Let that sink in for a second.

Smile, this is a testament to the greatness of our American society and its unparalleled success story. It’s kind of neat.

A lot of people are going to have their lives changed by the injection of liquid capital. Catapulting them out of debt and amassing the kind of financial security most could only dream of.

This post is not about those stories.

This post is about the other side of sifting through Baby Boomer “Assets”. The bad kind.

At some point in post WWII America, housewives got tricked. Social pressure and insidious marketing campaigns warped their desires. They ‘needed’ to have the right equipment to host a fancy dinner party. Failure to acquire these accoutrements was tantamount to admitting you were not yet middle class.

I don’t know how often these fancy dinner parties ever really happened, but their specters haunt the attics and basements of every person born before 1970 that I know.

You could not have a proper wedding for decades without getting the accustomed China set and Crystal stemware. Where is all that finery today? Collecting dust. Waiting for your heirs to sift through and repack because they don’t know what to do with it either.

I’ll just sell it on EBAY. Good luck with that chum!

Nobody wants to spend much money on this stuff. Cruise around the market for awhile typing in various items you remember from your grandma’s corner cabinet. You will quickly find the ‘old timey bling’ market has been long since flooded.

Add to this list the hardly precious figurines, limited edition commemorative plates, nick knacks, things that don’t even have names anymore. All taking up space. All have to be dealt with when you begin the daunting task of unwinding a Pack Rat’s Empire of Porcelain and Ceramic.

I am not even sure I could tell you what to collect if you feel a deep need to collect something, coins maybe. Almost anything else might fall out of favor. The future is moving in directions we can not see.

Let us Hope the rising tide of Minimalism and anti-Materialist sentiment will cut down on the amount of clutter filling up the dark places of our homesteads.

Nobody Wants Your Wedding China

33 thoughts on “Nobody Wants Your Wedding China

  1. You hit home on this one Mr. O. My Dad is 89 and still lives in the house my brother and I grew up in. Bless him, but we got one heck of clean out job to do someday. He still does a great job maintaining the home, but de-cluttering is not something he cares to spend his time on. Tom

  2. I didn’t realize that everyone else was feeling the same way as me about the old china, crystal and silver being carted from attic to attic! I actually did sell everything…on EBAY! But I think I was lucky. I sold it about 10 years ago, so I managed to sell the china and crystal to none other than aging (yet still in collecting mode) baby boomers! Now probably nobody wants any of it! The silver is at least worth its weight and can be melted down for other purposes. No one wants to entertain with any of it any more (if they ever did).

  3. Great point. It just shows how things change between generations. And remember this, in another 50 years, since nobody will have wedding china, guess what? It’s probably going to be worth a fortune then.

  4. To make matters worse, many baby boomers are children of people who grew up during the Great Depression and learned to never get rid of anything.

    Take my grandfather for example. He didn’t know where his next lawnmower spark plug was going to come from so he saved all of his old ones.

    All of this junk then got handed down to the baby boomers like my mother who couldn’t get rid of it because “that coffee can of old spark plugs belonged to my father! I could never get rid of that!”

  5. My greatest generation parents moved out of their house and had an estate sell and moved into assisted living. There was no junk to take care of when they passed away, just brokerage accounts of money that automatically transfered through trusts to my brother and me without probate. My assets are already set up to transfer painlessly someday to my millennial kids as well. We all had a shot at one or two heirlooms and the diamonds and guns were kept in the family but no china or knicknacks and we plan on continuing that tradition.

  6. I look forward more to the great purge of junk. The next generation of our family never seems to throw out anything to the point that it impacts quality of life. The broken lamp in the corner won’t come in useful twenty years from now.. it’ll still be a broken lamp no one wants…

    I dread the days of cleanup when the time comes.

  7. My mom moved to a one bedroom apartment in the Caribbean for the later part of her life and became a minimalist! A big change for her and great for us! No wedding china:)

  8. I hope to get some of the china from my parents. They have at least 3 sets I know of in their house and it never gets used. I would love to take it off their hands…. and use it for everyday dishware. This way it actually gets used! (But my mother will probably have a heart attack)

    • I am with you Fiery!! My parents downsized a few years aga, leaving the 5 bedroom house we grew up in, and moving to a 2 bedroom condo. One of my sisters and I BOTH wanted the wedding china. Fortunately, my mother had a service for sixteen so she divided it between us. She gave my other two sisters other sets of china.

  9. My dad likes certain antique. He never had much money so they are not expensive. They are scattered over various places, though. He moves a lot so he left them whenever he had to.
    My mom doesn’t have anything. She’s not attached and don’t like buying stuff.

  10. I fell for it too, pre-FIRE, I bought $250 of a China set from Craigslist because every married woman had one and I wanted one too. We have never, ever, ever used it in 3 years and um…. It’s still in the wrapping…

    I’m going to now go on eBay and Craigslist and sell them…ahhh I’m dumb.

  11. This is all too true. Goodwill is overrun with stuff inherited that our generation doesn’t want. When I inherited a bunch of “stuff” most of it ended up there as well.

    At the time, there were a bunch of these cool “iSoldItOnEbay” stores — and I just brought a ton of stuff in and they listed and sold it on Ebay. I didn’t have to worry about it, and I was going to give it away anyways. In the end, that made me an extra $2k, while getting rid of stuff.

    I wonder how many of those places are still in business. They’ll likely be overrun in the years to come.

  12. This is funny. Like sadly funny. My wife and I got “wedding china” prior to our wedding, which, ironically, we didn’t use for the wedding. I think we used fancy-looking paper plates. The so-called wedding china currently sits boxed up in the bottom part of our china cabinet, where no one can even see the box.

  13. I mean, I would personally LOVE that tea set… but that’s because I’m hosting a tea party for 12 this weekend! I would of course only give you… $20 for it? Guess I should start stalking Ebay over the next few decades 🙂

  14. Before she died my mother in law would take her kids to the basement where she’d laid out things on a table, wanting them to take the stuff. It was always so inconsequential. One time she had a plastic Dairy Queen spoon… know, the one with the shape of a cone on the handle….. Anyway, when no one ever took anything she would whine and pout, one time asking “do you people have dishes?” Unfortunately I’m approaching the age where I should be getting rid of my own things. I’ll probably hold on to them until I go to assisted living or someplace similar and will hopefully take care of things then so my son doesn’t have to do it for me.

    • This comment really paints a picture for me, I think it is the real life example of what I am trying to convey, thanks for sharing

  15. I think it’s refreshing that people don’t want this “finery”. It’s a start in the FI direction.

    Last year we helped my elderly in-laws move to assisted living. That generation has retired on pensions, and their entire life savings can be in stuff. Stuff they think is so valuable. Stuff they might have seen on Antique Roadshow. “Make sure someone in the family keeps those Cupie Dolls” and so on. The kids just shrug and hope someone else will take them.

    • “Stuff they think is so valuable” This! So much this. I do estate liquidations and am always having to manage the heirs’ expectations about the actual value of the estate’s contents, most is just junk and we actually have to pay to have people take it away. I try to show them what things are really worth and get them to donate as much as possible. Usually there are a few treasures that have some actual value, but 90-99% is worthless. Also, they’re always shocked by the items that I say have high value (almost never what they think will be high value), often it’s something not that old- midcentury design is so hot right now that a table from 1960 might be worth far more than a table from 1860.

  16. We have all of my mother-in-law’s old china sitting in a box in the garage. It’s not very practical to use and it’s not worth much, but my wife has trouble getting rid of it. It’s sentimental to her so for now it sits and collects dust.

  17. I’m scared of this part of my future (should I be lucky enough to live it out). My parents are probably not going to be able to completely clear out the things they inherited from their parents. Sentimental siblings make navigating this problem messy.

    I hope to keep my own situation tidy. My last move for a family of 5 was completed in 14′ of space.

  18. i’m almost fiddy and we have a gigantic house and no kids (it was cheap). 6 months ago i convinced mrs. smidlap to start the douching process of all this crap we had accumulated. fortunately we have taken decent care of things and they were of good quality and i think we’ve sold close to 5k on the ebay. i do like a good wine glass and i use them every single day, probably more than what is considered healthy. good to see an old punk rocker writing stuff. i just sold a sex pistols button for 6 bucks.

  19. I took my hubby’ s golf clubs to an independent thrift store and they said: no way can we take those. We’ve got way too many. Fortunately a goodwill took them. I was surprised but I suppose baby boomers are aging out of golf.

  20. Some of this stuff is hilariously useless but dishes are still dishes …. living the new Greater Depression lifestyle, I’m a saver, of useful things like string, rubber bands, screws, etc. Those old 1970s fondue sets? Great for cooking soup with when the electricity’s out, just use HEET (methanol) and they work great. Those hokey old sets of steak knives are still knives …

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