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Boomers More Likely Than Younger Generations to Declutter

But more than half still wish they could let go of more superfluous stuff

Woman and colorful cabinets

Todd Pearson/Getty Images

Boomers who declutter feel less stressed and more relaxed — but still cherish items to pass on to their heirs.

Boomers are more likely to get rid of unused or unneeded stuff regularly than younger generations, but they’re also the most likely to put aside a family heirloom to pass along to their children or grandchildren, according to a new poll.

The survey of 1,500 adults between the ages of 21 and 72, conducted by pollster Research Now for moving company Mayflower, found that 40 percent of boomers declutter their homes at least once a year, compared with 34 percent of Gen-Xers and 27 percent of millennials.

Sixty-four percent of boomers said they’ve put some cherished item in a safe place so they can pass it along someday, while another 10 percent have refurbished a family heirloom or have found a new use for one. 

Fifty-two percent of boomers said they clear out their clutter to feel less stressed and more relaxed. And the same share wish they could let go of more unnecessary possessions but are unable to do so. Forty-four percent of boomers admit that it’s difficult to part with things they bought. Forty-nine percent said the thought that they might need an item someday interferes with their decluttering efforts.

That said, the majority of boomers surveyed said they do discard unwanted possessions before moves, with only 9 percent saying they haul everything to a new home without a purge. Six percent of boomers say they’ll consider putting extra stuff in storage.

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