Man Tells His Boomer Mother-In-Law That He Refuses To Treat Her Heirlooms 'Like A Museum' & Will Throw Them In The Garbage

Conflicts like these are becoming increasingly common, showing we all have stuff we need to learn to let go of.

heirlooms at garage sale Africa Images / Canva Pro

It used to be the case that young people couldn't wait to finally get their hands on the beautiful and meaningful objects passed down through generations in their families. But a recent Reddit post about heirlooms and the discourse it sparked show that times have definitely changed.

A man told his Boomer mother-in-law he plans to throw her heirlooms in the garbage.

Something has definitely shifted generationally when it comes to inheriting family heirlooms — add the tradition to the list of things millennials have supposedly "killed," like department stores and diners. 


The shift has been so drastic that consignment and charity shops say they are now overrun with things like china sets and furniture that millennials, and now Gen Zs, just aren't interested in inheriting.

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A man who recently posted to Reddit is a perfect example. He and his wife have absolutely had it with his mother-in-law "thinking that we are going to preserve all her possessions like a museum," and it's caused quite a bit of drama in their family.

His mother-in-law is furious that no one wants her china, even though she never uses it. 

In some ways, this story taps into some of the most common criticisms leveled at baby boomers — namely, the narcissism they're so often accused of and their seemingly insatiable consumerism.

"[Our] four adult kids were all home at Easter," the dad wrote. "[My] mother-in-law said each of them should pick one of the four different sets of china they want to inherit. EVERYONE said no." 



The mother-in-law was instantly offended that no one "wanted her memories," even though it was pointed out that "they haven't been out of the cabinet in at least 30 years," and they were eating off everyday plates for Easter when this altercation arose. 


The argument escalated to the mother-in-law threatening to disinherit them all entirely for not respecting tradition or her belongings and not being sufficiently dedicated to family, which brought things to a head.

"Wife lost it and [said] she is going to use [the china] as frisbees once she dies," the man wrote. "Another great memory tied to the family china."

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His story sparked a debate about everything from generational conflict to the economic realities of millennials and Gen Z.

The man's post has gone wildly viral on X, aka Twitter, where it has sparked quite a debate. Many felt it showed that the younger generations' outspokenness about our justifiable frustrations and anger toward our boomer parents might have taken a dark turn — that it's now become what one Twitter user called "our millennial habit of being performatively hurtful to loved ones."


It's hard not to notice that dynamic here. An elderly woman at the end of her life trying to gift her loved ones with her cherished belongings and receiving vitriol in return. That frisbee line is hilarious, but it's also pretty mean. (Then again, the mother-in-law's threats do her no favors.)

Others felt this mother-in-law's family was essentially shooting themselves in the foot because, in a world where even a rickety IKEA desk made of particle board now costs $400, means that whatever the mother-in-law has to give them is likely far nicer and sturdier than anything these people have or can afford to buy.


But this conflict is also a perfect example of a long-held cultural more among older generations that simply doesn't compute to millennials, Gen Zs, and even many Gen Xers because of the dark economic realities they face.

As one Redditor put it regarding things like this Boomer's china, "You aren't supposed to use it. You're supposed to fuss over it." And that makes no sense for generations of people for whom stagnant wages and astronomical housing costs mean they can't even afford to live anywhere with adequate space and permanence to house all these heirlooms in the first place.


Who wants an entire set of china to "fuss over" or a beautiful old mahogany dining table when you move every year or two to chase lower rent or your house is so small you have to rent a storage unit for all this stuff that came so easily to our parents and grandparents. No wonder it ends up in consignment shops.

It's a sad, no-win situation for everyone involved, and that probably means one thing: We all need to let go and move on. Boomers need to let go of the need to see their possessions be passed down, and we younger folks need to work on having a bit more empathy about how sad it must feel to our elders to see their cherished belongings end up at the Goodwill. 


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.