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The Generational Burden of Stuff: Reflections on Inheritance and Giving



A local resident from Wallowa County in Oregon recently reflected on the evolving dynamics of inheritance and the weight of accumulating possessions across generations.

Having undergone the process of converting a carport into a bedroom, the resident delved into the intricacies of decluttering and storing items, sparking thoughts about the significance of material possessions.

The trend of storage facilities has been rapidly expanding in towns and suburbs, including over 500 units in Wallowa County alone, mirroring a broader societal pattern of accumulating excess belongings.

Amidst considerations of passing belongings to the next generation, the resident highlighted the logistical challenges in dispersing items among family members dispersed across states like Arizona and Guam.

Reflecting on a past experience in Southern California, where a family collectively sorted through a parental estate, the resident recounted how siblings collaborated to distribute possessions without discord.

The reminiscence extended to sentimental items such as vintage cameras, bestowed based on each sibling’s affinity or expertise, embodying a spirit of shared responsibility and sentimental value.

Amidst dilemmas of parting with belongings, the resident pondered the future of cherished possessions, including items like Turkish carpets, regional artwork, and a diverse collection of books by renowned writers.

A recent encounter with Nez Perce artist Carla Timentwa at the Josephy Center in Joseph, Oregon, shed light on the significance of passing down cultural artifacts and traditions, emphasizing the importance of gifting and communal care.

Inspired by Timentwa’s dedication to creating pieces for future generations, the resident contemplated the transformative power of giving over retaining, providing a profound insight into the evolving ethos of inheritance and generosity.

Rachel Adams

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