With every passing generation comes new interests, desires, and differing senses of what is and isn’t important for a person to have in the household. In other words, that which a person’s parents held dear may not be important to them, and vice versa. Nowadays, technology is improving at an exponential rate, meaning certain things millennials find absolutely essential didn’t even exist when their parents were growing up, nor when they were young adults themselves.
All of this is quite normal given the passage of time, but the surprising part is that now more than ever, younger people seem just as interested in things from the past as they are with the present. This doesn’t just apply to typical feelings of nostalgia, but also items and hobbies that seemed to have fallen out of vogue before the modern day twenty-something was even born. In fact, the most interesting thing to the average millennial may be something their parents thought was borderline useless.
At this point, most people are aware that “retro” is “in,” yet what exactly this entails can be something of a mystery to someone who doesn’t “get it.” That especially applies for those same baby boomers and older Gen X-ers who were throwing out items their kids would later beg them for as gifts. To find out what somehow survived the generation gap, keep reading to learn about 25 things every millennial owns that their parents tried getting rid of years ago.
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22 LEGOs and Other Building Blocks For Fun
After the release of The LEGO Movie, the yellow building blocks that gave Emmet Brickowski life unsurprisingly experienced a great resurgence in popularity. Even before the movie came out, individual pieces from old LEGO sets were skyrocketing in value, with fans desperately seeking parts missing from their collections. Of course, those pieces are only missing because of the sheer number of people who threw old LEGOs away, not knowing the price tag would gradually climb over the years. Now that word is getting out, these toys may be worth money, people are naturally inclined to keep all of their old pieces just in case.
21 Lunchboxes Featuring Movies and TV Shows
Generally speaking, there’s little need for a regular lunchbox once a person graduates from grade school. Even people bringing their own lunch to work with them typically do so in a brown paper bag, and taking a box with a picture of a cartoon or movie character on it may have once been cause for ridicule. Thankfully, people are more willing to accept nostalgia these days, meaning an old lunchbox with Star Wars on it might actually make someone the coolest guy at their office. Barring that, just keeping an old lunchbox at home can be a fun reminder of youth or be a valuable collector’s item.
20 Saving Storage Technology Keeps Information Safe Forever
Okay, so it should go without saying that the average flash drive didn’t exist 20 years ago, meaning the average millennial’s parents never had one of them to throw away in the first place. However, they did have floppy disks, blank CDs, and various other electronic storage methods, and especially considering how much of that technology is obsolete, they were likely tossed into a corner and forgotten about before long. Because flash drives are so easy to store, not to mention that people put more vital information on them than ever before, millennials are more likely to keep them someplace safe to ensure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
19 Old “Letters” Never Get “Deleted”
To a sentimental type, the idea of throwing out a personal letter is pretty much unthinkable in any era. That said, it’s easy to read a heartfelt note once or twice, stash it away somewhere, and forget about it. Or, that is to say, this used to be the case, back when people actually wrote letters with pen and paper. Nowadays, the more common method of long form message delivery is either email or DMs on social media. Considering these exchanges can forever be revisited at the click of a button, millennials have an easier time of remembering past correspondences, and won’t be quick to hit the delete button.
18 Empty Cereal Boxes Are A Special Kind of Nostalgia
Such is the nature of nostalgia that people are starting to collect old cereal boxes, and it’s even better if there’s some old, unopened food left in the box. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to garden variety Froot Loops or Cheerios, but throw a pop culture figure on either of those brands for a special edition box, and someone may pay big bucks for it down the line. It should go without saying no one should eat any extremely stale food from 10 years ago, but just keeping the box is a fun memory of childhood favorites that may no longer exist.
17 Outdated Cell Phones Are In Once Again
Believe it or not, to the right collector, a cell phone that looks outdated to most modern eyes might actually be worth more money than the latest iPhone. In fact, the earliest cell phones of all, like the Motorola DynaTAC made popular in the early 1980s, might be most popular of all.
Back when they were released, these phones cost a staggering $3,995, and though that number has dipped a bit, a collector might still buy it for $1,300 or more.
While they don’t connect to the Internet or do anything special, the giant brick-shaped devices hold strong nostalgic value and plain old style points for fans of all things retro.
16 Old Notes From College May Take Years to Pay Off
Theoretically, the next step after graduating college is a decent job in a person’s chosen field of study, or at least something close to it. Unfortunately, the modern job market means that it could be months or even years before a student actually finds work related to their degree. In order to stay prepared for when that dream career finally comes, millennials more or less need to keep their old notes from college classes as a potential refresher course. Considering how many of those notes are on the computer, it’s also easier than ever to keep them in a folder somewhere and periodically study what was learned in school.
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15 Old Magazines Remind Millennials About Their Own Development
Considering the Internet now contains a couple dozen web sites for every fringe interest one could imagine, it’s easy to assume magazines are somewhat falling out of Vogue. It’s true, some magazines are struggling, but the industry at large is doing just fine, and that’s not what we’re talking about anyway.
The real winners when it comes to light reading are older vintage magazines that contain early stories reporting on current icons.
Someone who really loves a band or video game might pay big for the issue of Rolling Stone or Nintendo Power where they were first mentioned. In the very least, they won’t throw them out if they find one.
14 All the Toys Money Can Buy
While most toys and trinkets have a suggested age requirement, example“for children 3 and up,” it’s worth noting that very few of them have a limit at which “and up” no longer applies. Nonetheless, older generations seemed to decide that by the time a kid was in high school, it was time to throw out their Slinkies, Easy-Bake Ovens, and various other childhood favorites. Perhaps because millennials were still playing with those toys by the time the episode of Seinfeld aired where the cast lamented not saving their old favorites, more and more people are doing just that, and refusing their parents wishes to get rid of them.
13 Phone Numbers Rarely Leave a Contact List Without Reason
In all fairness, this next entry has more to do with modern technology than anything related to age, as it applies equally to people from all generations. Before everyone owned a cell phone, people either had to remember phone numbers or keep some kind of phone book on them. However, phones have much better memories than the average human, meaning individuals just need to call a person or business one single time to have their number on hand virtually forever. Even if they never get a second call, the contact information will always be there just in case.
12 Comic Books Are Constantly Increasing In Value
No matter what age a person is, if they love comic books, this next entry should hardly be surprising. The older an issue of Superman or Batman happens to be, the more valuable it is to a collector. Thanks to current movies making huge stars out of virtually any comic book someone could imagine, it’s probably a good idea to simply hold on to every copy a person has just in case the next Iron Man or Ant-Man crops up. Of course, diehard comic fans have always known this, and would never dare throw a classic issue out even after reading it a million times. Particularly ardent collectors might not even let people touch them.
11 Board Games Never Get Boring
Once video games and computers started taking over the home entertainment market, the idea of sitting down to play Monopoly or Risk felt like an unnecessary complicated process. That’s not even mentioning the hardened arguments these old games could cause, although anyone whose played an online game probably knows that’s still an issue for some folks. In any event, the point is that while the first generation to experience video games may have given up on board games, millennials are reclaiming some old favorites and re-playing them with anyone else who shares their nostalgia.
10 Journals Are Alive and Getting Updated — Online
For as long as pen and paper have existed, people have been writing down their innermost thoughts for quiet reflection later on in life. The catch is that “later on” used to mean a person in their 20s at the latest, after which they forgot about childhood journals or diaries. Not only are some millennials more inclined to reflect on the past when it was written down, but more notably, the modern day journal is kept on social media, making it that much harder to throw away. The last generation may have kept old notes in a closet somewhere, but the current one keeps it out in the open online almost forever, unless they get embarrassed and delete them.
9 Dressers, Cabinets, and Generic Furniture Don’t Need an Upgrade
If crafted by an expert, an older dresser or cabinet is probably more valuable than a newer version. The difference between previous generations and the current one is that having a particularly fancy place to store one’s clothing or sit on isn’t necessary, so younger folks may never bother getting rid of that first IKEA dresser they bought out of college. When we say more people are holding on to “old” furniture, we don’t necessary mean they’re collecting antiques. Quite the opposite; it’s that antiques don’t really matter anymore, and so long as a piece of furniture still works, there’s not really any need to get rid of it for something fancier.
8 Photographs To Mark Every Occasion
Okay, so photographs from way back are another item that few people from any generation didn’t exactly “throwing away.” However, when taken with a Polaroid or physical camera, it’s all too easy to toss an old snapshot in a box once everyone important has seen it once or twice. This is no longer possible now that every single photo a person takes will inevitably wind up online, where the only reason they’d ever get “thrown out” or deleted is if they later cause some sort of embarrassment. Otherwise, once a photo is shared publicly, it’ll be there forever.
7 Specialized Kitchenware For Every Meal
Whether or not individual people are spending more time in the kitchen, trends have shown that far less people are dining out on average than they used to just a few years ago. This is yet another issue related to general cash flow, yet there’s also something to be said about millennials taking pride in being able to cook their own meals. Of course, with cooking comes the supplies required to do so, and with modern-day appliances generally appearing generic and bland, the regular home chef may prefer an older toaster, bread maker, or whatever other device they’re using than a new one.
6 A Millennial’s First Car May Also Be Their Last
Depending on how much a person cares about cars, this entry may not apply to them, as there are still plenty of people who head back to the dealership and trade in older models for new ones every year. However, generally speaking, this is neither necessary nor economically viable for plenty of people in today’s world. It may be a stretch to say the average millennial will only own one car throughout their entire life, but the idea of always needing the newest, best ride in town is definitely growing less important over time. Similarly, if it’s all a person can afford, it’s possible that initial vehicle won’t even be up to date in the first place.
5 Posters and Vintage Ads Lasted Longer
In a post-Mad Men world, advertising is more “in” than ever before. Of course, even without Don Draper evoking intense emotions through Carousels and Coca-Cola, the artwork alone from a vintage ad can give them great aesthetic appeal, regardless of a person’s interest in the product at hand. That goes double for a movie poster, because odds are there will always be an audience for great films. If anything, the older a vintage ad or movie poster is, the more value it has today, both due to rarity and the iconic status many of them attain over time.
4 Old Music Memorabilia Never Goes Out of Style
The interesting thing about how modern music fans show their appreciation is that since it takes a while for certain bands to become iconic, far more people are supporting them when they were still active. Sure, The Beatles were always huge, but it’s arguable a band like The Velvet Underground or XTC is more popular with fanatics today than they’ve ever been. Punk bands especially see this trend, which is why so many millennials have posters and flyers advertising concerts that took place before they were born. Some bands may have even broken up before their biggest fans heard about them, but they’ll still want all the merch they can find.
3 Retro Video Games Are More Popular Than Ever
Thanks to the release and unprecedented success of the NES and SNES Classic, there’s absolutely no questioning that retro video gaming is extremely popular with millennials. Even without these throwback devices, the Virtual Consoles featured on most modern systems allows younger gamers to fall in love with titles that were released before they were old enough to play them. Either way, the real appeal for collectors is going back and buying the original Nintendo and the games that went with it. Truly hardcore gamers may even go back further and start looking for Atari s.
2 Record Players Still Make Great Sounds
For all the talk about how the music industry has almost entirely gone digital, the most ardent fans around have always seemed to ape the superiority of vinyl records. Sure, there are little cracks, pops, and whistles that develop as a record gets older, but to many people, this is a huge part of the appeal. The fact brand new bands still release their latest releases on vinyl come record-store day truly says it all, as does the fact the limited edition copies almost always sell out before the “holiday” is over. It’s not out of the question for a millennial’s overall music collection to be 50% digital, 50% vinyl, and nothing in between.
1 Money Saved Is Money Well Spent
Ultimately, when it comes to collections, nothing is more old-fashioned than cold, hard cash. Despite a popular misconception, a growing trend in reports has seen that about 1 in 6 millennials are actually doing a great job at saving money, eschewing unnecessary items and amenities to have a little bit left over for later in life. As this list has documented, people are buying less cars, houses, and furniture in part because they can’t afford it, but rather than wasting what money they do have on random decorative ephemera, a growing number of young folk are actually thinking about the future.
References: Business Insider, University of Washington, USA Today, CNBC, Eater, The Guardian
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