- Forgetting our ancestors
- Disappointing our ancestors
- Not conforming to the tradition of passing down
- Erasing a family story
- Lowering one’s financial worth (“I can’t sell it for what it is worth”)
1. Be generous, and give them to another family member. In my case, I lent the Victrola to a family friend with more traditional tastes in furnishings. It fits in great with his decor and I know it is being well taken care of. It is out of my house and in a place that it is featured and enjoyed; but not sold… so no broken hearts. Just be aware that once gifted, the other person may refinish the paint or upholstery to fit their style needs. That is a conversation that should be handled ahead of time.
2. Donate them to a charitable organization, and let them do some good rather than gathering dust in your basement. One of my personal favorites is crossingthejordan.org. This organization, through a twelve month program, assists trafficked women to get off the streets, past any chemical and emotional dependencies, educates and provides real life career skills, as well as reuniting them with their children and a new healthy community. I like to think that the lamp I donate is used in a new apartment and back lighting their family memories. It can feel great knowing that your donation is doing life changing work in your local community.
3. Sell them, and donate the money “in memoriam” to your loved one’s favorite charity. My grandfather loved to go antiquing. He had a great eye and built quite a collection. The problem is however… these are not my family’s heirlooms. They are just great antiques that he had amassed, selling them is slightly easier to justify. It also affords me to give back to my family or a charity in his honor.
4. Sell them, and use the money for something you really want. Have you been putting off remodeling your kitchen? Think about the money you could invest towards a current goal and consider it a gift from that loved one! I know that my grandmother who loved to bake would swoon over this range. Or maybe being able to fund a family trip to Disneyland… I know my grandfather would approve.
5. Donate historical items to a museum or university. You may be holding onto an important piece of history! Why not let everyone enjoy it!
6. Save a piece of the heirloom (like a swatch of your grandmother’s handmade quilt or wedding dress). I love this idea of creating a pillow from a cut of a wedding dress. Such a subtle way to honor a memory… and clear out closet space!
7. Save one item from the collection (like a single plate or tea cup from a set of china). I am more likely to use this tea pot as a vase, then actually have an occasion to set a formal tea table. It is a great way to utilize and appreciate a piece of family history.
8. Photograph them, and save the photos (instead of the items) for memories. This holiday season I am going to create these wonderful ornaments from old family photo albums. This way I will actually take time to enjoy them and the share memories each year!
9. Avoid them in the first place. Tell family members (gently and politely, of course) that you don’t want them to “save” anything for you, and encourage them to find alternate homes for their treasures.
10. Children’s art work: I like to take photos of my daughter holding her artwork and school presentations, and prints them in a photo book. The photo is a better memory of my daughter’s age and lasts much longer than glitter glue on poster board. This also works great for travel souvenirs! Adding an image of the souvenir to the photo book often outlasts the actual trinket itself.