Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

How to deal with family "heirlooms"?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    How to deal with family "heirlooms"?

    In the course of cleaning out my cousin's house, not only am I having to deal with personal items of his, I'm also coming across a number of items that belonged to his parents, my aunt and uncle. I remember them both well and other than some old photos, didn't previously have any sort of materials of theirs. The question now is what do I do with this stuff? Do I keep it? If so, why, and what do I do with it when I get it home. Do I take pictures of everything and preserve the memories that way?

    I'm not talking about items of any monetary value. A certificate recognizing 25 years of service at my uncle's job. A plaque presented to my aunt for service to her synagogue. My uncle's military discharge papers or his old Masonic name badge. I've really enjoyed seeing all of this stuff, but what now? I can't say I have any burning desire to keep it, but it feels so weird to just toss it in the trash. Maybe taking pictures is the right answer so I can always show it to others in the future if the topic comes up.

    How have you all handled stuff like that?
    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

    #2
    My mom faced a similar situation when she cleaned out her parent's home.
    Lots of items that had personal value but really couldn't be sold for anything.
    Some of it she kept, some she gave to other family members, some of it is still in boxes in her basement.

    No easy answer here.

    Brian

    Comment


      #3
      I send those pictures to the people in the pictures. It might have more sentimental value to them being in the picture.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by QuarterMillionMan View Post
        I send those pictures to the people in the pictures. It might have more sentimental value to them being in the picture.
        I'm not talking about photographs. I'm talking about physical items. My cousin's college diploma. My uncle's Army discharge papers. My aunt's service award plaque. My cousin's baby outfit from the Lane chest. The watch my uncle got when he retired. A few things have value, like the watch, but most are worthless from a monetary standpoint. And honestly, most of the people who would even care to see them at this point are already dead or rather elderly. I'm not sure who I'd be saving it all for. My daughter certainly doesn't want it. She never knew these people.
        Steve

        * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
        * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
        * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

        Comment


          #5
          Good question. Personally, I think it's a weird thing for you to have to decide. You are cousins, and generally their siblings or his children/heirs decide what to do with the lot of stuff. But when there is nobody else, you have to make the awkward call. I'd feel differently if this was for a parent, and things you could pass on to your children who have direct lineage.

          They are neat keepsakes nonetheless. For the paper items, personally I could go either way. You could keep them, since keeping paper requires almost no space. Or, make high-quality scans and/or photographs, and perhaps find a way to honorably discard the originals if you do not want them. Something like gathering the surviving family around a bonfire, sharing his favorite drink? Burying the items, if possible, at a place he loved? Or perhaps donating the items to a museum? -- Certainly there is an audience for military memorabilia and historical paperwork.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by ua_guy View Post
            For the paper items, personally I could go either way. You could keep them, since keeping paper requires almost no space.
            In the past 2-1/2 weeks, I have paid to shred 10 cartons of paper documents. I have also put out 8 recycling bins full of paper. Trust me. Keeping paper requires a tremendous amount of space. Each individual sheet may not but it builds up quickly.
            Steve

            * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
            * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
            * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

            Comment


              #7
              Simple, ask them if they want it? But they would have to pick it up or pay for shipping.

              Comment


                #8
                Good question, I've still got several large containers of my Mom's stuff like that.
                Probably should give it away to close heirs right now, while you're dealing with it and be done. You'll just have to guess who might appreciate it.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Anyone in the (extended) family interested in genealogy?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Nutria View Post
                    Anyone in the (extended) family interested in genealogy?
                    Not that I know of. There's really only a couple of family members on my uncle's side that I'm even aware of at this point. On my aunt's side (my mom's side), I'm the youngest of the generation. Most of my first cousins are in their 70s and 80s now. Our kids have no connection. I mean my daughter was close with my cousin and I am saving some of his things for her, but his parents died long before she came along.
                    Steve

                    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by disneysteve View Post

                      Not that I know of. There's really only a couple of family members on my uncle's side that I'm even aware of at this point.
                      Ask them, and like ua_guy mentioned, take high quality photographs.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Steve, I've been dealing with this but at a much smaller level. A few weeks back we cleaned out some of my Father's stuff from his partner's home. It was in the basement, some of it untouched since he helped his sister clean out their mother's home. They are all gone now. My Dad for 14 years. We only were addressing a portion of the basement so we still haven't touched his tools yet. I have a couple of boxes of records (will try to take them to a vinyl shop for some otherwise I'll drop them at goodwill. I was able to sell some of his old truck and car magazines. I did toss all my Grandfather's paperwork for his government job, where he had to put in for promotions....boring government documents, I'll probably toss his resume file with a portfolio of his work. My Grandfather has been gone for 30+ years now. My Father didn't have the best stuff, his sister took most of that. My father had three children and only one grandchild (who at age 30 may never have children and isn't really settled in their life yet) so there's very few family to pass the heirlooms down. I still haven't figured out what to do with this wall display my Dad made that has receipts from a business that the family owned near the turn of the century. Meaningful to my Dad because he worked there with his brother, meaningful to me because it was a frame that my Dad made but probably little value to anyone else....I'm trying to figure out how to downsize and not collection more things. Best wishes for all that hard work, my goal is to not leave this kind of work for my child.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by GoodLiving View Post
                          my goal is to not leave this kind of work for my child.
                          This experience has definitely renewed my motivation to deal with the clutter once I'm back at home. I don't want our daughter to have to spend weeks dealing with our stuff when we're gone.
                          Steve

                          * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                          * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                          * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by GoodLiving View Post
                            Steve, I've been dealing with this but at a much smaller level. A few weeks back we cleaned out some of my Father's stuff from his partner's home. It was in the basement, some of it untouched since he helped his sister clean out their mother's home. They are all gone now. My Dad for 14 years. We only were addressing a portion of the basement so we still haven't touched his tools yet. I have a couple of boxes of records (will try to take them to a vinyl shop for some otherwise I'll drop them at goodwill. I was able to sell some of his old truck and car magazines. I did toss all my Grandfather's paperwork for his government job, where he had to put in for promotions....boring government documents, I'll probably toss his resume file with a portfolio of his work. My Grandfather has been gone for 30+ years now. My Father didn't have the best stuff, his sister took most of that. My father had three children and only one grandchild (who at age 30 may never have children and isn't really settled in their life yet) so there's very few family to pass the heirlooms down. I still haven't figured out what to do with this wall display my Dad made that has receipts from a business that the family owned near the turn of the century. Meaningful to my Dad because he worked there with his brother, meaningful to me because it was a frame that my Dad made but probably little value to anyone else....I'm trying to figure out how to downsize and not collection more things. Best wishes for all that hard work, my goal is to not leave this kind of work for my child.
                            For the framed receipts, would a town museum be interested in this?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by disneysteve View Post

                              This experience has definitely renewed my motivation to deal with the clutter once I'm back at home. I don't want our daughter to have to spend weeks dealing with our stuff when we're gone.
                              Steve, sorry you are having to deal with this. If I were you, I would put the memory kind of things that you mentioned in a box and keep them for a year and then throw them out. At least you will have had to sit on them for a year and could make a final decision (and maybe not feel disrespectful of this important stuff (that was important to him). Though, I know none of this is your direct family so maybe it doesn't matter. But, since you asked, that would be one way to handle it. We have some of my MIL's stuff from 20 years ago. We recently had to find a document in the box and I was able to throw away a bit of stuff that we know we don't want. My FIL has since died and we really need to put it all together (they were divorced for many years but a lot of her stuff overlaps with his).

                              I agree with you - our kids don't want our stuff or our collections (my stamp, coin, football cards, doll and glass animal collections! Yikes, I guess I better get to work!).

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X