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How to deal with family "heirlooms"?

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    #16
    Gosh I hope to never do this. Of course I will but I hope it's not so hard.
    LivingAlmostLarge Blog

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      #17
      Your daughter won't want it. The family members who would be interested in it are either dead or elderly. Steve, you're the last person who is going to be interested in those things.
      Peter Walsh (my go-to guru when dealing with my mom's clutter) would suggest that you figure out what the real treasures are. Treasure in this case has nothing to do with monetary value. What items best represent what you valued/loved/respected about your cousin that you want to memorialize? What items can you select from all of the stuff that best represents the beauty of what all of that stuff represents (your cousin and what you valued about him). Take those few items home and display them respectfully (don't just keep them in a box). For example, one shadow box hung on the wall in your office, or a special place on the fireplace mantle or on a shelf where you'll actually see it.

      The rest? It will feel uncomfortable to put those things in the recycle bin or trash or donation pile, but go ahead and give it a try. To again paraphrase Peter Walsh, it's "stepping in to the fear" (of losing memories) but if we do it, it can bring a sense of release.

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        #18
        Since it only really means anything to you then if you don't want it shred it...for bigger items ask the places they came from if they would like them to put up on the wall...if not get rid of it..could always call the military and see what to do with the service records...it's up to you if you don't it displayed in your home then toss it...it's sentimental but just clutter for your house

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          #19
          Originally posted by scfr View Post
          Your daughter won't want it. The family members who would be interested in it are either dead or elderly.
          Steve's DD will (probably) eventually be old. My grandparents (who died 25 and 13 years ago) kept a bunch of stuff from their and their children's youth and (because my father owns the house) my younger cousin is finding all sorts of interesting old pictures.

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            #20
            Originally posted by scfr View Post
            Your daughter won't want it. The family members who would be interested in it are either dead or elderly. Steve, you're the last person who is going to be interested in those things.
            Peter Walsh (my go-to guru when dealing with my mom's clutter) would suggest that you figure out what the real treasures are. Treasure in this case has nothing to do with monetary value. What items best represent what you valued/loved/respected about your cousin that you want to memorialize? What items can you select from all of the stuff that best represents the beauty of what all of that stuff represents (your cousin and what you valued about him). Take those few items home and display them respectfully (don't just keep them in a box). For example, one shadow box hung on the wall in your office, or a special place on the fireplace mantle or on a shelf where you'll actually see it.

            The rest? It will feel uncomfortable to put those things in the recycle bin or trash or donation pile, but go ahead and give it a try. To again paraphrase Peter Walsh, it's "stepping in to the fear" (of losing memories) but if we do it, it can bring a sense of release.
            Very good advice.Thank you for this.
            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.

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              #21
              Originally posted by Nutria View Post

              Steve's DD will (probably) eventually be old. My grandparents (who died 25 and 13 years ago) kept a bunch of stuff from their and their children's youth and (because my father owns the house) my younger cousin is finding all sorts of interesting old pictures.
              The one problem I've found with this line of thinking is that the photos are rarely identified. I've found some really neat old photos (like from the dawn of photography era) but I have absolutely no idea who any of the people are which makes them far less meaningful. If I knew that the woman was my great great grandmother, that would be really cool, but I haven't got a clue. That makes it just a neat old photo of somebody who probably had some sort of connection to my family.
              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


                #22
                While things like military records, masonic uniforms, church plaques may have been a huge source of pride for them personally, there isn't alot of value in holding onto this type of stuff. You might consider returning these things (well the masonic stuff or the plaque) to their respective organizations. But honestly they're probably going to toss it.

                If it were me, I'd have a bonfire and burn it all. For me there is a certain amount of catharsis that comes from destroying something with fire, and it seems like a bit nobler of an end that laying in a landfill.

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                  #23
                  Originally posted by sblatner View Post

                  For the framed receipts, would a town museum be interested in this?
                  I've reached out to an extended relative still in the area, we'll see. They company might want it but they also might already have some of this.

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                    #24
                    Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                    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?
                    What you are talking about is one of my biggest fears: disposing of artifacts of someone's life. My wife's parents had hundreds of black and white photos...you know the kind with the scalloped edges. Even if some had writing on the back, I don't know who Edith and Sam from 1946 are, and those who could have answered are deceased. They probably meant something to someone long ago, but now we're generation or 2 apart from those people.

                    The decluttering thread ties in here. We want to simplify so that our kids, or even their kids, won't be burdened with this problem.

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                      #25
                      Originally posted by JoeP View Post
                      What you are talking about is one of my biggest fears: disposing of artifacts of someone's life. My wife's parents had hundreds of black and white photos...you know the kind with the scalloped edges. Even if some had writing on the back, I don't know who Edith and Sam from 1946 are, and those who could have answered are deceased. They probably meant something to someone long ago, but now we're generation or 2 apart from those people.

                      The decluttering thread ties in here. We want to simplify so that our kids, or even their kids, won't be burdened with this problem.
                      Exactly. And not just people we don't know, but even people we do, like my aunt and uncle. I remember them both very well, but do I need my aunt's high school diploma or my uncle's retirement plaque?

                      And yes, this totally ties in with our decluttering. Since returning from Florida, I've been approaching it with a whole new point of view and purging things that I had previously held onto. I'm now looking at it through the lens of what our daughter will have to deal with when we're gone. Just in the 2 weeks I've been home, I've gotten rid of a ton of paper items - about 2-3 cartons worth. I'm actually back in Florida now but once I'm home again, I have a load of things lined up to sell on Marketplace and Ebay. My wife and I have been going through the house with a whole new focus on eliminating things that we just don't need or care about and that our daughter doesn't want.
                      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

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