use your heirlooms

Ways to Preserve, Protect and Appreciate Your Family Heirlooms

April 9, 2024
preserve protect family heirlooms
Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

I am not much of a pack rat. Suppose I couldn’t do what I do for a living if I was. The desire to hang onto things would be too strong. I do, however, hang on to little bits of the past. I’ve kept my Grandma Eva’s broken hair comb, my Papa Joe’s practically worn out rosary beads and a dress with paper dolls on it that my girls both wore. Saving these “treasures” is something that most of us do. I think it’s a shame, however, that these lovely things never seem to see the light of day, except when we move and are forced to go through the boxes. So I’ve been thinking about what you can do to rectify this situation. Here are just a few ways for you to preserve, protect and appreciate your family heirlooms.

You’ve Been Framed – It’s A Great Way To Preserve, Protect and Appreciate Your Family Heirlooms

I follow a local framing shop on Instagram. They had two great posts recently that were right up this topic’s alley. The shop recently featured a framed Christening gown and a framed pair of vintage earrings. I thought, “Yeah! That’s such a great idea!” By framing these treasures you not only preserve them for the future, but they become art on your walls! The same thing with medals from your favorite service person – add a picture of him or her and it’s even more special. That’s family history, hanging right there in your living room.

Insider Tip: Thrift and consignment shops are a great resource for these frames.

Revive by Re-purposing and Preserve and Protect Your Heirlooms

My friend, Nancy, has the little girl jeans above, hanging on the back of her door as a way to display some of her favorite pins. This gives the jeans a new life and allows her to enjoy them daily instead of every once in a blue jean moon. Another idea for baby or toddler clothing is to sew parts of them together to form a quilt. You don’t get to see the whole piece, like Nancy’s jeans, but you get to see a bit of the treasures from your children’s or grandchildren’s past. Can’t part with that chipped teacup from your Auntie Mame? Consider a mosaic tabletop, tray liner or garden tile made with broken china. You’ll use it and you’ll see it. Stained tablecloths that were your Mom’s – make pillows with the unstained parts.

Use Your Heirlooms on The Daily

One of the saddest things I see in my job at my brick-and-mortar store is boxes of vintage china, silver and glass coming into the store in absolute pristine condition, because someone was too afraid to use them. Seriously. This happens regularly. It’s a great get for my buying customer because they are buying a vintage set in such great shape, but what does it say about the consignor? Did they miss out on that richness of life by being afraid they’d break something? I know this is a radical suggestion, but how about getting out grandma’s precious vase, the family silver, the good china, and actually using it? Maybe even every day? Sure, you’ll break a few pieces, but your daily life will be more beautiful and full of memories of the people you love. Can’t think of a better solution than that!

For some related reading, check out my previous blogs: Decorate Your Home With Family Photos? Why or Why Not? and How To Fill Your House With Memories.

And Now For A Little Music Before We Go…

Have a lovely day, my friends. Marianne

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