SLM Talks to Family Heirlooms  scaled
SLM Talks to Family Heirlooms scaled

Many seniors feel they have heirlooms – items that have been in their families for generations. They actually feel a responsibility to pass them down to the next generation. Unfortunately many of the children and grandchildren really don’t want them. I have an antique biscuit jar that had been given to my grandmother’s grandmother as a wedding present. I am to pass it on to my daughter but my daughter really doesn’t want it.

We had a client who had a bureau that had been in the family since the 1600’s. She really wanted it to stay in the family and finally found a relative far away who was willing to “take” it if our client would pay the $1000 to have it shipped to her. Our client did pay!

One lady we worked with rented a storage locker for ten years. The cost was only $200 a month…Yes $24,000! We took most of the contents from that locker to landfill when it was finally emptied.

So what do most family members want?

I have a little tin measuring cup that belonged to my mother-in-law. When she turned 80 she started her own baking business. She took orders for cakes, pies, muffins, bread, cookies…She actually lost money on everything she sold but she loved what she did. I use that little cup most days as I make oatmeal and bake for us and  I fondly think of how she impacted my life.

Our daughter kept a covered candy dish from grandma’s house. Grandma always had a variety of candy in it and the children knew they could choose one piece when they visited.  Yes, she kept a memory!

In our 20 years of experience, some of the things we have found that men often keep are: tools, books, sports memorabilia, binoculars, sometimes a piece of clothing, a camera, projector, photos, a coffee mug, a toy car, a favorite beer glass, art, a television or other piece of electronics, a grandfather clock, and occasionally a piece of furniture…

There are several exceptions.One lady wanted to sell two 12 piece china dinner sets . I asked her if she had any children and her reply was, “I only have two sons.” I asked her to  mention the dishes to the boys and both boys wanted them.  Yes ladies…they don’t wash them.

We worked with two very successful sons who said they wanted nothing. I noticed that one was very agitated and he kept pacing back and forth – back and forth. I looked at him and said, “This is closure.” He hadn’t grown up in the house and looked at me for an explanation. I then said,  “You can never sit around this table again with your family and share a Christmas or birthday dinner.”

“Have everything shipped to my house!” was his reply.

Women often keep some of these things: dishes, wine glasses, crystal, nice linens, jewelry, clothes, note paper, sewing kits, books, photos, kitchen utensils, excellent pots, a favorite cooking dish, cook books, candle holders, art, a figurine, bedding, an afghan, a sewing machine, a flower vase, a small table or chair, sometimes a dining room set… As you can see they keep things that they can use and things that are memories.

I asked a friend what she kept from her mother’s home. She said, “A small pair of scissors.. My mom always cut a sugar cube in half and sipped her tea through the sugar cube.”