Hand-me-downs, such as dishes and pictures, are carefully wrapped in newspaper and stuffed in whiskey boxes from the early 1900’s. With each passing year the only stories that are passed down, are ones of how your relatives stored them.
They’re fragile. They belonged to a great aunt twice removed on your father’s side of the family or was it a second cousin thrice removed on your mother’s side. Each year, the memories of the contents fade away. Soon no one will know the stories that were once embedded within them.
Places Where People Have Stored Memorabilia
Many boxes or containers remain unopened throughout the years. Although it’s not bad luck to open a box, sometimes the new owner is hesitant, not knowing what might be lurking inside. It seems to be an unwritten law that stops people from leaving them behind on the side of the road or donated to a local Goodwill store or even a museum.
Boxes upon boxes have been discovered under the peaks in the attic, covered in mouse and bat droppings and filled with spiders. Those stacked in the basements are covered in gray, dusty mold from spring rains which leak into the house. Some may be fortunate to be stored in a cedar closet or a spare room inside their house.
People who live in closed quarters to begin with, have opted to pay monthly for use of a storage unit. The larger the unit, the larger the price. Especially if you want one with temperature control. These are a must if you are storing pictures – both painted and photographic.
The longer they are stored in a unit, the less likely they’ll ever be consumed by an art or antique lover.
When You Know it’s Time to Let Go
First of all, there is no law that states you must keep the boxes in your family forever.
Second, it’s best to take time to open the boxes and see what kind of treasures might be lingering.
Third, if you have no inkling of what is in the boxes, you’re less likely going to have any attachment to them. More likely, you would have a story that has been passed down through the generations about the particular items.
Maybe you have a candlestick maker. Closing your eyes, you can envision it sitting on the hearth of your grandparents fireplace, while they share of times gone by.
If when opening your eyes, you realize the value in this treasure, then you might consider keeping it yourself or finding someone in your family that loves history and nostalgia.
Or if you open your eyes and spy the chocolate cake on the table, you might consider donating the candlestick maker to a museum or sell it in an antique store. Though, asking other family members if they are interested in it, is always a great place to start.
One Last Memory Before It’s Forgotten
Do you have a camera? Take a photo of the item and put it into a scrapbook, or create a digital album. Put it in the cloud for safest keeping. Be sure to write down how to access it, in times of need.
Although it’s fun to reminisce, most people barely have time to sit down and enjoy their own home, let alone the stuff that is in it.
Not everyone is willing to let things go. Those that grew up during the depression (1930’s) know what it’s like to be without. Therefore, they want to save everything just in case they might need it again. My mom was like that. We found a barrel with old blankets in her attic. They were covered with mouse droppings. She said, “we’ll wash it and then it will be ready for whoever needs it.” Well, we kept it until we were able to sneak it out of the house and throw it away. Not only was their poop on it, but unrepairable holes, too.
Where to Go From Here
Check with other family members first before tossing or donating an item. What may not have sentimental value to you, might spark an interest for someone else.
Don’t discount how others feel about the items, especially if you’re on the side of throwing it out.
Treat everything you have with value. This will help when it’s time to market it on e-bay or craigslist.
And do take a photo of the item, so you can always reminisce with future generations.
Share a story of an item that has passed down through your own family from one generation to the next.