Heirloom, Heirloose: How to Make your Unwanted History Loved Again

We’ve all gotten it, that thing we don’t really want but we don’t have the heart to get rid of (or more likely our family would scold us even though they won’t take it). We stow it in boxes and drawers and it moves with us wherever we go until we snap and throw it in the trash only to have a raccoon dig it out, lick off the peanut butter, and drag it back to our front porch.

How do we save ourselves from goat paths?

First things first, is it worth anything? If it is, and if you’d have to share the money if you sold it, then the other benefactors must serve their time as well. Hand it over and say it is going in their house or on Ebay. I’m sure you’ll play ‘old crap’ hot potato for the rest of your life but at least you get some time off.

Can it be used for something else? I’ve seen some really strange DIY in my day so maybe your burden can have some use. A large coo-coo clock can have its pendulum anchored and small pull tab hooks installed to create (in a non-damaging way) a home for hats, scarves, or ties. Or sweaters can be stacked inside. The front glass panel over the clock face can be covered with fabric using double sided tape, making the end result more free-standing closet and less awkward, non-working clock. A large piano with a flat top can be covered in a clear plastic tablecloth and, with some barstools, become a dining room table. These DIYs are a bit looney but where there is a lack of space drastic measures must be taken.

Give it on permanent loan. This is an option but not for most of us. If your family came over on the Mayflower and you have all their original trunks you have good reason to want to keep it in the family, you also have an excellent reason to not want it in your house. Local historical societies and museums will display or store these kinds of items on a permanent (it is theirs but you get a plaque) or semi-permanent (it is theirs until your cousin says they want it back) loan.

The little things. Ahh the hazaraii! The stamp collections, antique books, broken necklaces, and figurines. Oddly I always have more trouble sorting these than the bigger items. At least big items have a use. Honestly, my best fixes yet have been hide and rotate. All my porcelain figurines come out, all my nesting dolls go away. If the item is truly antique I’d never suggest destroying it and since you aren’t allowed to give it away I doubt you’re allowed to smash those antique plates and make mosaics with them. Here I say introduce ‘no man’s land’ storage. These are areas you never go into and won’t mind having some junk. For me that is the far side of underneath my bed (my double is pushed against a wall). I can’t get there so I use very flat shoe boxes to store things I never use but am not allowed to get rid of. This space is not for things I just can’t bear to part with, but I do include things like my mugs which I will use should I ever again have my own kitchen. If I think I should be routinely sorting and dumping it, the items go next to my desk so I remember I have problems and can not go shopping ever again. Other strange uses I’ve found for hazaraii include- using old books to prop up photographs or create tiers on a shelf, using an old vase to store make-up brushes, using a decanter for bracelets, bookends, stone wall hanging can be coasters, and stuffed animals help my hats keep their shape.

I have also never found a use for Mr. Biscuit. He continues to be an expensive throw pillow with lovely pink paws. I suppose I’ll keep him.

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