5 Things to Do Before Passing Down an Heirloom


Become A Preservationist

Preservation has moved way beyond preventing mothballs. So, whether you're planning to pass down a christening gown or share family photographs, get the facts about how to keep them as pristine as possible. After all, a hope chest rotting away in a damp basement isn't going to prompt an outpouring of special memories for anyone.

Besides moisture, direct sunlight is the biggest threat to your heirlooms. Everything -- from fabrics and papers to wooden furniture and photographs -- can be damaged by sunny conditions. Your best bet is some middle-of-the-road climate control. Avoiding too much heat or cold, as well as excess of dampness or dryness, can go a long way toward preserving keepsakes for posterity.

Speaking of future generations, don't feel like you have to save everything, a la packrat. Sometimes setting aside fewer items makes them more special. Plus, your kids will someday thank you for denying them what's become a too-oft rite of passage: Going through mom's things. And by "things," we mean all that junk you've stored away for "someday."

Related Articles


  • Minnesota Historical Society. "Preserve Your Family Treasures." MNHS.org. July 15, 2010.http://www.mnhs.org/people/mngg/stories/index.htm
  • Rinker, Harry. "Sell, Keep or Toss? How to Downsize a Home, Settle an Estate and Appraise Personal Property." House of Collectibles, Sept. 11, 2007.http://www.amazon.com/Sell-Keep-Toss-Downsize-Appraise/dp/0375722408/ref=pd_sim_b_3
  • Stum, Marlene. "Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate?" University Extension Services, 1999.http://www.amazon.com/Who-Gets-Grandmas-Yellow-Plate/dp/1888440082


10 Most Common Heirlooms

10 Most Common Heirlooms

Can you identify the 10 most common heirlooms? Learn about the 10 most common heirlooms at TLC Family.