I just finished reading Living Simply Free’s blog post on Heirlooms and am reminded of an issue that I’ve been mentally avoiding for some time now.

I’m definitely not wanting to have all my parents belongings passed down to me when the time comes. Luckily, my mother is working towards being more minimalistic and attachment-free with her home and possessions these days, so she may be letting me off the hook in most areas.

However, her mother–my granny–used to paint. My family has several of her oil paintings displayed around our homes, and that is one thing that my mother will never get rid of. Nor should she!

I just think about the possibility of something happening to her and me being responsible for several rather large items with EXTREME sentimentality attached to them. What will I do? How will I react?

Most people would think I’m crazy for even starting to have anxiety about this issue. They would gladly take these heirlooms from their parents, but I’m not like everyone else. I just see these paintings as objects I would worry over during the event of a storm or other natural disaster, possibility of a house fire (heaven forbid), them getting damaged in a move, etc. etc. etc….


I’m open to advice or suggestions in this situation–whether it be how to deal with the anxiety over the paintings, or what to do with them when the time comes.

And, please don’t get me wrong.  I don’t worry over this to the point of losing sleep or anything.  The thought just crosses my mind from time to time and I feel like it’s something I should stop avoiding and start mentally preparing for.


Have any of you ever had heirlooms passed down to you that you would rather not have the burden of dealing with, or will you one day?   Are you having a difficult time releasing heirlooms due to sentimentality?

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6 thoughts on “Heirlooms

  1. Wow, you say I inspired this? I’m honored. I had one painting although it wasn’t done by a family member. It has a wonderful story that goes along with it. As a young child I used to climb on the back of the sofa to state at how it was made, see the picture was painted on the back of the glass and even by 4 or 5 I understood the for ground would have had to be painted first. I have every detail ingrained in my memories.

    I had it hung on my walls but also had pictures I took of it. I gifted it to my son, but still have the pictures stored. Its not the same thing and I can still visit it, but should it ever be destroyed I have the photos to look at.

    • needforless says:

      I guess this would be the best approach.

      I’ve used that method in other areas, so why not apply it to this one? Photos really do help us release the actual object.

      And what an interesting painting that must have been. I can just imagine the childlike sense of wonder in observing something like that.

      Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. addie says:

    See if someone else in the family would like to take care of them. 😉 there is a lot of family that knew Granny’s work and love it. That way, it’ll still be in the family. And chances are, you’d still see them when you visited the homes of this family. Whoever your family is. I don’t know them. They’re probably great people. 😉

  3. Fawn says:

    I have avoided the heirloom responsibility with the following strategies:
    1) Making my minimalism well known to the family.
    2) Expressing to family members that I am not the one to curate the family museum. Thankfully, there is another family member that is interested in taking this on.
    3) Had children, esp. a daughter–so the heirlooms that “are always passed on through the females” can skip me and go directly to her. (Though she is going to give them to her brother– but don’t tell my mom.)

    • needforless says:

      I think I’m becoming pretty well-known in the family for my minimalism as well. I don’t see them offering me great-granny’s china cabinet any time soon. 😉

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