What to do with hideous heirlooms?

I read an article recently in Woman & Home entitled “My hideous heirlooms”… The author described an object inherited from her mother, which despite being hideous and unloved she keeps on display because getting rid of it would be disloyal to her mother! The object had been one of her mother’s few truly loved possessions and had been in the family for generations. She felt that she was being blackmailed from the grave in that her mother (long dead) would have been devastated if she had got rid of the object.

The article went on to describe “the most hideous clock ever made” owned by a friend of the author. The friend had hidden the clock in her spare room for years hoping that someone would break it giving her the excuse she needed to get rid of it. A relative, who had helped pay the school fees for her children, had bequeathed the clock to her and as such she felt guilt ridden to keep the clock, even though it didn’t even work.

Two of my clutter clearing principles (which are linked) spring to mind here.   Firstly gifts (including those bequeathed) should be given unconditionally, giving the recipient the right to decide for himself or herself whether they want to keep the gift, return it to the shop it came from, re-gift it or simply give it to charity.   It is the act of giving that is important here.

Secondly, you should clear something out of your house if you don’t love it, don’t need it, if it doesn’t have a positive emotional attachment, or if it is broken or needs repairing and you aren’t willing to pay to have it fixed.

I wish the author of the article could take this on board and get rid of her heirloom. By offering the object up for sale something considered hideous by one person could be provide a new home by someone who truly loved it.


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