Help! Do I REALLY Have to Keep All The Family Heirlooms?

Help! Do I REALLY Have to Keep All The Family Heirlooms?

Your parents have passed on and you miss them. But, you don’t miss their furniture because, unfortunately, a lot of it lives in your home now. It’s not your style, you don’t need it, AND you don’t have room. Oh, and the icing on the cake is that Mom had a lot of Grandma’s furniture so you have that now too.

What’s the deal? Do you HAVE to keep all these things? Are you a horrible person if you don’t? What would Mom and Dad think? What would Grandma think??!!


The struggle to let go of family heirlooms that have been passed on to you is often based on a fear of disrespecting the memory of family members or breaking a promise (perhaps made reluctantly) to keep them. It’s important to evaluate your situation because living under guilt and oppressive obligation is no way to live.

Too much furniture packed into too small of a place

Being surrounded by objects that don’t reflect who you are, fit your style or space, or bring you joy can drain your energy and be depressing. Fear of disappointing others—even if they never told you they expect you to keep everything—traps you in a cycle of stuff and stress.


The answer isn’t just sucking it up and keeping everything. But it doesn’t have to be dropping everything off at the nearest thrift store either. Instead, step back and identify the things you truly want to keep. Ask yourself if you have room for them. If you do but space is tight, consider letting go of something you already have to make room for the “new” heirloom.

Let’s deal with the Big Three—those guilty feelings you have when you don’t really want to keep something but don’t feel free to let it go.

“It feels disrespectful to discard family items.” Your loved ones are in your heart and memories . . . not in physical things. You can still respect their memory even though you don’t own their things.

“Mom is expecting me to keep all Grandma and Great Aunt Sarah’s things—it almost feels like I promised her I would.” Circumstances change. It’s okay to reassess promises (and partial promises). You’re in a better position now to know what does and doesn’t fit in your home and decide accordingly.

“I just know someone in the family will be mad at me if I let go of any family stuff.” Family is about relationships—not stuff. Communicate with loved ones about your need to declutter. Make the things you can’t keep available to them. If they don’t want or can’t take those items, let them know that’s okay, but you can’t either and are going to have to find a better place to pass them on to.

Letting go of family heirlooms is not about erasing the past but about enjoying the present as well as establishing a future that best suits you. When you release yourself from the emotional weight of inherited items, you set yourself up to enjoy your home and life in a positive, healthy way. THIS is a good way to honor your relatives.

Collage of old family photos
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