An essay in defense of keeping family heirlooms around for another generation.
In Defense of all the Things
OK, I must say first that I am a tremendous fan of the cleanse, and the purge and the entire Marie Kondo concept in general. I mean, one of my very favorite quotes has always been one by William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” And I also know I am not alone in being absolutely addicted to the rainbow of organizational magic that The Home Edit puts out, especially now that their Netflix series has launched. But what about all the things?
I believe in things being organized and clean and clutter-free to leave room for your mind to be focused and your space to be fresh. But what about all the things? I know that (especially) the up-and-coming generation is even less focused on possessions and more focused on experiences and I truly love that. But what about all the things?
I am so fortunate that my family members of days past had so many treasures that resonated with me, many that didn’t of course, but so so so many that have found their way into my home and my every day life. I’ve talked about the little engraved wrist watch collection, the mantle clock from my namesake Great Aunt Ashley, and the issue of National Geographic Magazine that we collect whenever we spot a copy. Well that is what we are all about over here, isn’t it? The heirloom. And what makes an heirloom a treasure beyond just a thing is the special connection, the memories + the meaning behind it. It’s a powerful thing really.
But I do understand the need to purge and that all of the things can be overwhelming. You know there is one specific heirloom that I almost passed on, everyone in my family did. My GREAT grandparents wedding china. It is a spectacular collection with the most beautiful floral, still relevant for today but generations in age. I was already given my grandparents china and was yet to be married so truly who needs several sets of china these days anyways. So it remained and eventually we either had to get rid of it or keep it, and though I had passed on it before I just couldn’t bare the thought of one day having to say that I had gotten rid of such a treasured heirloom. So like many things do, it remained in my attic for years until we moved and I had the room to properly celebrate and store it in the china hutch that now sits in my dining room. Right beside my grandmothers china and the pieces that I collected otherwise from my marriage and over the years.
And listen, beyond the things there are even more heirloom notions that I think we should keep for the sake of keeping. Because there is something to be said for a tradition, or because we’ve always done it like that. Like vacationing at the same place year after year, making the same stuffing recipe for your Thanksgiving table, or having something borrowed + something blue on your wedding day. Somehow our desire to do things differently that have never been done before have completely taken over our fondness + nostalgia of traditions past.
As I was writing this post today I came across this beautiful poem by writer Kate Young, who had just posted it today and it completely resonated with me and reaffirmed me of this message.
As we head into Thanksgiving and the Holiday season, times when we truly bring out the same items we’ve used for years and years that recall special memories from deep within our bones, I beg of you to consider this. I understand the need to Kondo but in defense of the all the things, please reconsider the heirlooms. Keep these treasures around for the next generation to enjoy.
I’d love to hear your #HEIRLOOMED stories of treasures you have, those you’ve made and will one day pass down, or those you’ve lost or gotten rid of over the years and your feeling towards them today.
heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of “keeping heirlooms around for another generation.” Our blog features stories about my favorite made-from-scratch recipes, creating traditions with your family, farmhouse home decor, effortless entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, tips on gardening creating a timeless capsule wardrobe, and small town + historic travel. Our product designs feature a collection of “goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy” with an array of aprons, table linens, hand-poured candles and keepsake gifts. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com.