One of the best gifts you can give your children is advanced planning of what you will do with your treasured possessions. My 92-year-old mother started years ago and it was fascinating for my sister and our kids to discover what she had stored away and to learn the stories and memories behind various objects. My son was particularly intrigued and it invited questions about family members he had never met. I totally misjudged the curiosity (and value) in stamp and coin collections, board games and military memorabilia.
Enlist the advice of an expert to help
You do need to be honest with your family and tell them what you would prefer them to keep for sentimental reasons. It does take time and I highly recommend enlisting the advice of an expert. Be realistic about values, just because it’s old doesn’t equate to value.
What did I discover?
I was horrified when I learnt that the old black handbag I played ‘dressing up’ with as a child is in fact a classic worth thousands of pounds and my father’s 1960’s Rolleiflex camera was certainly worth keeping. Sadly, most books have little or no value except for memories, although do check out for first editions. Brown furniture has slipped out of fashion but it can easily be painted and with new handles, it becomes a totally different piece- a toy box, coffee table, or an extra bench in the greenhouse. Just make sure you get it valued first.
Out-of-fashion jewellery can be repurposed by taking the stones and creating several new pieces and costume jewellery can be used as door handles or curtain ties. Gold has increased significantly in price so odd earrings, broken necklaces and unwanted rings may be worth more than you think.
Scan photos and make albums for presents but don’t forget names and dates. There are numerous companies online such as Photobox and CEWE that you can send your photos and they will create wonderful photo albums. Crockery and ceramics are very personal so don’t be offended if no one wants them and the same goes for glassware and art.
With so many people wearing smart watches and asking Alexa the time it is difficult to know what clocks and watches to keep. That said a good watch will always have a market and an elegant bracelet watch or dress watch can make a lovely graduation or birthday gift.
Vinyl records are having a renaissance and if you have a large collection you may find the value is more than expected. Iconic album sleeves can be framed as artwork as can programmes from famous theatre productions and if you have kept a few early Disney VHS tapes it may well be worth checking the values.
But just don’t do what my mother did and start buying again!
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