Most of us have stuff that has been passed on by family members – whether still living or long departed.  At this time of year, some of us also have gifts from family and friends.  Vases, books, pictures…  Many of these are not things we would have chosen – so the question is always – what to do with them?

Firstly – if you have an abundance of these things, sort them out.  Any that you don’t like and don’t feel attached to – don’t keep!  I’m sure even your relative or friend would agree….  (not keeping the item doesn’t mean that you love that person any less)

Secondly take those that have sentimental meaning, but not much aesthetic value and find a treasure box in which to store them.  I have a large antique trunk that holds all sentimental items (including the man’s old rugby socks – for reasons best known to him – but better in the trunk than on the bedroom floor, I say).

Then you can have fun creating vignettes with those items remaining….

An old embossed leather case, studded with gold is rich with texture, history and memories.  And…

leather embossed case

opens to reveal a gold watch, engraved with family initials, nestling in ancient tissue.

engraved gold watch

An antique game of Boston Whist still contains its markers in mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell.

vintage whist set

A fabulous antique painting of an ancestor (on the man’s side – and yes – there is a family resemblance, although (thankfully) no similar beard).

Even if you don’t have the luxury of paintings – old photos are lovely – like this evocative wartime shot.

wartime photo family heirloom interior recycled

A tiny tortoiseshell card case, with a stunning mother-of-pearl design is better displayed than hidden away in a drawer…

tortoiseshell card case mother of pearl interiors

Make sure you group items together rather than scattering them evenly throughout the house, as mentioned here.

styling antique pieces heirloom barometer