Items can carry with them our family histories and the stories of our late loved ones, giving our children a chance to connect with those they never met. These tips will help you to preserve family heirlooms for the next generation of family members.
Store Them in a Dry Place
One of the most common causes of damage to the items we don’t interact with daily is moisture. Though moisture can warp wood and ruin paper, the real concern for all heirlooms is mold growth. The cleaning solutions necessary to not only kill but remove mold from antiques can cause further damage. If you store these objects in a dry part of the home, in a sealed container, or with silica gel packets, you can protect your family belongings from water.
Avoid UV Sun Damage
Sun damage occurs over such a long period that we don’t often notice it happening to our displayed belongings. UV rays can significantly bleach the color of books, photographs, and even fabrics if we leave them exposed. If you still want to have your family heirlooms on display, instead of hiding them in the attic, keep everything out of direct sunlight or behind glass.
Keep Them Clean
Dust and dirt can do real damage over time if you leave them sitting on your belongings. By regularly dusting family heirlooms, you can prevent further effects of passing time and allow your family to handle the objects with confidence. Before you gift an heirloom to your children or family, it’s wise to give it one final cleaning so that the object presents its best self. Just be cautious when cleaning antiques that require special care, such as handmade quilts.
Understanding how to preserve family heirlooms for the next generation will ensure that you can someday hand down a piece of your history to your loved ones. If you truly want the recipient to appreciate your gift, consider speaking with them beforehand to discuss why this object is important. Take the opportunity to ask if it’s something they want to have instead of gifting it by surprise to someone who doesn’t have room for the heirloom right now.