4 Things to Know When Downsizing Your Family Heirlooms

It seems that nearly everyone is doing some form of downsizing, regardless of how old they are or where they live. For Boomers, downsizing family heirlooms and sending old things out the door can pose challenges. One of the biggest problems occur when it comes to packing up family pieces, old photos and heirlooms.

Are you downsizing too? If you have adult children who are out on their own, they may not have the room or time to deal with family pieces you want to pass on to them. Rather than overwhelm your family with unwanted treasures or things that just don’t fit their lives right now, let’s stop and rethink this process so it works out better for everyone.

We can all agree that it’s important to pass on to the next generation important family pieces. But how to do that? Starting a “family heirloom and treasures” storage bin is one option, and if you can keep family treasures limited to one storage box or bin, it will help you edit down to the most important objects.

The idea is to: Sort it out, edit it down, and tell the story. Telling the story is too often overlooked. My grandmother wrote out important notes and taped them to the bottom of things she gave to her family.  Because of those written notes, I know the importance of what she gave me and why I should continue to preserve them. The Christmas nativity set we use dates back to the early 20th century. My children knew where it came from because grandma took the time to write it down. So I’m borrowing that practice of writing notes from her.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of telling the story of your family pieces. This isn’t an oral history exercise, it’s a ‘write a note’ process. Keep these comments short by sticking to the four “W”: Who, What, When, Where.

Who: Name who owned or created this object

What: Tell its significance, and what it is

When: Include any dates.

Where: Is there an important location this came from or a place where it was used?

Written story notes can be difficult to include with a piece. If you are able to write your notes by computer, then the size can be reduced to fit the bottom of most objects. If that doesn’t work try placing the item in a plastic zip closure bag with the written note. Doing this should prevent your items and their stories from becoming separated and lost.

Once you have documented the story, it’s time to start packing your family heirlooms and treasures box or bin. It will be a treasure trove with tales to tell.

Are you downsizing too?  Do you have some tips for packing up heirlooms that I may have missed? 


New Life in Retirement: New Roads to Explore

Since leaving my job for retirement, I have found many new opportunities to explore. I have to admit that it took me awhile to realize what interested me the most. There were so many roads that I wanted to take. Some I wanted to see what I could find along the way, others I would follow to new destinations that have since changed my life. I hope to take you with me as I share what I have found so far and what I hope to find on my way down new roads or along old ones I've revisited.

Even this desert road. If I had been told before I left my career that within a few years I would be walking down this dirt road one spring morning, I would have been skeptical. I was locked into a different lifestyle at the time that didn't relate to this scene and its reality. But that is part of the life adventure we can take after leaving a job or changing a lifestyle. You just don't know where you'll end up.

If you are making a change in your life, I'd like to suggest a crazy idea: don't set goals before you start. Doing that will just push you into becoming what you know to be true at the time. But being open to many possibilities that will arise in the future is far more enriching. One day or afternoon may change your life, just because you took a new road to a place you've never been, and from there re-wrote your goals for a truely new future.

So if someone asks what you are planning to do in your new life, tell then the truth: that you don't know because you've never been down that road before.

Be open to everything,


1949: Womb Chair by Eero Saarinen & Henry P. Glass Hairpin leg side table.

Too often we associate mid-century modern furnishings only with the 1950's and 1960's, but the origins start earlier than that. Recently I came across an advertisement in a magazine from 1949 that shows the remarkable Womb hair by Eero Saarinen.


A Greener Home: Pantone Color for 2017 - Greenery, Color of the Year

Light, bright green, can be a great way to bring nature into your home. If using green seems like a big stretch for right now, consider trying out some of these accent pieces to start. Featuring just a little of this new green will add a touch of spring color to any space.


1950s Holiday Recipes: From Box Labels

About this time of year the little Bungalow starts to warm up with cooking smells that only Fall can bring: cinnamon, pumpkin, cranberries and other heady little feasts. I like a fresh pumpkin pie as soon as Halloween decorations crop up on my neighbor's front yards, and I can't wait for fresh cranberries to arrive in the produce section of the market. By the time Thanksgiving arrives, we've been eating some of my favorite holiday foods, but as part of our daily meals. It's such a fun way to enjoy favorites.


YInMn Blue: A New Blue Color has Been Discovered

YInMn, a new synthetic blue pigment has been discovered.  It's burst onto the art and industrial design scene; bright, clear and pure. Perhaps not since mauveine (an aniline dye of purple) was discovered in 1856 by Sir William Henry Perkins as the very first synthetic color, have we seen such a fuss over a new hue.