Three great ideas to reduce family heirloom clutter

For some, the equation is simple. Family heirloom = family clutter. This is understandable because, let’s face it, it can be a challenge to effectively — and attractively — keep and display the precious belongings that have been handed down to you.

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While we love family heirlooms, we do understand that being a “Family Curator” is a big responsibility. Case in point: you know that 135-year-old pickle passed down to you by your great-great-grandmother? Yeah, you know the one. How the heck do you display that?

Luckily over the past several years, we’ve kept our fingers on the pulse of what people are doing with their precious belongings, and we are going to share a few of these ideas with you.

Richmond Magazine’s R Home: “Embroidered memories: Sarah Wiley of Huger Embroidery stitches nostalgic keepsakes

Synopsis: “Sarah Wiley has found a way to celebrate and preserve … mementos through her embroidered designs.”


Sunset Magazine: “How to mix vintage treasures with your own upbeat style

Synopsis: “Be inventive. If you like the shape of an old piece, hold on to it until inspiration strikes.”


Making Lemonade Blog: Quick Ways to Display Heirlooms

Synopsis: “Here’s my advice when it comes to heirlooms: wrapped up in storage boxes, they don’t help anyone.  If you love something and it brings happy memories, find ways to display it so it honors those memories.”


The Heirloom Registry

Finally, as all of these folks point out, what good is displaying a family heirloom if no one knows why it’s significant? If you want to make sure its story lives on, we’ve got such an easy way to help. Without a story, a 135-year-old pickle is just a disgusting cucumber.

Do you have any clever ways to display family heirlooms? What are some of the unique heirlooms that you like to show off in your house? Do you feel pressure to display? Let the Houstory Nation know!

Top 12 House History Research Supplies

Researching your home’s history is a lot of fun, but you don’t want to be caught flat-footed if an opportunity to research and collect value information on your property presents itself. In an effort to help out our fellow “Houstorians,” we’ve come up with a list of the top 12 supplies for house history research.

House History Research


Notebook/laptop computer: To keep track of everything, of course.

Tape measurer: Try to have one on-hand at all times. Whether it comes to creating a map for your home, or measuring a room – accuracy is of paramount importance.

Camera: A picture is often worth a few thousand words.

Recording device: When conducting interviews, it is helpful to have a device on hand — whether it is a tape recorder or something more sophisticated, such as a digital recorder — that will allow you to record (with permission) the people you speak to along the way.

Large folder: During your research adventures, you’ll likely run across a slew of loose papers/documents that need a home. Eventually, many of these documents can be showcased in your Home History Book, but in the meantime, a folder will do.

Magnifying glass: Tiny print — common in the types of documents you will likely be examining, such as maps or government documents — can strain the eyes.

Tracing paper: For those times when you can’t copy some of the truly historic and fragile documents, or perhaps they are too large.

Pencil: Oftentimes, libraries and historical archives will not let you use a pen on the premises if the documents they house are too fragile or old.

Stapler: Keep the loose stuff organized.

Flashlight: The home historians sometimes has to follow the research trail to dark nooks and crannies in a home to dig up elusive information.

Sharp knife: Need a sample of wallpaper, or paint? This can help.

Mirror: If you are trying to explore hard-to-see areas, such as under an appliance or behind a wall – mirrors can be invaluable.

Is this list complete? What do you like to use when you research your home’s history? For more information on researching your house histories, visit