What to Do With an Inherited Collection

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There are many ways to inherit collections. Sometimes loved ones pass and leave behind keepsakes or parents downsize during a move. Collections can be highly personal and carry a sentimental value that outweighs any monetary value. There is no proper way to handle inherited collectibles. Each situation will vary, but often the most difficult decision is the most basic one: do you keep it?

Unless you’re a minimalist, you probably have a bona fide collection, even if you don’t realize it. Throughout our lives, most people consciously or unconsciously collect particular items that they find interesting or beautiful. Some people collect closets full of shoes and scarves, while others prefer traditional figurines or miniatures. Collections are as diverse as the people who collect them. That’s why it can be hard to separate the physical things from memories of the collector.

In general, there are three things you can do when you inherit a collection.

Keep the Collection: This may be an easy decision. You might be lucky enough to inherit a collection that you enjoy and have plenty of space to display the items that blend perfectly into your existing decor. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case, but you might decide to keep the collection for sentimental reasons. When you don’t have space to displaying a collection you’ll need to get creative. Luckily, you can read about Functional Ways to Display Your Collection on Apartment Therapy. Other times, an old fashioned collection might not fit into your modern loft apartment. Old things can co-exist in modern surroundings, but it helps to section off a collection from the rest of the room. Placing objects on a bookshelf or behind glass will create a visual disconnection from the rest of the room. Also, warm traditional- well-placed -accents can give a unique edge to modern homes. Don’t be afraid to mix!

Sell the Collection: You might inherit a collection to which you have no emotional or aesthetic connection. If the collection is worth a certain amount of money, then it would be prudent to sell as soon as possible after ownership is transferred. Collectible items are often breakable, and do not travel or store well because they require specific environment controls. Value can quickly decrease if the goods are neglected and stuffed in a basements. Getting an independent appraisal of your collection is the first thing you need to do, once you decide to sell. Check out the Apartment Therapy article All You Need To Know About Appraisals . Once you know how much your collectibles are worth in the present market, you can feel confident when you make a deal to sell them to anyone. In addition to the money you will receive in exchange for the collection, you can also rest assured that the collection is now being admired by someone with a better appreciation for the items.

Give the Collection Away:There are several motivations for giving away collectibles. If you have a sentimental connection to the collectibles, but you can’t keep the items in your home, giving them to an organization that represents your moral or ethical values might be the best option. Charities accept donations that can be sold or displayed to raise money for various causes. Donated collections can be enjoyed by many if the collection is displayed by the charity organization. Therefore, the beauty of the collection can be seen by many not just a few. Also, if the collection is sold by the charity, you know the money will used in a philanthropic manner close to your heart or that of the original collector. Not to mention the tax break you can receive!

Lastly, Mr. Rogers’ son said, “My dad told us years ago, when you get to the point where it costs a lot of money, when it becomes demanding to keep things, it’s OK to let them go.”

• Beautiful Ways to Display Collections At Home
• Creative Collection Display Solutions
• 10 How-tos for Organizing and Displaying Collections

Image: Andie Wurster/ Maggie & Ryan’s Quietly Colorful Queen Anne Apartment