Finding New Homes for Old Photos, Post Cards, Letters & Mementos

- - $20 or Less, Family

When people pass away, they leave behind their possessions which include old photos, post cards, letters and mementos. When it’s you who has to sort through it all after a parent, grandparent or siblings dies, it can be overwhelming.

finding-new-homes-old-photos-treasured-memories-thoughtful-gift-ideaMy mother-in-law broke her hip and we had to move her to a memory care nursing center. I am going through her keepsake photos and some of them she has kept for 70+ years.

I’ve done this before with my grandmother’s, mother’s and brother’s things after they passed away. It’s definitely hard and emotional.

I felt if they held on to it for so many years, then it must have been a sweet memory or a special place in their heart. I just couldn’t throw them in the trash!

Forward Photos, Post Cards, Letters & Mementos

Even though it’s a little time consuming, I decided if at all possible, I would forward the items to the people in the photos, those who wrote the letters, or their descendants. For example, I’m mailing a Christmas letter to the children of the parents who sent the letter.

Sharing a piece of the past or a special moment in time, such as handwritten letters of someone’s family members dated from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80ss, & 90s, becomes a special gift.

My mother always tagged her gifts with a sticker of who it was from, the date and occasion. This made it easy to know who to return it to along with her handwritten sticker note intact. I was lucky growing up to know my great aunts, uncles, cousins and their children and family friends. Many of us are Facebook friends!

I included a note to my mother-in-law’s nephew that said, “I found these pics and thought you would enjoy knowing she loved you by keeping them – especially your pic from 7th grade!”

After mailing my mother-in-law’s pictures to her sister’s sons, I was reminded of the reactions of the people who have received similar gifts of treasured mementos from me in the past.

They were so grateful to have a piece of their loved one’s history, and it made me feel good these precious treasures found another home.

Giving this type of thoughtful gift naturally brings about another gift – reconnecting with family and friends! It’s truly worth the time!

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.  – Soren Kierkegaard

There Are 2 Comments On This Article.

  1. I have done this also. Some take some investigating to find but it’s been worth it. I’ve also started making sure names are on photos. I love the idea of stickers with names and dates. My mom had done that on a couple pieces she had kept for a really long time. Thanks for the reminders.

  2. Queen Darlene

    Appreciate your comments and glad to hear there are others finding new homes for old photos.The recipients enjoy them so much. I just heard from a cousin who had never seen a picture of his dad as a young boy. He was thrilled.

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