Find a group who would be interested in your treasures – if a nationality interest, there are groups with people who might want to buy or take your things as their own treasures. If you know of a family who would appreciate them, that is another option. You can donate older items (and items you’ve been charged to carry on. In the family) to a museum either locally or send to the nation of interest, to make sure they don’t just end up in the back of s closet or sold away to a stranger who has no idea of the value or history.
You can look in the family charts for a different family branch to see if anyone would keep the chain going with family heirlooms. I have something that has been passed down for centuries – in the case my child won’t want it to keep passing down (the other down-the-line niece would just sell it to support her family as she has tried to scam my dad for money – so not a good path). I asked a 2nd cousin in the same tree if he could figure who in that tree would keep it going.
An old family friend’s daughter stopped by and saw my glassware – she mentioned her older sister was getting all her parent’s glassware of the same type when they pass. I filed that in my head so if my child doesn’t want any or all of it, this other young woman could have some of it when I pass or downsize – she has an appreciation for it.
It may feel awful to not have your items accepted by your children or not wanting the responsibility to pass down the line. In the same vein, I do not want the leftovers from the in-laws as they are very gawdy and don’t match with anything in my house, so I can sympathize. Everyone has his own tastes and preferences.
It is better to donate historical items to museums (with the stories) than let them just go down to someone who doesn’t care (it might go in the trash or be donated or sold or traded around and lose its significance). Old photos with stories can be donated to museums, as well, if they are in the theme and area of importance that makes them appropriate (like other country photos to a museum in that country or a national group that wants immigrant stories of historical significance). Even social media groups might want uploaded photos and stories in those cultural groups. Realize that new generations have different tastes of décor and such, plus don’t want to store more stuff there isn’t room or use for. What good does an antique tea set do if it sits in an attic in a box for years, totally forgotten? It would be better to pass it on and its story to someone who will treasure it. Just let people who want your things get them because they will be proud to display, use and treasure them. It might not be your child, but someone else can be good enough. Your stories can live on in a museum for many to treasure. PR