Six mums share the unusual heirlooms they want their kids to have.

When my son turned ten, it was time for him to inherit one of my most-valued possessions.

I turned my wedding rings into a ring for him to wear when he’s older, but it wasn’t that. It wasn’t anything worth insuring. Or even something that would be meaningful to anyone else but me – and him.

It was this:

It's a miracle I haven't clumsily dropped this - yet. Source: supplied.

Yes, a small ceramic 'bean' that my mother gave me when I was ten... decades ago. It cost $3.50, from the local newsagent, which I know because the price tag only just wore off.


It says, "Happy birthday to my favourite Human Bean." It's cute and funny, and playful - in a way that my poor mum, who worked 5.5 days a week for all of my childhood, rarely had the time for during the daily routine with five children.

I always thought I'd give it to my own daughter, but you know what life does when you have plans - and luckily enough, I have a son who's coveted it for years. So it was an absolute joy to give to him when he turned ten, and I hope it lasts until he has his own kids.

If we took it to an Antiques Roadshow taping we'd be laughed at, because it's not the typical historic piece they usually see. But it represents the circle of life to us.

I asked my friends, and it turns out I'm not the only mum who has a quirky but priceless item that she wants her kids to remember her by:

The $6 alarm clock.

"It was from the Reject Shop in Darwin in 1997. It is my favourite thing to unpack each time we move." Source: supplied

"I was given a $6 alarm clock by a friend in 1997. It was from the Reject Shop in Darwin. It has been beside me as I sleep almost every night since 1997, through many, many moves. It is my favourite thing to unpack each time we move. It means absolutely nothing to anyone else in my home at this stage. But I am so at one with my little plastic grey clock with the red digital numbers, that I may just make a specific gift of it in my Will. Who I burden with it, I am not yet sure. But at this stage, it is the only heirloom I intend imposing upon my four girls." - Erica

Not the 'family jewels' - but the family tools.

"My dad bought a set of Stanley tools in 1975. Of those tools only one remains. It was a gamble buying them, as mum and dad only had the equivalent of about $300. The tool set landed my dad his first job as a mechanic. Without that it would have been almost certain that my mother would have ended up in a home for unmarried mothers. So probably worth bugger all today but it changed the course of my life." - Sophie


 The second-hand looking-glass.

"It is so special to me knowing that my grandparents too looked in this mirror." Source: supplied.

"I have this mirror that my Nonna and Nonno had in their house. Now it lives in my hallway and I love it. It is so special to me knowing that they too looked in this mirror and that I have too for more than 40 years." - Paula 

Far Out, Brussel Sprout.

These iconic 1980s Aussie books by June Factor are treasured by many parents. Source: supplied.

"We grew up reading these books. I still remember a lot of them by heart. June Factor was an amazing and really fun part of my childhood, and I want her to be for my girls, too. I love reading them and watching how the girls laugh like I used to." - Trupti

Great Grandma's shakers.

"As if grown men are going to give a hoot about that when they leave home, but I want them to show their kids what their childhood was like." Source: supplied.

"I have these salt and pepper shakers that were my Great Grandma's, my Grandma gave them to me to sell at a garage sale but I had to keep them as I loved them as a kid when I would visit her house in the Riverland. As if adult grown men are going to give a hoot about that when they leave home but I want them to show their kids what their childhood was like." - Ella

The last 'heirloom' is my personal favourite. Georgina told me, "My heirloom sits around my waist! Not worth writing about." I think she's underestimated the value of the place her children's little arms have circled countless times.

Why kids are so clueless about money? This Glorious Mess discuss...