I've recently had more and more people tell me that they just need affirmation that it's okay to let go of certain items. Too many of us hold on to items because of the people who gave them to us, rather than because we like and want the items. When faced with the question, "Does it bring you joy?" by Marie Kondo, author of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up", often the answer is "No." If the answer is not a resounding, "Yes!", then it's okay to let go of the item. Allow the joy to have been in the act of giving. How many of us would want someone to hold on to an item we gifted that was not the right fit, or that someone just didn't like? I think we'd rather that person give the item to someone else who will truly use and appreciate the item. Also, how likely is it that the gifter even remembers giving the item?
For family heirlooms and other like items, if they don't bring you joy but you don't feel you can donate them, snap a photo and text or email it out to family members and family friends. Be clear that you're planning to donate the item (but feeling guilty) unless someone claims it. Someone might be grateful for the opportunity to have the heirloom, or everyone may respond to get rid it because no one liked it in the first place. Result: Burden gone and problem resolved.
The next time you find yourself keeping an item because of the person who gave it to you, ask yourself, "Does it bring me joy?" and let the answer decide if you keep it.