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Exclusive articles, interviews, and insights covering downsizing & decluttering, genealogy, photos and other media, aging well, travel, and more. We’re here to help you capture the big little moments and stories to bring meaning and even order to all of life’s collections for generations.
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Stuck in the Middle, With Stuff: The Sandwich Generation

Reading time: 4 minutes

Got stuff coming at you from both ends – kids and parents? Feel like the peanut butter and jelly mushed in the middle of a generation sandwich? 

Well, I do. I’ve got stuff coming at me from my mom and dad80 years of collections and counting—as well as stuff I still can’t shake from 26+ years of parenting. Bottom line, it’s a lot of stuff.  

Until recently, I felt that having lots of stuff required having bigger spaces and storage, lots of storage. The responsibility fell on me to keep it all and be ready to receive more if or when my parents are gone and as my kids move out but are not yet willing to “receive” their stuff. 

Times and circumstances changed quickly for me, however, and my “storage unit” mentality shifted from “more is better” to “why do I have all this stuff, and do I really need it.” I have moved and downsized twice over the past three years, forcing me to take a hard look at what I have, what I need, and what I want to keep for my kids. Thankfully for me, Artifcts came into being just as I was embarking on my first downsize.    

What I See Now When I Look at My Parents’ Stuff 

On my mom’s side of the fence, she has lots of stuff. Some of it is really important—mementos of her early days with my father, pieces of family history she’s carefully curated over generations. She is certainly the family-keeper. Other things are, well, I assume just things. The problem is sometimes I’m wrong.   

Take for instance a brick that was tucked in the back of her hutch. Family heirloom or home improvement project gone awry? Family heirloom! Turns out it is a brick from the church she and my father were married in way back when. HOW was anyone supposed to know? Even she admits that she only told me the story when I had the brick in my hand, ready to put it in the garbage bag. Family history crisis averted. Family history Artifcted. 


Family history, Artifcted!

I’ll give my mom a lot of credit—she’s Artifcted over 200 items, a lot of them we’ve done together, or she’s done with her grandkids. She’s led the way in capturing and sharing our family history through Artifcts. I know she has a lot more to do, and I am hoping to get other family members involved in helping her in the months ahead. 

My older brother retires in a few months, which I think makes him the perfect person to pass the baton to as our family history documenter/Artifcter. As he combs through the generic and obvious stuff, I’ll ask him to put aside anything with a possible story or deeper meaning. The 12-year-old food cans in the cupboard are trash. But what about the vintage kid art (did I make that?), the scraps of cloth in a bin (unfinished baby blanket?), or gold Egyptian hieroglyphic pendant (travel memento?). Those unknowns must have a story behind them. We are lucky that our mom is still with us, and that she is there to tell us the stories as we decide what to the keep, toss, or donate.  

The Kids’ Items Got Some Tough Love, Too 

On the kid’s side, oh – that’s the guilt factor! I have those odd drawings, the report cards, the clay ceramic blobs shaped like an abstract [insert word here]. The kids just look to their futures and walk out of their rooms without even dusting. After months, you go in and look around and find things that you wish you hadn’t found. Then, you realize they’re not coming back to clean it out. Then you realize you’re moving and they’re still not coming back to help.   

For me, I packed up what I thought was important and then started Artifcting the things that I knew were important but would sit in a box FOREVER if I hadn’t Artifcted them. What’s the point of boxing things up if you’re never going to look at them again?   

Yes, the kids may get upset that I didn’t keep their heartthrob concert poster signed by [insert name of a not so famous side-stage performer], but a quick Internet search revealed it would cost more to buy a poster tube than the poster was worth. What to do when faced with such a tough decision? Well, Artifct it and be done with it! If the kids complain, I’ll show them the memory, have them add to the story, and make a real moment out of it. 

The moral of this tale is simple: sandwich life is tough enough without all the stuff weighing you down. Artifct! Artifcting has enabled me to document our family stories, enjoy reliving moments with my family, and most importantly, let go of the stuff that doesn’t matter! Well, at least not all of the stuff. My wife likes to remind me that we still have bins that have not been opened since the last move, but that’s another story and task for another day.  


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Photos + Stories Go Better Together: A Conversation with Cathi Nelson, CEO of The Photo Managers

Reading time: 6 minutes

One of the great things about being in the ‘stuff’ business is that you never know who you’ll meet! Over the past few years, Ellen and I have had the joy of getting to know and working with Cathi Nelson, Founder & CEO of The Photo Managers. We met Cathi by way of Matt Paxton, who told us upfront that she is the end-all, be-all expert on all things photo managing and organizing. Several years and many conversations later we wholeheartedly agree!

In honor of Save Your Photos Month, we thought it would be fitting to highlight one of our many conversations with Cathi, who really is the undisputed expert on all things photo organizing. 

Heather Nickerson: Tell us a bit about yourself! What led you to get into photo managing?

Cathi Nelson: Reflecting on my career, I realize there has always been a common theme: My love of photography and storytelling. Prior to starting The Photo Managers, I spent 17 years teaching people how to create meaningful scrapbook photo albums. I hosted large events where hundreds of women would come and spend the entire weekend working on albums for their families. Walking around the room, I realized this was more than people cutting photos into shapes and adding decorations. This was a way for people to share their legacies, and photos invoke memories and stories. 

By 2009, I noticed a significant shift in the photography landscape. The rise of digital photography meant that fewer people were printing their photos, and this change impacted my business. The turning point came when a customer asked how much I would charge to organize her digital and printed photos. It was at this moment that I realized there was a growing need for assistance, and I started a business called Photos Simplified.

Nickerson: So you started your own, wildly successful business, why not stop there? Why start The Photo Managers? You were obviously very busy with your own work, raising your family, and authoring your book! What prompted you to create a global network of like-minded professionals?

Nelson: The response from clients to my new business concept was overwhelmingly positive. As other scrapbooking professionals and residential organizers started learning about my success, they came to me seeking guidance in starting their own photo-organizing businesses. I realized that to ensure this emerging profession continued I would need to create a code of ethics, certification, and best practices, thus The Photo Managers was born. I chose a membership model, and over the years we’ve grown into a global community of hundreds of professionals dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich tapestry of memories in our digital age. 

Nickerson: And then you did it again with Save Your Photos Month (SYPM)! Tell us a bit about how and why you started SYPM. I think a lot of people take for granted that SYPM is the month of September, except it wasn't until you built it!

Nelson: I launched Save Your Photos Day for the first time in 2014 as a one-day event. The concept grew out of viewing news stories about people being united with lost photos from Hurricane Sandy and the Joplin Missouri tornadoes. I would watch the news and it was so heartwarming to observe how people rose up to help, bringing food, water, clothes, and kindness.

Once the initial shock wears off a new wave of recovery efforts evolves, finding and restoring lost photos. Hundreds of volunteers have helped in these communities, carefully washing and restoring photos. Their efforts pay off when a family that has lost everything is reunited with even one precious photo. Thus, the concept of International Save Your Photos Day began.

The original concept was to save thousands of photos in just one day. Yet we found that one day just wasn't realistic and realized, why not make it a month!  So, in 2016 we rebranded it to Save Your Photos Month and each year we expand the variety of topics, classes, and conversations. Today this is even more important as the news is full of extreme weather disasters that impact family photos and priceless belongings.

Nickerson: Any tips for our Arti Community Members who are feeling overwhelmed by digital and physical photos? They know they want to do something with them, but don't always know where to start or what to do.

Nelson: First you aren’t alone if feeling overwhelmed. Most do, including me! Second, it didn’t take a weekend to create all those photos, so it does take time to sort through and organize them, but it’s worth it! 

Here is a quick summary of our 5 tips for photo organizing.

      1. DEFINE YOUR GOAL, what would success look like?
      2. GATHER EVERYTHING and ACCESS what you’ve got. This can be as simple as “3 hard drives,” “4 iPhones,” and “5 boxes of printed photos.”
      3. SORT and CATEGORIZE—sort the photos into categories that make sense to you. Categories might include location, date range, events, products, or something thematic like “landscapes.” Edit your collection as you go, discarding or deleting duplicates and any blurry or “not so great” images.
      4. If you have any printed photos or slides, now is the time to scan. Decide if you want to do it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.
      5. SHARE . And the options are endless … Artifcts, photo books, websites, slideshows, even the collection itself!

Nickerson: When should you consider hiring a photo manager?

Nelson: When life happens! I just hired a photo organizer myself because my son was getting married, and I wanted to create a video montage of his early years and his fiancé's early years set to music. I just didn’t have the time to scan the photos or sort through hundreds of images. It was so worth it! So, my advice is don’t put this off, hoping someday you’ll have the time.

Nickerson: We've heard our own Arti Community Members say—when they first learn about photo managers —"Ooh, they're like magic photo fairies, how cool." We know they work magic with photo collections large and small, but what are two or three things that make photo managers so special?

Nelson: This is a great question, and I have thought a lot about this over the years. There are two common traits I see in professional photo managers. They are curious about history, stories, and people, otherwise they wouldn’t want to look at someone else's photo collection. Plus, they are usually lifelong learners, because technology keeps changing and to be successful you have to keep up.

Nickerson: Do you have any particular project that you especially liked working on over the years? Something our members may be able to relate to?

Nelson: I really like working on themes and using photos to tell stories. A few years ago, I created a mini photo album as a gift to the important people in my life. I added a few photos, the story of how we met and what I appreciated most about each person. I then sent it to each of them as an invitation to a party to celebrate my milestone birthday and the gift of friendship.

Nickerson: What's next for you and The Photo Managers?

Nelson: The need for professional photo managers is only increasing and I recently formed an Advisory Board of members to help us envision the next 10 years. When I started this over 15 years ago, I never dreamed that I would build something that would live long beyond me. I feel a great sense of responsibility to ensure that this profession continues to thrive for the members and the customers we serve.

Nickerson: Last but not least, you know all about Artifcts. How do you think Artifcts could help photo managers with their work?

Nelson: I love Artifcts because early on I realized that photos are just one piece of the puzzle. People also keep letters, children's artwork, babies' first shoes, medals, and other objects. Having the ability to share those items and stories for future generations fits perfectly into what I intuitively observed all those years ago. We are a people of stories, and we tell our stories and what we care about through photos and keepsake items.


You can learn more about The Photo Managers and even where to find a Photo Manager to help you based on where you live by going directly to the official website.

© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Three Tips for Elevating Your At-Home Artifcts Photography

This week, as Save the Photos Month continues, we asked interiors and brand photographer Linda Pordon to share three tips to help elevate your at-home Artifcts photography.

Linda is a recognized interiors and brand photographer based out of the New York/New Jersey area. Her work has been published in outlets including Better Homes and Gardens, Domino, Elle Decor, and the NY Times. Additionally, Linda is the owner and founder of Proppe Shoppe, a collection of curated vintage and one-of-a-kind decorative objects and furnishings for the home. (Maybe you'll nod with understanding when you see some of these one-of-a-kind finds didn't even make it to the store front but are instead futured in Linda's public Artifcts collection!)

Through her photography, Linda aims to convey the feel and depth of the pieces and spaces she photographs but, more importantly, she aims to create emotional connections to these subjects through her lens.

Hear from Linda directly for a few easy tips you can try at home to elevate the photography of your cherished objects without any fancy equipment (or frustration!). 


Let's start off by going against what you may think ... the "best light" does not necessarily mean find the brightest light possible (or upping your exposure on your phone editing mode) to make it all "light and bright."  I have photographed and sold $800 sculptures that look like they were taken inside a dark closet. But oh they were sexy. The shadows made you feel something when you looked at it. Sometimes, less is more. So a few tips for lighting:

It may seem counterintuitive but TURN YOUR LIGHTS OFF. Use natural and only natural light if you can.

      • Bring objects outside. The perfect weather to photograph items is an overcast, cloudy day.  It gives even but bright-enough light.  If it’s sunny out, find a spot in the shade to place your object.  When outdoors, you want to make sure your light is even and not too bright.  Watch out for dark shadows that will overpower your images and distract.
      • When photographing inside, just open your shades and set up near a window ... just not directly in the sun.  If your brightest room is too bright, use a bedsheet to hang or tape over the window to diffuse the light a bit. Get creative!
      • If you can't move your object, make sure you try to minimize the artificial lighting that is needed or opt to bring lights closer vs have the orange glare and reflection of overhead lights.

Play with (gasp) shadows.  

I said it. Use objects near or in front of your light to create shadows. A window pane. Hold a stem of flowers in front of the light. A raffia hat. You get the point. This is so easy to do and creates such high drama and can be done with things you have around the house. Your images will be looking "editorial" in no time.

White wood interior home staircase down to open foyer with pale oak flooring

I was photographing my Artifcts on a very rainy and dark day, so I used the space in our home that has the most windows and late afternoon light - our foyer.
© 2023 Linda Pordon. All Rights Reserved.



If you're photographing several objects or an ongoing collection, try to make sure your color story and mood are consistent.

Do you want all bright pops of color behind your objects? Simple white? Dark and moody? The world is your oyster. My absolute favorite backgrounds are Replica Surfaces Boards (not sponsored but they should be!) which are lightweight and completely wipeable. The marble truly looks like marble and I have photographed it in every lighting possible. I wouldn't lie to you.  

If you don't want to invest in purchasing backgrounds, you can grab cheap poster board and keep it white or paint it any color or texture you feel like. Or hang a sheet against a wall and drape it down onto the floor. You would be shocked at how many brands are keeping their backgrounds pretty organic and homemade these days, but the images still look stunning and professional. 

Bright open foyer with small table and ti-fold white paper board

Here I just added a table for height (even any stool with a fabric over it would do) and then a rather cheap white tri-fold poster board to cover the trim work detail on the back wall.
© 2023 Linda Pordon. All Rights Reserved.



The biggest advice I would give you is take your time. Really think about your shot. Take your time holding your camera (even if it's your iPhone).  Look around at the light. When my kids photograph with me for fun, I always have them walk around and take pictures with their hands to really see things before they get distracted with clicking the shutter. Think before you get snap happy!

A few concrete things to focus on:

Composition: This is a really big part of photography and a hard thing to break down succinctly, but try to be mindful of the following:

      • Leave negative space. It lets the eye breathe and actually makes your object more of a focal point.
      • Group smaller objects closer together to give them more "weight" on camera (groups of 3 are generally pleasing to the eye).
      • Vary up your angles. Make sure you get at least one head-on shot. Stand on a stool and take some overhead.
      • Watch your sight lines. Make sure key details aren't blocked. Try to see what your eye is drawn to and how it moves across an image.  

GIF carousel of photos of the same object from different angles

All taken by an iPhone 11 Pro Max (yes, I'm waiting for the new phone); edited on Lightroom mobile.
© 2023 Linda Pordon. All Rights Reserved.

Gridlines: My #1 tactical PLEASE PLEASE do this is get your picture straight.

If you are taking pictures crooked, panned up or down and not taking a minute to get as straight as possible, your images are always going to look more amateur. I can forgive almost any sin above the crooked image. An iPhone trick here is to turn your gridlines on (Settings -> Camera -> Grid set to green), and voila! The Lightroom app (available on iOS and Android) also has a great feature to auto correct gridlines (Geometry -> Upright click this toggle -> keep to "Auto," generally).

Editing: If you looked at a professional photographer's images, they should look pretty good SOOC (straight out of camera), but we would all be lying if we said post-production editing isn't a large part of the creative process.

There are some horrible filters out there, but there are also some good free and cheap phone apps you can use for your camera phone photos.  Lightroom is my favorite for photo editing. I also love Color Story. Your iPhone's built-in camera editing tools aren't all that shabby either. Try to keep your highlights down, your shadows up, and play with the contrast and warmth as much as you want. If you find settings you love using, try to consistently apply them to your images.  

iPhone vs DLSR - Which final photo would you choose?

Taken by iPhone 11 Pro Max; edited on Lightroom mobile  Taken by Nikon Z6 mirrorless DSLR; edited on Lightroom desktop

(LEFT) Taken by iPhone 11 Pro Max; edited on Lightroom mobile.
(RIGHT) Taken by Nikon Z6 mirrorless DSLR; edited on Lightroom desktop.
© 2023 Linda Pordon. All Rights Reserved.


Last, but not least, have fun with it.

Photography is such a beautiful way to tell a story about something or someone you love. My favorite photos are the ones where I wasn't overthinking, I wasn't hyper focused on the technical pieces, and I was just inspired by what I was shooting. Enjoy the gift of translating things you love for others to see and enjoy.  

Original Clay Sculpture, Earth, Linda Pordon

Pop over to Linda Pordon's public Artifcts collection to view the "finished" Artifct from her rain-filled day of Artifcts photography. A bonus Artifct is there awaiting you with an oh-so-sweet story.

Share with us Artifcts you've created putting some of Linda's tips to the test at Or share directly with Artifcts on Facebook or @TheArtiLife on Instagram - we love videos too! 

Happy Artifcting!



Linda Pordon is a an interior and commercial brand photographer based out of Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey. She has a B.S. in Finance and started her career in forensic investigations at PricewaterhouseCoopers before pivoting to marketing as an executive at American Express in the premium product space for 15 years. Linda draws on her 20-year tenure in corporate marketing and strategy to enable her to better translate the visions and stories of businesses in her photography work. When she's not behind the lens, Linda has her hands full with her favorite ever-moving subjects, her three young sons, 5, 7, & 9 years old.

© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Make a To-Do List That’s More Than a Task Manager

Reading time: 1 minute

"Key to efficiency," that’s what people claim about to-do lists. Well, even those of us who love a good to-do list to track and tick off our accomplishments sometimes begrudge those same lists.

To-do lists are never ending. We can’t always control what goes into them. And we often ignore the lists that might help to rejuvenate us and prioritize life instead those lists that push us into getting done those tasks that “must” get done and on deadline.

We created inspiration checklists at Artifcts last year in part because we knew sometimes adopting a new habit—like Artifcting—needs a jumpstart mixed with accountability. The other part was that the Arti Community shares with us so many brilliant ideas for how and why and what they Artifct that we wanted to pull together everything and share it right back with all of you. Now you can simply have fun without the stress you may feel with “What next?” or “What now?” with a whole home full of options.

We started by publishing a series of 12 checklists on Can you guess which of those original checklists has been the most popular to date? The list to rule them all: declutter! Stuff really can overwhelm us.

Recently we previewed two new checklists, graduates and sports, in our social media channels, both of which are now available online. And finally this week we released two more to enjoy over the weekend. Their themes? All things photos and culinary connections.

Pause and create a free Artifct


On top of all that, we have still another surprise coming this winter to make these checklists more personal and interactive to help you stay motivated, have fun, and learn new things about each other with every Artifct you create and (maybe) share. 

Have ideas for items we’ve missed on a checklist? Wishing for a specific theme in our future checklists? We’d love to hear from you at

Happy Artifcting!


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Genealogy for the New, the Frustrated, and the Reluctant: Our Conversation with a Professional

Reading time: 7 minutes 

We see you! You’re curious about something in your family history but are no genealogy pro. You are strapped for time and fear the complexities and cost involved in getting started and doing the research right.

The good news is that you do not need to become a genealogist to benefit from the voluminous records available online and via traditional hardcopy archives of old. We always encourage you to start “old school” with what you may have at home. Check out our Genealogy Gems checklist.

Notebook paper with list of genealogy research items in your home

In today’s conversation, you’ll learn about how professional genealogists can support your efforts to gain new information no matter if you are a highly experienced researcher or an amateur family historian who loves a good story. Who doesn’t after all? Myths, legends, campfire tales are all about good stories. Even better when they stories are your family’s stories!

Genealogy Research with the Pros

Sheri Bennett, a professional genealogist and project manager with Legacy Tree Genealogists, knows a thing or two about genealogy. A practicing professional for nearly two decades with a degree from Brigham Young University (BYU) and first-hand research experience in Mexico and Chile, she’s seen a lot. Enjoy our chat with Sheri as we explore what professional genealogists bring to the table to resolve your family history puzzles and curiosities. 

Ellen Goodwin: It’s not every day I get to chat with a professional genealogist. I’m hardly even a hobbyist. More an admirer! And you have a deep professional background and interesting specialties, too.

Sheri Bennett: Well, you’re in good company with Legacy Tree Genealogists, because we work with all types of people interested in genealogy. But, yes, you gave my technical background, and that’s been bolstered by my own family research while I was at BYU and over the course of my career. My dad was from Tennessee and my husband the south as well, so between researching their ancestry and my own time in Chile and Mexico, I have developed specialties in the US South and Midwest as well as supporting Spanish-language research.

Goodwin: In your experience, is there a common theme as to why clients hire professional genealogists?

Bennett: The specifics vary but, in general, they simply want to know – what are our stories, who were my people, where did they live and work, why did they move? They want concrete answers.

Sometimes to get these answers you need help that stretches beyond a passive hobby, because as we all know, not all information is created equal. I was shocked when a professor once told me that all those many many many family trees out there are only ~40% accurate! People think they are related to people they are not related to if they accept others’ trees.

Goodwin: That sounds … messy. Does that mean you spend a lot of time correcting trees?

Bennett: A lot of time, no, not necessarily, but it is a very common request from clients. We use two documents per relationship to validate and/or correct a relationship. One document is never enough. Someone else’s tree is never enough.

Goodwin: I think that’s a major draw for people like myself: In seeking these answers, you offer reassurance. Your work meets standards that mean your clients have concrete answers and can avoid passing down inaccurate information.

Bennett: As professional genealogists, the genealogical proof standards from the Board for Certification of Genealogists are the cornerstone of our work and our core values at Legacy Tree Genealogists, too: Care – Cooperation – Accuracy – Respect – Efficiency.

We have an obligation to undertake “reasonable exhaustive research.” The key word being exhaustive. What record could contain the needed information? Tax records, probate, … may all be relevant. And what archive, where, would hold that document?

Goodwin: I love how excited and passionate you get about this work as we’re chatting. Even a document is not just a document to you. For so many, it’s hard to breathe life or context into a piece of paper.

Bennett: Documents are so exciting. It’s a connection! They aren’t just paper – if you know how to interpret them, they can tell a story. Where they were born, to whom, was dad not even listed and was that normal for the time? If you’re lucky, like in some Latin countries, even grandparents are listed in a birth certificate, and you get three generations in one document!

Audio icon on beige background labeled "Listen in!"

Stories are there, hidden in those documents.

Goodwin: I’m excited just imagining what all that information you research could mean for today’s descendants. I can picture it: here's the city so-and-so was born and raised in, and the church where she was married—see their signatures on the marriage license—and the location where the bakery she and her family operated once stood, and so on.

Bennett: Yes, seeing it all in black and white, it’s amazing. And to your point of envisioning it, we even map those locations out for clients. You could use it to plan a family heritage trip! It’s another way we can bring the research to life for our clients – real people, real places, real relations and roots of yours.

Goodwin: Your specialties, local knowledge, and archival access across your global team must be an incredible asset to your clients. I know that in my mother’s family, the paternal line was the subject of a self-published book in 1992, but the author mentions at the outset all sorts of gaps where no matter how many letters she wrote to archives in England, Germany, and elsewhere, she never found certain records.

Bennett: Absolutely. We have researchers who specialize in different areas across the world. Often when hobbyists or amateur genealogists hit brick walls like your family member did, it’s because they are working online and cannot access the old churches, tax offices, and other archives where original records are kept.

Goodwin: Thinking about those original records, validating places of birth and marriage, for example, are more black and white sorts of records searches. Surely people also come to you with information more akin to family lore that they want you to explore?

Bennett: Ha, yes. And I’m sure you read a lot of family lore at Artifcts, too. Curiosity certainly motivates people. They want to know if the family legends are true. Do we have a Cherokee princess in the family line? Are we really related to Jessie James? Did my ancestors come over on the Mayflower? They are curious, but they don’t have time to unearth this information themselves.

They want to know, are the legends true?

Goodwin: In seeking these answers, you deliver insights and the proof we spoke about earlier. Clients receive a written report, along with a fan chart, copies of the original documents, and even a data file that they can upload to genealogy software to update their tree. Did I miss anything?

Bennett: All of our findings are delivered in a binder and a password protected website, too. And, keep in mind, it's all the research findings along the way, too.

One of our clients in Cuba was trying to trace his family’s origins back to Spain. But it wasn’t as simple as going one or two generations back. Ten generations back and at last we landed his family in Spain. All of our research discoveries along the way, even the dead ends, were valuable and validating.

Nil results are still progress!

Goodwin: What’s one detail about family history and genealogy research that people might easily overlook?

Bennett: The photos. Often clients want us to find photos of their ancestors, and here there’s an important “yes, but” to consider.

Audio icon on beige background

Was your ancestor in the newspaper? That would help.

Goodwin: I know exactly what you mean about the feeling of connection when you discover new details and context. I Artifcted a family brooch after a lengthy episode of chasing family history and had I known more about it earlier, I would have worn it on my wedding day.

If I were a client of yours, could I share that Artifct with you to support your research? 

Bennett: Yes! We prefer clients to share files with us digitally, if possible, so we can easily access and review them and avoid duplicating any progress they may have already made in their family research.

We certainly do not want you to send us a brooch or original photo or document. If those resources are Artifcted, all the better! We can weave Artifcts into the biography along with the photos and documents within each Artifct, too.

<<End Interview>>

There’s that age old saying, working smarter not harder. And sometimes, yes, that means calling in a professional genealogist for a course correction, powering through a brick wall, or inspiring your search down paths you’ve never even caught a glimpse of. We love that your Artifcts can capture and boost those genealogy discoveries and sharing and hope you’ll have a lot of fun as you continue your family history research!

Happy Artifcting!


You may also enjoy these additional ARTIcles by Artifcts:

Did You Know Great Grandpa was an Inventor?

Grandma's Secret, Not-So-Secret, Coin Collection

She's the Last of Her Generation


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Interrogation Techniques for Photos: What is This Old Photo? 

Reading time: 4 minutes

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it 1,000 times – photos really aren’t worth 1,000 words. Yes, you can animate them. You can even use AI to simulate a loved one’s voice. And yet … it’s entirely possible that one generation removed, the story is lost. And two generations removed, no one remembers with certainty who that is in the photo.

You’ve saved all these photos only to, what, make new research projects for future genealogists? 

We’ve written before about the need to rescue photos. We’ve offered tips, too. We are not advocates for projects for projects sake. For the best, most loved, and truly tantalizing photos in your collection, test out these interrogation techniques on your photos, and those you may inherit. You may just discover new personal or even world history in the process! 

Interrogation Techniques for Photos: Let’s Get Beyond the Five Ws

Psst… the same applies to postcards! Here’s an oldie but a goodie in the Artifcts collection.

Interrogation is about reading your subject. In this case, the subject is a photo and the clues it can offer about its past to share stories with friends and loved ones. 


This is as close as you get to the 5 Ws but starting with “what’s true” can be simpler. “What’s true” even leads off our tip lightbulb on each Artifct you create in the “Description,” thanks to writer Jeff Greenwald.

    • Who is in the photo? 
    • When was it taken? 
    • Where? 
    • Who took the photo (if not you), and how did it come into your possession? Did it come down through your mother’s or father’s family? 
    • Is there any information written on it (if it’s a print) or in a caption or the metadata (if it’s digital)? 
    • What type of photo is it (E.g., black and white, colorized, CDV, real photo postcard)?  
    • What are the original dimensions of the photo? 
    • If printed, is it matte, glossy, added borders, or other adornments? 

Word of caution! If your photo, like this example, was pasted into a scrapbook or similar, and you suspect information is hidden on the back, start first by digitizing it. Then most of us should ask a professional archivist for help. If you are more daring, or less concerned if you damage the photo further, you can certainly purchase tools and learn online about approaches to help uncover the information, like applying hot air with a hairdryer. 


Learn more about old photos you may have inherited from your family with our guest Lisa Lisson, genealogy researcher and techie behind Are You My Cousin? Genealogy. 

5 Unique Types of Vintage Photographs | Beyond Black and White with Lisa Lisson.



      • What is the photo of? 
              • E.g., nature, a party, a portrait, a group of people, a cool building 
      • What is happening in the photo? 
              • E.g., blowing out candles, dancing, a ceremony, just smiling, nothing – simple still-life  
      • Is it staged or casual? 
              • This might also inform why it was taken. Do you know? A formal posed photo of an individual or family is very different than a candid moment, in motion or unaware. If it is staged, could it even be part of professional portfolio of work?


      • Do you see: Shadowing, twilight, a moody setting? Or is this bright and sunshiny fun? Somber faces? Joyous expressions?
      • And closely related, how does the photo make YOU feel? The artistry could invoke feelings or your attachment to the people or places in the photo. 


      • Anything surprising in the photo, like a logo, a signature, or an object? Check the background and all around! 
      • Maybe who’s together in the photo is even odd, what they are wearing, type of hairstyles, or perhaps where it was taken.


      • As in why save this photo? What does it mean to you? What did it mean to the person who gave it to you? Why is it special?  
      • And what do you want others to know about it? 
      • Is this photo best paired with another photo, an object, a document, or even a video, to fully tell its story?  



Looking for Assistance? There’s Tech that Can Help! 

When context clues and family are not enough to help, you may opt for some technical reinforcement. For our co-founder Ellen’s mysterious family members on bikes, there are a few tools she’s curious to test. Maybe these tools will help you, too! Let us know at what you discover.

Many tools include facial recognition these days and automatic tagging, likely including the built-in technology that came with your phone as well as popular cloud storage sites, like Google. Review the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions before you get started so you know the ins and outs of the data you’ll begin to share and collect for your privacy and the privacy of others who are featured in your photos. 

Related Faces' patented technology uses the US Library of Congress database as its testing input along with known persons others and you add to identify people in photos. Related Faces offers a free 14-day trial membership.

New arrival PhotoDater™, from MyHeritage, according to the in-person announcement from the company’s CEO at RootsTech 2023. Listen in around minute 38. The system uses everything from the furniture, hairstyles, and textiles to approximate the date a photo was taken. That can be a real help in narrowing where to look in a family tree for the likely people and places in a photo! Like Related Faces, MyHeritage offers a free 14-day trial membership.  

Happy Artifcting!


You may also enjoy these additional ARTIcles by Artifcts:

Could You and Should You Part With a Family Photo?

What Should You Do With Old Scrapbooks?

A Virtual Impossibility: Keeping Up With All My Digital Photos


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Latest Features and Improvements | Aug. 2023

As Artifcts wrapped up year two—Happy Birthday, Artifcts!—we squeaked in a few feature upgrades in response to more than two dozen Artifcts concierge sessions this summer and many times that in email exchanges, workshops, and other in-person events with members of the Arti Community. In turns out, folks were feeling the need to be a bit more precise with both what they were reading about here on Artifcts and what details they captured in their own Artifcts.

With these product upgrades over to you to put to good use, we've now set the stage perfectly as we step into year three of Artifcts with some major new product features and services coming your way this fall. More on that soon! For now, enjoy these feature upgrades!


Love typewriters? Fancy a trip to Portugal? Enjoy genealogy? Want to know when a new Artifct is shared that speaks to subjects you love? Now you can with keyword alerts!

As always, you’re in control of whether you receive these alerts by email (and how often) and/or as pop-up notifications on the app and desktop versions of Artifcts.

Custom alerts setup in Artifcts

Create personalized alerts >



Please do not say you’re still writing on the backs of pictures?! We get it. Sometimes you simply only have time to mention who is who, the name of a building or site, or other key details and writing on the back is better than nothing at all! We can help you!

Now at Artifcts, take less tahn a minute to Artifct that pic and tell not the story behind that photo, but feel free to add captions to photos you Artifct, too. And don't worry, if you ever download those photos to Excel or PDF, the captions will be there, too!

Typewriter Artifct with caption describing

Edit one of your Artifcts to include captions >



Sometimes you know-ish, how much something is worth.  

And other times you have the receipt or appraisal (and you even added those to your Artifct's “Documentation” section), and you’d like to include the specific value in your Artifct for insurance, estate planning, tax or other purposes. We hear you! Now you can include the precise value in your Artifct, too! 

How Much is It Worth field on Artifcts form

Edit one of your Artifcts to record its financial value >

If you need a helping hand or a refresher, remember to check our FAQs and our Tips Videos on YouTube. And if you have feedback or ideas to share, please write to us at

Cursive text XOXO The Artifcts Team


Helpful resources as you get started and continue enjoying Artifcting:

Past Product Updates

Quick Start Guide

Inspiration Checklists


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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#HabitChange: The Back To School Edition

Reading time: 2 minutes

Earlier this year, we dove into #HabitChange and sought to highlight the tips and tricks to help you make Artifcting a daily, weekly, or even seasonal habit. We received a lot of positive feedback from that first ARTIcles story, and an equal number of requests for a part two (or three or four!) as we look at specific habits, and specific things that may prompt us to take a moment and create a new Artifct. 

So, without further ado, we bring you #HabitChange, the back-to-school edition.  

Artifcting for a Smoother Transition Back to School + a More Memorable Year

Even if you don’t have kids or grandkids going back to school this year, we think the following tips, tricks, and observations can help anyone that is starting a new routine this fall.  

#1 Artifct Where You’re At 

Our first tip for capturing all those school-based memories and creating #HabitChange is "Artifct where you’re at." While some survival tactics mean pre-planning—pack the bag and pick the clothes the night before, enjoy a healthy breakfast to avoid a low energy and brain power day—when it comes to Artifcting, get in the moment! Artifct on the spot. When the emotion, details, and oh-so-precious memories are fresh and not forgotten.  

  • If you have young kids at home, and they are prone to talking your ear off at a rapid pace, Artifct with them as they come through the front door. Take five minutes to snap a photo, upload to the app, and ask them to tell you the story behind their latest and greatest art project.  
  • Pre-teens and teens? Artifct post-game, post-concert, post-event, you name it! Just scored a winning goal? Great, add the photo, video, and details to an Artifct. Ask them to share their favorite moment of the game, and voila! You now have a multi-media Artifct that captures THAT moment in time. (Or THAT science fair trophy.) 

And we’ll save you a headache with a bonus tip: If dealing with physical objects, take that moment to divide into “keep” and “discard” piles, so you also avoid a rapid accumulation of school-based clutter. 


# 2 Sharing is Caring! 

Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to Artifcts. People often report that following through on new habits is easier when there is external, positive re-enforcement. We’ve found this to be no different with Artifcts.  

  • Did you know you can create a private Sharing List on for hassle-free sharing? Simply select the list from the drop-down menu when you click to share and you’re good to go. Our co-founder Heather created a private sharing list titled “Team Hazel” for all the people who love seeing what her daughter is creating at school. It has saved her from typing in dozens of emails or finding screen names over and over. Instead, she selects the list and hits ‘Send.’ Her daughter loves getting the follow-on calls and texts from family and friends after they’ve viewed the Artifct. So much better than a simple thumbs up. 

# 3 Know Your Purpose 

If you want positive reinforcement, start with a clear purpose. Is it about reducing daily clutter? Do you feel like school years past were a blur and you want to find a fast and easy way to ensure you capture more of the memories along the way? Is it about sharing more with loved ones near and far? We think Artifcting is a 2 for 1; accomplish the goal for YOU and easily share with loved ones. 

Regardless of how and where you Artifct, we hope these #HabitChange tips will help you preserve and share the back-to-school memories with loved ones near and far. Got a tip that works especially well for you and your family? We’d love to know! Email us at and we’ll include your tip in our next #HabitChange story here on ARTIcles by Artifcts.  


You may also enjoy these additional ARTIcles by Artifcts:

How to Artifct Childhood Mementos

Keepsake Boxes, Remembrance Boxes, Memento Boxes

Pint-Sized Perspective on Moving and Decluttering


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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How Two Sisters Overcame the Guilt to Lighten the Load of Family Heirlooms

Reading time: 6 minutes

Up until a few years ago, Rachel Donnelly, founder and CEO of AfterLight, and her family owned their old family home that had been in their family since 1890. Imagine the history those walls could tell! This home, in Eastern Tennessee, was where Rachel’s great-grandparents lived, where her grandmother was born, and where her mother was raised.  
After Rachel’s mother died, the family made the difficult decision to sell this beloved turn-of-the-century Victorian home that was in Rachel’s words “slap full of absolutely everything from our family's life. China, silverware, crystal, knickknacks, handwritten letters, newspaper clippings, coin collections, and of course, countless pieces of big brown furniture. You name it, it was in this house.”  
Buckle up, ladies and gents, we're going on a guilt trip. 
Rachel and her sister grew up with the expectation that the items filling this family home would one day fill their own homes, including the big brown furniture. Their mother made them swear they'd never get rid of these items that, in her mind, were priceless and irreplaceable. So, for years, Rachel and her sister were on a never-ending guilt trip.  
Fast forward, and the sisters’ homes have indeed become orphanages for the big brown furniture and knickknacks that their mother passed down. But guess what? Guilt be darned - the sisters are fed up! The time has come for them to unload the stuff of generations past to homes where families will cherish the pieces of their mother’s estate that simply do not fit with their own lifestyles. 

The sisters’ homes have become orphanages for the big brown furniture and knickknacks that their mother passed down.

We can all do better for the next generation.
What if we skip the proverbial guilt trip we create by unloading our stuff on our family, intentionally or not, and instead make a plan that will allow everyone to enjoy a trip down memory lane instead? At AfterLight, Rachel guides her clients down these planning paths every day. In honor of Make-A-Will Month this August, read on to learn some ins and outs that may help you on your way.   
Ellen Goodwin: I imagine that based on that fun introduction to our conversation, people can easily picture you and your family in good ol’ southern U.S.A. And that’s really important context for our readers. Our family relationships as well as the types of ‘stuff’ we tend to collect and pass down as family heirlooms often differs by region. 
Rachel Donnelly: Even though dealing with it was quite burdensome, I feel so fortunate to have had this family home as part of my childhood. This home was beloved by generations of my family and was full of so much history. The town in which the home was located was referred to as the "Utopia of Temperance," as it was a planned community where alcohol (aka the Devil's Drink) was strictly prohibited and any trace of liquor would lead to the property's confiscation by the city. Well, if walls could speak, they'd have tales to tell! I've always cherished the stories behind the various items in the house and what they symbolized in our heritage. My grandmother was an incredible cook and one of my prized possessions is her index box of recipes.  
Goodwin: What is universal in life is loss. And you are at the very forefront of helping people in modern times get through the planning and after-loss realities. It’s complex! Please help our readers understand the “why” and “what” of AfterLight. 
Donnelly: I like to say I received an immersive MDA (Master of Death Administration). After my own experiences with loss, including the death of my parents, and serving as the primary caregiver for and eventual executor of my uncle’s estate, I struggled to manage all the unavoidable administrative tasks that accompany aging, end-of-life, and after loss.  
It can take over 500 hours of effort and 100+ tasks for an executor to settle an estate. And executors are expected to complete these tasks, which are for the most part ones they have never done before, all while trying to grieve, work, take care of their family and/or prioritize their mental health. 
I searched for help with the tasks, paperwork and logistics in the weeks and months after my losses but struggled with where to turn. I experienced this struggle personally and noticed that there was a gap in the market of businesses meeting this need. 
They say that need is the mother of invention, … At AfterLight, our goal is to provide overwhelmed executors with practical, personalized support. We’re on a mission to help the living deal with dying, fostering lighter hearts and lighter loads. AfterLight assists clients in managing the unavoidable administrative tasks associated with after loss and legacy planning. Whether you’re facing an unexpected loss or want to prepare your legacy so your family can grieve in peace and settle your affairs with ease, AfterLight is the answer to your overwhelm. 

After my own experiences with loss, [...] I struggled to manage all the unavoidable administrative tasks that accompany aging, end-of-life, and after loss.

Goodwin: An interesting parallel between your work at AfterLight and the act of Artifcting is that both are about human behavior and habits. If we want better outcomes, we have to take steps proactively to do something about it, whatever the “it” is. What do you find are the one or two most challenging steps for people to take in terms of planning and preparedness? 
Donnelly: In my opinion, the primary challenge is our discomfort with the fact that we know how this ends – i.e., that we’re all going to die someday. Therefore, many people avoid thinking about it or taking action, as though doing so might somehow become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 
The second challenge is that organizing one's affairs can be overwhelmingly complex, because people don’t really understand how it works and therefore, it's easy to be unaware of all of the steps they need to take to not leave a flaming dumpster fire for their family. Along the same vein, legacy planning is often filled with misconceptions. I've come across various attitudes, from "My kids are smart, they'll figure it out," to "My estate isn't significant enough to warrant planning," or even "I'll be dead and won't care."

I've come across various attitudes, from "My kids are smart, they'll figure it out," to "My estate isn't significant enough to warrant planning," or even "I'll be dead and won't care."

Goodwin: So, it is Make-a-Will month. Obviously, some people don’t even have wills (yet), while others simply need to update their wills. But there are also those of us who have wills that check the box only. Wills can and should do more to help people through grief by very intentionally addressing legacy, memories, and even anticipated points of … ahem, contention … among family members and other heirs. In your view, how can folks take a good, better, best approach to life preparedness this month? 
Donnelly: I believe that approaching life preparedness with intentionality and strategy, rather than simply treating it as a checklist of documents, leads to a more comprehensive and meaningful end-result. 
When working with our clients one-on-one, we take on the roles of accountability partner, coach, and organizer. Our aim is to help our clients to explore critical questions they may not have considered, procrastinated on, or underestimated the importance of. Some of these important questions include:

    • If you do have estate planning documents (such as a will, trust, financial power of attorney, and advance directives for healthcare), does your family know how to access them? Where are these documents located?
    • Have you shared the unlock codes for your phone and computer with a trusted contact?
    • Are your beneficiaries correctly designated and up to date?
    • Do your loved ones know your funeral wishes?
    • Have you communicated with your family about who will inherit specific items of personal property and when? (Hello! Get going on Artifcts!)
    • There’s no better solution to convey what everything is, what it means to you and your family, and WHY you are gifting it to the person you’ve chosen.)
    • Does your family have a clear understanding of your debts and assets, including a comprehensive list?

@rbdonne is a "family keeper" for family heirlooms big and small.

Vintage oak icebox by stairwell in modern home

A vintage oak icebox and cricket cage, each brought forward through generations. Click an image to view on Artifcts.

An antique cricket cage

By addressing these questions and actively engaging in the planning process, we can each achieve a more well-rounded and thoughtful approach to securing our legacies and ensuring our loved ones are better prepared for the future. And who knows, you might even have some fun in the process, especially if you share as you go via Artifcts.


You may also enjoy these additional ARTIcles by Artifcts:

Gift Your Loved Ones a "Why"

What Have You Done for Your Legacy Lately?

Storytellers, Beware!


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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The Value of Cherished Objects in Our Life Stories

Reading time: 4 minutes  

Objects are important to us for a reason. While it can be that they have monetary value or are particularly beautiful, their real value comes from the meanings we attach to them.  

People’s life stories are intertwined with objects; they tell us about that person, and they hold memories and emotions in their own right. That is why we pass them down through the generations as family heirlooms, and it is why we cherish and take care of them.  

This is part of the reason why LifeTime Memoirs does what it does. The team at LifeTime Memoirs believes that there is no greater gift that you can give to the future generations of your family than your life story, shared in the form of a private autobiography that combines memory and heirloom.  

LifeTime Memoirs helps people to unlock their thoughts and memories, something that is deeply significant to the company’s founders, Roy Moëd and Yvette Conn. 

Roy’s inspiration for founding LifeTime Memoirs was very personal. It all started when Roy realized that he was not listening properly whenever his father, Jules, told stories. Like many of us, he thought that he had heard them all before, but he was so wrong! Roy decided that he wanted to capture those stories for his family and future generations and for Jules to have a wonderful project to focus on. The excitement and joy that Jules felt in reliving the stories of his life was palpable, and he revelled in remembering stories that he didn’t even know he had forgotten.  

More than 10 years on, what began with Roy’s father is now making a difference to so many people around the world. 

Suitably aligning with Roy’s passion and dedication to the art of memoir writing, one of the treasured items that he has Artifcted, and that he would feature in his own life story, is a poem. Roy writes, “In 1969, as a 16-year-old schoolboy writing an English literature exam in London, I scribbled four simple lines on the back of the exercise book that I used for my poetry.  

Poem handwritten on sheet of paper


I can’t now remember why or where these lines came from, although a lot of the poetry I wrote at the time was relatively introspective. I rediscovered it later in life, when my interest in my old poetry was reawakened, and a friend engraved it on a carving of a wooden sculpture of a book. I also started to use it on cards that I would send to people. I honestly didn’t think I’d written it, so I Googled everything I could but realized that it was original. It obviously has a lot of meaning to me. 

Considering that over 50 years on, my business is in memoir writing and especially legacy, this short poem is now very poignant.” 

One of Yvette’s Artifcts is also a book, though it is somewhat different to Roy’s book.  

Old book belonging to Yvette Conn Artifcts


“It was presented to my mother in the 1960s,” Yvette writes. “It was given to her by her grandmother as a wedding present. It is absolutely extraordinary, giving huge insight into Victorian England and life at that time.”

If you happened to page through one of our authors’ books, the chances are that you wouldn’t just find photos of marriages, births, parties, and the like but other equally interesting forms of imagery, too. At LifeTime Memoirs, and particularly within the company’s bespoke Opus department, the team stretches the boundaries of what autobiographies can look like to create something truly special.  

Books can contain scans of important documents, such as marriage certificates, programs from significant events, and newspaper articles that detail the author’s achievements. They can also contain photographs of objects small (jewelry, toys, and even tools) and large (furniture and cars appear frequently). These all provide rich texture and context to the narrative. Often, these objects and documents have considerable wear and tear, and that in itself tells a story to the reader.

Both LifeTime Memoirs and Artifcts value the idea of capturing cherished objects and preserving their meaning for future generations, and of seizing this as an opportunity to declutter and downsize. Photographing treasured objects and documents comes in handy when people have to decide what to keep and what to purge from their homes. Few of us can keep everything, but, even if we have to get rid of an heirloom, we can still preserve its stories. LifeTime Memoirs’ recommendation is to take a photo, capture the story—ideally through creating a simple Artifct—and let that story continue in another household.

The fact that objects are so integral to the tapestry of our lives is something that we strive to reflect in our books. This way, the precious possessions that our authors treasure become immortalised in the autobiographies they write and share with future generations. As with Roy and Yvette’s own Artifcts, the books themselves eventually turn into precious heirlooms: memory made material.


As one of our Allies in 'Stuff', LifeBook Memoirs is offering all Artifct members an exclusive $500 off any private autobiography package. If you’d like to find out more about starting your private memoir journey give one of their expert memoir advisors a call on +1-844-669-5039, or visit the LifeTime Memoirs website

Even more reason to capture your life stories in your own autobiography!


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Sounds of Summer – Vinyl Edition

Reading time: 2 minutes

Last month I sat down with my dad, a proud member of the Baby Boomer generation, who happens to have a deep love for music and a vinyl record collection to prove it! We had one goal: Begin putting his vinyl collection back into use after nearly two decades in storage. Enjoy the nostalgia and the practical “how to” reclaim that record collection in the modern age. 


“There’s no way. There are so many!” he exclaimed when asked to select a few favorite vinyl albums from among the hundreds in his personal collection to move out of storage and put back into play.

“Obviously the Beatles, George Harrison, Neil Young, the Stones …” he went on as he flipped through the albums before settling on the few he considered “seminal records.”

collection of vinyl records spread out on a low coffee table

He said that each record—with famous melodies, jaw-dropping guitar solos, and powerful lyrics—was a direct tie to that time when he bought the album, the concerts where he heard the music live, and the people he enjoyed the music with.

During his high school days, as music transitioned from 45s to long-playing 12” records, he’d head into downtown Aurora, IL, to listen to the latest albums at Cook’s Hi-Fi. Ironic that today you can buy the latest hits on vinyl again, a nostalgic resurgence, but maybe also one that is favoring a certain quality in music, “The sound from vinyl records is deeper and warmer than CDs or digital formats,” he asserted.

Now in his 70s and contemplating a future that will include him and my mother downsizing from our family home of more than 40 years, he said categorically that the music would make the move. “I’ll buy a new piece of furniture for the records and a player for them. Music has shaped so much of who I am today.”

Picture of Imagine John Lennon vinyl record Picture of the Concert for Bangladesh album


Until moving day arrives, my dad needed to pick from 100s to select a few to keep close at hand for daily doses of the music he loves best. Vinyl records are great, but they are more fragile and take up more space than their modern digital cousins. Over the years, the albums had been put into storage in an unused bedroom as shelf space was taken over by another of his favorite collections: books. (Books can tell you a lot about a person, too, of course.)

So, we were moving a few albums to a beautiful archival box with a clever peek-a-boo window because he does not yet have that new piece of furniture. His criteria for the few albums he’d start with was some internal balance of emotional connection and what the musicians did to transform not just music but the world.

Vinyl records in a storage box from Archival Methods

“I could fill several album boxes without any trouble,” he remarked. “But these will do for the moment.”

Which albums would make the cut for you? Something old and something new? No cutting, keeping them all? If you need a hand as you sort through and move them around, pop over to Archival Methods and learn more about these vinyl record storage boxes (and save 15% with code AMFCT23) to decide if they are right for your own collection. Make it simple to enjoy the music you’re looking for and keep those records safe!

Happy Artifcting!


Check out this related blog post over on Archival Methods: Introducing the Ultimate Vinyl Record Storage Box.


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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If Books Could Talk, What Would Yours Say About You?

Before you say, “Books can talk. Just get the audio version,” that’s not what we mean. We’re talking about the meaning of each book to you.  

Artifcts co-founder Ellen Goodwin found herself staring up at all her books on the wall and mulling over an article she'd read about decluttering that perplexed and offended her. Are books really trophies of a sort, signifying pride in having traveled through the paper universes held by our shelves? That was what the blog’s author suggested. Clearly this is not how Artifcts co-founder Heather Nickerson feels, since books were a whole category of objects she wishes her mother could have Artifcted.

Are books really trophies of a sort, signifying pride in having traveled through the paper universes held by our shelves?

Arguably, if this Gallup poll from December 2021 is correct, and people are reading their way through fewer books, maybe we are buying them just for show. But couldn't it also be a sign we're aspiring to read more? Certainly, in the old days, personal libraries were more commonly curated as symbols of wealth and knowledge, worldliness, too. Most people could barely afford one book in the original days of the printing press when each run was small, leather binding and embossed impressions expensive, and hand illustrations an art and a luxury.

Today books are cheap to produce, even making self-publishing an obtainable reality for many. Few books in and of themselves are likely valuable, unless you’re a bibliophile and rare books and unique signed copies are your passion. If you add up every book in your collection then, sure, they were expensive, but reselling through secondhand bookstores will get you only pennies on the dollar. 

Maybe then our bookshelves today send different and more practical messages. What do your books say about you or to you?   

The next time you dust off your shelves or undertake a bit of reorganization—rainbow order, by genre then author, alphabetical by title, or some other schema—or maybe find a way to fit in "just one more," take a fresh look at your collection. Pick one book to Artifct because it holds special significance through the scenes it sets, the messages imparted, the journeys undertaken, or maybe something more personal, like the “who” that gave it to you. Share the Artifct with the world—we've shared a few, tagged #realbooksarebest—or a friend to inspire their next read and learn a bit more about you!

Happy Artifcting!


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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