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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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Swedish Death Cleaning a Marriage

Reading time: 3 minutes

Yep, you read that right. If you can Swedish Death Clean a home, why not a marriage?  

We wrote about the Joys of Swedish Death Cleaning back in March 2022. In case you missed it ... döstädning ( means death, städning cleaning) is the Swedish practice by which older adults and their families set their affairs in order. By organizing and decluttering your home, you reduce the burden on loved ones who would otherwise be left to sift through dozens (if not hundreds!) of objects to decide what is significant and what should be kept.  

Marriages are a lot like homes. You build them up over time, fill them with memories, histories, and yes, even ‘stuff.’ Mementos from the newly wed days, important firsts and milestones, travel mementos, kid art, photographs, and the list goes on and on. It’s amazing just how much stuff accumulates over time.  

Over the course of our lives, we are apt to move at least 11 times, based on US Census data. In moving, we say goodbye to one location, and hello to another. Marriages are no different, sometimes they come to an end by choice, sometimes not, forcing us to move on, literally and figuratively. When this happens, it may be time for a little Swedish Death Cleaning.  

Death Cleaning Post Divorce 

Divorce, even if amicable, is not easy. I should know, having gone through a divorce myself and having given up most of my stuff except for the clothing and personal items I took with me. At the end of the day, only one person can retain physical ownership of an item, and visitation rights are not usually given for baby books, travel mementos, kitchenware, paintings, and the like. 

Post-divorce, you may be the one who ends up with bins of stuff and no clear idea of what to do with it. Maybe you want to start fresh, and you don’t want the old stuff. Maybe you are attached to the memories but aren’t ready to see these mementos or revisit them right now.  

Artifcts simplifies the (marriage) death cleaning process by helping you keep the memories, while you let go of or re-home some of the stuff. You’re then freer to decide if you want to give the item to your ex-spouse (does it mean more to them than you?), their family, or even your child. Chances are if you don’t want something, or don’t have a need for something, someone else in your family may appreciate the item.  

Death Cleaning After the Loss of a Spouse or Partner  

Losing a spouse may be one of the harder experiences some of us face as adults. Spouses and partners know us in ways no one else does. We’ve grown together, lived together, dreamed together. Sometimes as we slowly find our new normal without them, we simply cannot take all their stuff with us. Other times we may need to part with some of their stuff to bring closure. 

Artifcts can help. Start with the objects that remind you the most of your spouse or that your spouse loved best. Artifct them, and then take a moment to consider if someone else would cherish the object and memory as much as you. If yes, and if you are willing to part with it, re-home the item with love and care plus the Artifcted story.  

If you want to keep what you Artifcted, and you’re feeling up to it, take a moment and fill out the “In the Future” field in your Artifct so that your loved ones will one day know what you want them to do with the item. You can easily export and share the Artifct or entire Artifcts collection with an estate planner or attach to a digital will so your wishes are accessible. You may find that over time you are willing to part with more items knowing that the history, memories, and stories are safely stored for your loved ones in Artifcts.  


You may also enjoy these additional ARTIcles by Artifcts:

What Should you Artifct (Now)?

How to Artifct Family Heirlooms and History

Before You Thin Out That Stuffed Animal Collection, Consider What Scientists Have to Say


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Decluttering for Dementia

Reading time: 7 minutes  

If you’ve ever needed a better reason to stick to or create a resolution to declutter your home, this one might do it: It’s good for your brain. And we’ve seen it firsthand.  

In today’s piece for ARTIcles by Artifcts, we talk openly about facing a loved one’s dementia diagnosis, and how, maybe to your surprise, decluttering can help. We are grateful to include specialist insights throughout from Cathy Rice, certified senior move manager and life-long educator.  


Dementia is heartbreaking, terrifying, and, so far, irreversible. Even if a loved one is in many ways themself, we know the disease is slowly changing them and shortening their life. I know. I have a loved one who is among the more than 50 million people worldwide with dementia now and already lost a loved one to dementia as well.  

Some of us react to this sort of diagnosis with a desire to do something, anything, to help, to make our loved one’s life in any way better, to take the tiniest measure of control over the disease. We dive into a multi-prong tactical to-do list that we must continuously update as together we progress from diagnosis, to sharing that diagnosis with others, to learning how to manage the disease and being as prepared as possible across legal, medical, financial, and insurance fronts.  

As I sought out my own ways to help, I expected I’d find information about diet, exercise, and social activities, both for my loved one with dementia and their primary, day-to-day care provider. And I did. What I was surprised to find recently while browsing HFC, Shining a Light on Alzheimer's: 5 Brain Health Habits was the hot mainstream topic of decluttering.  

Benefits of Decluttering for Those With Dementia 

You know decluttering well from TV shows like The Joy of Swedish Death Cleaning and The Home Edit, books including Marie Kondo’s famous The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and bins and more from shops like The Container Store. Decluttering to support someone with dementia in some ways is like decluttering for people with normal brain health. Too much stuff can literally be dangerous if we cannot safely navigate our homes. Some of us are also more sensitive to feeling drained by too much stuff lying about around us.  

Of course, when you have dementia, decluttering has other benefits, too. 

      • Reduce stress. Stress reduction is imperative when you have mild cognitive impairment or dementia. And decluttering can mean clearing away some of the to-dos that come to mind when people see stuff to tidy, dust, or keep safe. Have you experienced a loved one with dementia hiding things to keep the item safe? I am sure you have because it's an incredibly common behavior. 
      • Improve sleep. Quality sleep is critical for the brain’s nightly reset. Busy surroundings can lead to busy brains and may even sow confusion in bedtime routines.  
      • Safety, safety, safety. We know, decluttering is about aging well in place for all of us as we age, but it’s especially true for people with health conditions, like dementia, that can make them more vulnerable to confusing and distracting surroundings.
      • Avoiding anything close to hoarding. Keep in mind, hoarding disorder is its own condition, but managing even the clutter of daily life is more difficult when you have dementia because of increased challenges in making decisions.  
      • Purpose. We know finding purpose at any age is important. Here we are talking about giving the decluttering process a purpose to help your loved one part with more items than they might otherwise be willing to do. Purpose might be supporting a local shelter, resupplying charitable builders with tools, or reconnecting with loved ones when you pass down items. You get the idea. 

Decluttering for Dementia

We’ve prepared these tips from our own practical experience helping our loved ones with dementia as we try to help make sense of it all, including one’s surroundings.* In some cases our loved ones were also decluttering to downsize and move. In others, it was more of a practical decluttering, for safety and mental health.  

* We are not medical professionals. If you are considering radical changes to your loved one’s home enviornment, you should consult first with a specialist licensed in dementia care.


Before you start your declutter, check the lighting throughout the home. Living like a cave troll generally does no one very good. But dementia is not only about memory. If you can see well what’s around you, it’s easier to make sense of your surroundings (and of course it’s safer). Make it easy to see the light switches, too. Understanding and interpreting surroundings, like a white switch on a white wall, can become an impediment for someone with dementia. 

Cathy’s Insight: Adding felt pads to any lighting fixture to differentiate the feel of the switch from the fixture itself or a simple icon as a visual cue helps to support the brain's understanding of the item with its function.


Start from the ground, and work your way up.

What’s on the floor? Stacks of stuff? Wandering power cords? Rugs that slip and shift? Take a fresh look. Then move your eye upward to the surfaces of counters and entry tables. If someone needed to quickly grab onto a surface to prevent a fall, would they have a secure place to grab?  Is there a clear and secured place for common objects, like house keys?

Cathy’s Insight: People with dementia often find comfort in knowing that their stuff is close-at-hand. Create a "command center" within easy reach of their favorite chair for essentials (eyeglasses, books, pencils, fidget items, etc.).  

And about those rugs … if you must keep them, use carpet tape to secure edges to the floor. The same applies to small storage trays, which you can secure with surface-safe tape or museum putty.

Favor simple home furnishings.

As we know stress takes its own toll on the brain; let’s try to minimize the stress home décor can accidentally create. One Arti Member told us, “My loved one was disturbed by a decorative lumbar pillow that had a shaggy fur cover. It looked like a small dog.” Sometimes textures and patterns can be difficult for people with dementia to interpret. Likewise distinguishing whether an object is inanimate. This is why some people with advancing dementia find comfort with life-like pets such as those from Joy For All.

Take it down a notch.

This is about audio clutter. Too much and/or competing noises can be incredibly distracting for anyone, particularly someone with dementia. Think about simultaneous noise from the television, washing machine, and someone on a phone call, for example.

Cathy’s Insight: Taking this point a step further, family, friends, and caregivers should practice standing in front of, and at eye level if appropriate, people with dementia before speaking with them. Get their attention by saying their name and then speak simply and succinctly. 

Set it aside, together. Do not remove it. 

Don’t remove it immediately, if you do not have to, that is. Rushes to declutter in support of someone with memory loss could lead to irreversible loss of cherished mementos that also can serve as visual cues for familiarity and comfort. Is there an alternative way to display the items that the person with dementia says they care most about? Maybe try grouping like items on a shelf or table where they will see them often. For photos, you might even consider a digital photo frame, such as those from Nixplay, Aura, or any of the many other options.  

For items that do not make the cut, if space permits, store them in an appropriate box, and set them aside so you can pull them back out later if needed or as part of a monthly or maybe seasonal rotation. We recommend you Artifct them before they go into the box and tag them to easily recall what you've stored. This approach does not apply to duplicates, meaningless bits and bops, or trash. Consult with your loved one always as well as your own good judgement.

Clarity of Purpose for the Win

Our final decluttering tip is about visual chaos. If you open a drawer and see a jumble of socks, pants, and t-shirts, you could get distracted or confused. If a cabinet has five options for plates, and 10 options for cups, which should you choose? Not only should you streamline what’s inside for simpler decision making but consider visually labeling doors to indicate what’s inside. This gadget could help you get started with easy printing of images from your phone.

Cathy’s Insight: As the disease of dementia progresses, consider only placing the clothes needed for that day in the drawer or use a shelf in a bedroom/bathroom as the place for their daily wardrobe.  

Do you have decluttering tips for dementia? We’d love to hear them! You can contact

Happy Artifcting!



If you are a caregiver or supporting someone who is, you may find it helpful to browse and share these related resources.

Alzheimer's Society, UK: 10 Ways to Make Your Home Dementia Friendly 

US National Institute of Health: Study of Home Modifications for People with Dementia 

Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute: Communication Strategies in Dementia Care  

Mayo Clinic: Clearing Clutter Benefits Your Health and Well-Being

Psychology Today: The Many Mental Benefits of Decluttering 

AARP Michigan: Dementia Resource Guide for Families


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Bonus Epilogue: Why One Mom Moved Beyond Memory Boxes and Instagram

Today we have a special contribution from a guest curator who said enough to the status quo. In her case, that means turning a new leaf in her approach to saving family memories and mementos by no longer relying on keepsake boxes, Instagram, and photo albums alone. These were the options that got her through the exhausting early days of motherhood + entrepreneurship + life all jumbled together in what we call LIFE! Now, she’s moving on with Artifcts. 


When Elena, my second daughter, was born 23 months after her sister Estella, I was suddenly in the throes of a very unique and personal post-partum reality. We were still in the midst of COVID and on top of all that, my startup company was just two years old. I was just trying to survive.

While I wanted to capture all of my girls' incredible baby moments, the idea of creating a baby book or scrapbook seemed very time-consuming and utterly impossible at the time. The best I could do was collect random mementos for each of my girls and place them in a box, hoping to alleviate the guilt of not doing more. Ironically, I couldn't even tell you what was in my older daughter's box without taking a look. And even then, many of the items are now a blur. I know what is in Elena’s but only because I just started filling it. 

Then there’s my family and friends, near and far. I post on Instagram so they can at least see the funny things the girls do. But that’s all I mostly post – the funny moments like Estella eating flaming hot Cheetos for the first time or trying to eat the sand at the beach.

While people get a sense of their personalities, there is nothing super personal about my feed. There’s nothing that shows who my girls really are, what they are learning, or what they are experiencing. And you would think they are raising themselves, as I am completely absent, except for my voice from time to time.

Re-experiencing Life through Artifcts 

I recently sat down with my friend Ellen who is the co-founder of Artifcts. Artifcts offers concierge Artifcting and I wanted to support her, so I decided to spend some time together Artifcting. I’ll be honest, I love Ellen, but until we sat down together, I really didn’t get how magical Artifcts is. (Now I see there is literally a testimonial on the membership page that says the same. I should have believed them!)

Before she arrived, I pulled out a few pieces of family heirloom jewelry, some artwork I inherited from my grandmother, and my daughters’ memento boxes. As we Artifcted, I realized how valuable it was to attach a story to an object.  As I was Artifcting my two engagement rings (There's a story!) I realized I could combine the photos with an audio recording of myself telling the story for my daughters, bringing the whole experience to life for them to treasure at a later date. And I can add the appraisal documents for my rings to the Artifct and even say who will get my rings one day in the future (one for each, obviously) That’s not something I can or WOULD do on Instagram.

Artifcts is everything I never knew I needed.

I tried out Artifcting videos and photos already on my phone, clicking share and choosing the Artifcts app. It’s just as easy as posting to Instagram. Now finding a cute memory and photo of Elena is much easier because all I have to do is open the Artifcts app, rather than combing through 1,000s of photos on my phone.

Pause now and create a new Artifct, just for you!  


So, what will I do now?

I’m still going to use Instagram for those laugh-out-loud moments, but I’ll be adding my friends and family to Artifcts so I can share more meaningful moments and objects with them privately. I know I can always post an Artifct to Instagram, too. I now have a digital scrapbook of Artifcts for my girls, for me, and for my family. Once I started Artifcting, I could feel the guilt start melting away. Artifcts is everything I never knew I needed, an easy way to collect my memories and connect them with my family and friends. Moms, Dads, get in there. You won’t regret it. 


Remember, Father's Day is tomorrow!

Take 30% off with code DadStories30. We'll email you a printable gift card, too!

Gift Dad Artifcts to capture his stories! Use DadStories30 code for 30% off.

© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Keepsake Boxes, Remembrance Boxes, Memento Boxes - Boxes Abound!

Boxes, binders, and bins, oh my! Maybe you know them as keepsake, remembrance, memento, or memorial boxes. Some boxes even mirror the purpose of a binder, with tabs by topic, checklists, and pouches for loose keys, thumb drives, and other small and useful or meaningful objects. 

No matter what, before you stick any ‘stuff’ in your box of choice and slap on the lid, Artifct it to remember what it is and why it mattered. Unlike boxes, Artifcts are:

      • Instantly and perpetually organized and searchable 
      • Fire and flood proof (some boxes might be, too, up to a point …); no go-box required! 
      • Able to combine text, video, audio, and photos for every item 
      • Easily shareable and accessible online to anyone you choose, anywhere, anytime 
      • Do not take up space or require dusting

And, obviously, the stuff inside your Artifcts collection will not run the risk of outlasting your memories like a box full of stuff will. The memories are captured and preserved. You are no longer the keeper of the memories or the single point of failure behind the mementos. Breathe a sigh of relief!

Keepsake Box Options Abound

For those of us who relish holding onto those curated items that mean the most, we’ve tried to distill here what we’ve learned about the variety of boxes available.  

Many major retailers, like Crate and Barrel, The Container Store, Pottery Barn, Target, Hallmark, and Amazon, sell at least one or two. So, we know there’s demand, people are looking for them. We suspect from how they are marketed that a box makes for a simple and obvious gift for special occasions. You’ll see below that the options and qualities vary. There is something for most needs, styles, and price points! 

(Listed in alphabetical order.) 

    • Akin offers custom boxes that fit and showcase the curated items you have chosen to help tell your story - whether it’s memorabilia, journals, photographs, documents, records, or more. What further sets Akin apart is that it offers services bundled around the box for custom-designed books and genealogy research to help commemorate family stories and ancestral histories.

"Present and preserve your keepsakes as opposed to hiding them away. A curated memorabilia box not only holds your most treasured pieces, it should tell their origin story—beautifully and archivally—so they can be cherished and shared for years to come," explained Renee Innis, Akin Founder.

    • Archival Methods offers archival boxes as well as a whole product category for “object storage.” They have additional custom options for fitting objects more snuggly in the boxes, too. 
    • Etsy is a logical choice for creative and custom options you’ve never even knew existed, offering a wild variety of sizes, styles, and materials to match your purpose or occasion. 
    • Nokbox is more about functional preparedness, organizing all of the critical information about your life in a box. If you’re going to store and rely on hardcopy, however, we strongly encourage a digital equivalent (e.g., Keylu, GoodTrust, Trustworthy ...). Digital options are more flexible, easier to update, and accessible from anywhere. 
    • Petite Keep offers more traditional aesthetics for its boxes, sort of a Pottery Barn or Draper James feel, with customization for initials, patterns, etc. 
    • Savor, in contrast to Petite Keep, offers a cleaner, more basic style like you might find from archival-quality sources. Its collection has expanded to offer drawers for vertically oriented boxes, built-in envelopes, and more to cover whatever ‘stuff’ you might have in mind to combine.  

Need we say it again? Just as we tell you “Before you store it, Artifct it,” before you box it, Artifct it. And slip your Artifcts collection QR code inside for safe keeping of all those stories, videos, and more from your Artifcts collection. Your future self will thank you! And if you need a little help getting started, check out Artifct concierge options. ->

My Artifcts homepage with option to create personal collection QR code

Each Artifct has a QR code as does your Artifcts Collection. Access it from My Artifcts -> 

Before We Go, a Word to the Wise: Know What You’re Buying

Archival does not always mean archival. What? Yes; sad truth. Sometimes archival only means the paper is acid free. And if you are a proponent of recycled paper, you have another potential recipe for disaster once you shut objects inside and create a little microclimate for terrible things to brew.

If you are popping items into a box that you truly cherish, do the homework on your archival products, or speak to a professional. You can contact nationwide companies like Archival Methods—one of our Allies in 'Stuff'—and Gaylord Archival or seek out archivists in your local area for guidance, products, and services.

Happy Artifcting!


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Before You Thin Out That Stuffed Animal Collection, Consider What Scientists Have to Say

Why do we have and keep so many stuffed animals to start with? It turns out, this is exactly the right question to be asking as we mark the start of May - Mental Health Month.
In a recent decluttering spree with my daughter, I found myself unexpectedly sentimental over so many she was ready to part with because I not only remembered when and from whom she got each, but I could picture her toting them around with her, cuddling them on car trips and during naps, and setting them up to play school.  
My conversations with my daughter about these stuffed toys all went something like this:

Me: You don’t want kitty? 
My kid: No, she’s really big. 
Me: But you and your cousin each got one together when we went to Disney. You insisted they watch the fireworks with you. 
My kid: I don’t remember. 
Me: O-kay. [Into the donation bag it goes.]

Imagine my surprise when trying to pick some of the stuffed animals to rehome and donate that I learned about a series of studies, first published back in 2014 in the journal Psychological Science by researchers at VU University Amsterdam that touched on my stuffed animal dilemma. “These toys are more than toys,” I consoled myself.

What Research Tells Us About Stuffed Toys

The research team at VU University Amsterdam investigated how interpersonal touch, including holding a teddy bear, influenced self-esteem in those who are more prone to depression and anxiety. And these are certainly anxious times in the world for us all with global pandemics, extreme weather, and a sea change in the US education system to name a few culprits.

Care Bear Cousins Plush Purple Stuffed Animal - COZY HEART PENGUIN 14"

Some stuffed animals even have “care” built into the name,  
like the Care Bears, popular in the 1980s.
You’ll probably not be surprised to learn that the study confirmed what many of us sense intuitively: touch can calm our fears and anxieties. The study also suggested touch is a means of increasing social connectedness and found that these effects are strongest among those of us who have strong intrinsic motivation.  
I mean, what’s the alternative when you’re on your own? Snuggling up to a digital device? Or, as in the researchers’ study, a cardboard box? We didn’t think so.  
We’re sharing this in hopes you go easy on yourself and your kids when you’re feeling overwhelmed by so much stuff, including stuffed animals. Stuffed toys can play an important role in how we relate to the world and cope with whatever it throws at us.
collection of stuffed bunnies
Some bunnies in this little girl’s collection made the cut, others did not. First, she Artifcted them.

Bonus! Want to learn more about the science of stuffed toys?

If you want to dig into some of the science yourself, check out some of the resources we also explored:

Kid ‘stuff’ on your mind? You may also enjoy these related stories from ARTIcles by Artifcts: 
Pint-Sized Perspective on Decluttering and Moving
15 Decluttering Targets for Artifcters
Who Wants This Rocking Chair?

© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 

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Going Green. With Artifcts.

Who says it's not easy being green? 

In honor of Earth Day 2023 we created a special downloadable for all those items from around your home that through decluttering, moving, or otherwise "clearing on out," you want to move on without adding to the landfills. For our first edition, we’ve gone 100% eclectic, like the Artifcts you all create every day. Before the 'stuff' goes, Artifct that! 

Click the image to download your copy. All ideas are linked so you can learn more!

And if you want to upcycle, and still aren't sure where to start, check out companies like UpycleThat for inspiration on repurposing and options to buy and sell items. You can also call or visit local charities and similar to learn about their ongoing needs. Local charities abound, but here are some examples to get you started that range from nationally represented to always local:

      • Dress for Success (Clothing)
      • Habitat for Humanity (Tools)
      • Goodwill (Donates millions of crutches, wheelchairs and more every year to veterans' groups. We realize you might only Artifct these as a good riddance moment, but those matter, too!)
      • Disaster relief organizations, such as the Red Cross and fire stations (Clothing, blankets ...)
      • Universities (Your graduate's gown)
      • Hospitals (Needs vary widely, but some accept games and stuffed animals.)

We also strongly encourage reaching out to professional organizers and estate sellers who tend to be incredibly knowledgeable about uniquely local resources. The data doesn't lie - so many of our items once purchased with good intentions are hitting the landfills. We can do better!

Happy Artifcting!


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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