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Is That a Toy Camera?

Objects can not only have different names—flipflops vs. thongs; church key vs. bottle opener; bubbler vs. drinking fountain—but different hidden meanings.  

Maybe that’s not just a handbag. Instead, it’s a Christmas gift from your grandfather the year before he died, and you think of him every time you see it.  

Or that’s not an unused faucet part, but a token reminding you that hard problems need solutions and sometimes you have no choice but to be the one to solve them.  

Brass Water Tank Faucet

 
 
© 2021 108 Beloved Objects

And you don’t hold onto worthless trinkets like toy cameras. You just wish you’d made a better impression on the great Ansel Adams. 

 small toy camera made of bamboo

 
 
© 2021 108 Beloved Objects

Photos can’t talk. (We’ve discussed this before.) 

Objects can’t talk either. 

The meaning behind each could transform something from random object to family heirloom, thrift shop consignment to cherished keepsake, trash to life parable. Have you read about the solo sandal?

Share a hidden story, a piece of you, and consider making space in your life for the unexpected. Storysharing can be freeing, as one author will undoubtedly convince you tomorrow, Thursday, September 22, during part two of our free series Evenings with Artifcts. 

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© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Bringing History to Life, One Artifct at a Time 

At Artifcts, we seek to make histories and stories more accessible for all the world to see. We envision a world in which a student on the West Coast can find Artifcts (and their stories!) about a Women’s March that happened only days or weeks ago in Washington, D.C. Or an alumna of a community arts workspace can pop over to Artifcts to find the projects they worked on years ago and share them with their children.

The possibilities are endless. Crowdsourcing history? Preserving objects and stories in real time? Yes and yes, with Artifcts.

It seems that the Arti Community we’re building together agrees. We are all members of not only a local but global community. The actions we take, and the things we do may not seem significant on a day-to-day basis, but we never know how history will look back on any of us. What we do today could very well end up in the history books of tomorrow.   

Meet the Nickerson Family Association  

Our desire to preserve and share history is one of the many reasons why we were delighted to work with the Nickerson Family Association (NFA) to document the historic artifacts they uncovered while excavating the original homesite of William and Anne (Busby) Nickerson, the founders of the Town of Chatham, Massachusetts. For non-locals, this was essentially the founding of Cape Cod.  

For five months in 2018 and 2019, lead archaeologist Craig Chartier and his team of volunteers uncovered the remains of the house and outbuildings at the c. 1664 homestead. The NFA affectionately refers to this work as the Nick Dig.  

Through a collaboration of the NFA and Artifcts, the Nick Dig artifacts are all now viewable, searchable, and discoverable at Artifcts.com. The Nick Dig team even created a walking tour around the original dig site, using Artifcts-generated QR codes to guide visitors around the grassy knoll of what was once the original homesite.

 

 
 Pipe from the 1600s recovered during the Nick Dig. 
 

A Cape Cod Historical Tour for Those of You at Home  

Want to take your own computer-assisted tour of the Nick Dig site and other related Artifcts?  

  • Click here to explore the features of the dig site
  • Click here to view some of the neat artifacts unearthed at the site 
  • Click here to learn about the dig itself and what it was like to be part of the Nick Dig Team  
  • Click here to get a glimpse into the life of William and Anne out at the elbow of Cape Cod, the eastern-most point of the continental US 

Have questions about how best to capture your own family’s history? Reach out for a free 15-minute introduction with us at Hello@Artifcts.com. And be sure to join our Evenings with Artifcts on Thursday nights this fall. Our speakers will bring energy and new perspectives to important themes related to capturing and preserving history of today and long ago. 

Happy Artifcting! 

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© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Pint-Sized Perspective on Decluttering and Moving

This piece for ARTIcles was inspired by a neighbor who spoke with Artifcts co-founder Ellen Goodwin about the woes of all that "kid stuff" to get through in preparation for a move this summer. Thank you for being our muse! And if you missed our adult-sized version of decluttering to move, give it a read ->  

From the time Violet was a baby and stretching well into toddlerhood, she moved a lot, bopping around Maryland, Virginia, and Texas. Her age made it easier on us, the parents, in that she didn't fully realize what was happening. She was also in a phase of life during which she naturally was outgrowing everything from books and toys to baby furniture and clothing at a fast pace, so purging during each move was simplified a bit. 

Then she turned six.  

"I'm ooo-l-d," she whined. Insert palm in face on every parent who hears this sweet nonsense. Mitigating her pain somewhat was the fact that her 6th birthday was in fact extra special - it fell on Easter. So, we called it "B-Easter," and managed an impromptu egg hunt blended with tea party, followed by chalk, bubbles, kites, and bikes. Not bad! 

photo of chalk on pavement "Happy B-Easter"

What we were less prepared for was the storm brewing behind this sweet looking little Texan's face after sharing a few days later that they would be moving. You'd think we stole her puppy! "But you did make a New Year's Resolution to buy a house this year," teased my husband. (True story! What kind of "resolution" is that?!) 

Violet began plotting. How could she pack EVERYTHING? How could she make her new home JUST like her current home? She packed boxes herself. She filled bags and tried knotting them closed before I could even look and confirm it was really just full of her Beanie Boos. It was cute and annoying simultaneously. We had to get going! 

colorful collection of Beanie BoosClick the image to view the Beanie Boo collection Artifct.

While the word "fair" is banned in our household Try it! It's amazing how many other, more informative words your kid will use when fair is off the table it was deemed "fair game" to use her passions and personality to help manage the situation. Decluttering was going to happen as packing proceeded. Not everything was getting on the moving truck, whether you were 6 or 36. And we did not want to end enemies.  

Tried & Tested Pint-Sized Strategies

Here are the strategies we used with our 6-year-old, and more recently with a set of adult children who were equally disinclined to part ways with a lot of stuff all at once.  

  1. Don't make it an "all at once" task. Friendly disclaimer: We know, sometimes a move is unexpected and abrupt. This then does not apply. In general, you have some notice, maybe even months, to prepare for a move. Consider starting with your child's least used and noticeable items in deep drawers, backs of closets, bins and boxes that have collected dust, and 'stuff' that truly doesn't fit (or work!) anymore. Something small each weekend. Let them play and experience it one last time if they want as they sort into piles to rehome, donate, recycle, resell, or maybe even trash. Smallest box is for the move.  
     
  2. And time it. Ask them to focus on the task for no more than 15 minutes. For 6-year-old Violet that was less than one episode of Sofia the First and totally manageable.  
     
  3. Know thy child. Appeal to sweet spots. Violet loves, loves, loves to be a helper. Extending that to helping others who have unmet needs for new books, clothes, and toys was a major source of success and pride. She even made cards to go with her donations. And the donations were not generic. We brought some into a women's shelter, for example, where we knew who would directly benefit locally. Seeing is believing, even when you're six. 
     
  4. Take photos and videos (and Artifct it!) of special items that don't make the cut. Have you noticed how kids of all ages, even at 56, love to browse photos and videos on their phone, in social media, etc.? We even have a video of 2-year-old Violet dancing and the moment she stops you can hear her say, "I want to see!" Sometimes you just like to see something to trigger that happy nostalgia or moments of pride from that hard one roller skating derby or large collections of anything that can't possibly come or maybe will but cannot be displayed in its entirety.  
     
  5. Embrace porch or garage sales. There's simple logic in favor of selling a large amount of 'stuff' even for low prices and gaining the power to buy that new whiz-bang toy or container of slime or funny hat all by yourself! Kids don't generally have money of their own and this is a good opportunity to reward their help in the decluttering process. Violet sold books she'd outgrown and a several movies too. 
     

Special Case: Moving to a New Country

Another friendly disclaimer: In a country as large as the US, another state can sure feel like another country ... No matter the excitement and motivation to make the leap and move to a foreign country, I empathize with what you will go through in terms of energy, cost, and general discombobulation. Every move we made was hard but heading into a foreign culture amplifies the desire for the comfort familiar objects, foods, music, and more can offer.  

International moving and shipping fees, or conversely long-term self-storage fees, may mean your decluttering and downsizing tasks are more extreme. This is definitely a time Artifcts can help. Want to show off your transformer collection ... special dolls ... cool bike ... but can't take them with you? Artifct to remember and show your new friends what your life was like in your home country! 

We bet you can adapt these ideas to your own kids. Or, if you are a professional organizer, we hope these tactics can help you as you work with clients in similar situations.

Happy Artifcting! 

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© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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What Have You Done for Your Legacy Lately?

When you hear the word "legacy" what comes to mind? Estate planning, memoirs and videographies, maybe heartfelt donations to causes you support? For some, the reaction is a bit different. Maybe you think legacy is only for the rich. Or maybe you are among those who think, "I'm not that important," or "My actions in this life should be enough, no?" If you think that way, that might stop you cold, preventing you from doing anything about your legacy. 

We'd like to encourage you to look at legacy from a fresh perspective. 

Myths, legends, campfire stories: What do they all have in common? They are relatable and they carry on through time by virtue of being shared. But what happens when, like in the children's game Musical Chairs, the music stops, and maybe you stopped or failed to share those stories? They die with us. That, dear reader, is legacy lost. That's your personal history, a history built through the years, that is irretrievable.  

What’s left then are the other forms of legacy that are more tangible. We chatted recently with two researchers in this area of "legacy" and have distilled what we learned about facets of legacy into four themes:  

  1. Financial … as in money, real estate etc. 
  2. Material (possessions) … you know, the 'stuff' of a life lived, some with sentimental value, some with monetary, some with both (which is which?!) 
  3. Reputational or symbolic … capturing our stories, words of wisdom, and other marks made on the world 
  4. Instructions and wishes … including how to dispose of an estate, invest money philanthropically or otherwise, make sure So-and-So gets an education, etc. 

We think a lot about legacy at Artifcts. Core to our mission is ensuring you can capture the value to you of all the ‘stuff’ that you collect throughout your daily life in a fun, personalized, and easy way. Why? We want to make sure whoever your “they” is knows the true value of an item before it’s too late. Do not let the next generation miss out on all those life experiences and stories that make you... you! Everyone has a story or two worth sharing.

Consider these examples from the Arti Community - it was the legacy of the person and their story that made each special: 

  • No one wanted Grandmom's three brass trays until they heard her story about buying them and her meeting with a king cobra. 
  • That sandal would have gone in the trash (still may) without the lesson learned. 
  • Her “famous” biscuit recipe would have been lost forever if her granddaughter hadn’t asked. Now it can be recreated from generation to generation.  
  • That delightfully wacky clock might have been first on the auction block but now they know that this was a memento from a special family moment. 

Don't wait. Take a step and craft your own legacy. Grab an old photo. Dust off that knickknack on the shelf. Take a fresh look at the art on your wall. What stories from last week or decades ago lay hidden in plain sight? Create an Artifct today. 

Happy Artifcting! 

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© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Three Peas in a Pod: Sports, Stuff, & Stories

If you are a parent, a friend of a parent, neighbor of a parent, or contemplating parenthood, you've probably noticed that sports consume a vast amount of time & energy for parents and child athletes alike not to mention money and storage space for all that gear. And then, they get older, and the equipment larger and more expensive.  

We’ve found ways to cope and find the humor in this sporting reality. Surely you've seen bumper stickers like "swim taxi" or heard someone say, "I'll be working from my {barn} office," as Artifcts Co-founder Heather Nickerson often quips as she departs for her daughter's horse riding lessons. 

You may already be using Artifcts as your top ally in keeping track of the key moments, good luck tokens, awards, gear, and other memorabilia you can't (yet?) part with.  

broken baseball cleat without laces    child in hockey jersey and gear standing outside an indoor rink

Click the image to view the baseball cleat or hockey jersey.
 
 
The owners tell us neither of these has been given up (yet)!

Inside the World of Swimming 'Stuff'

Today we're focusing on that last bit, the hall of fame worthy gear, but not from a parent. We're pivoting to the sport of swimming and the Texas Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame.

Charles Logan spent the better part of 12 years as the Director of the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center at The University of Texas at Austin. And lucky for all who enjoy the phenomenal Olympic-level center, Logan has long had a passion for collecting swim memorabilia. Much of his collection (but not all!) now resides in frames, glass display cases, and special exhibits at the Texas Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame, with notable contributions from Texas athletes and families. 

Picture of an old postcard with a caricature of a swimmer on the front

 
 
 
 
This Artifct is part of a private swim memorabilia collection. Click the image to view the Artifct.

To clarify, the stuff resides at the Hall of Fame; until very recently, the stories did not.

Those stories were locked in Charles' memories of a lifetime of collecting and chasing histories. That of course meant that when massive crowds visit the facility for NCAA competitions and championships, Olympic qualifying events, and regular long and short course seasons (not to mention hours and hours and hours of practice) the swim memorabilia left people to wonder, "What is this?” “Why is it here?" and “How does it all connect?” And for all those who never visit the Hall of Fame in person, it’s simply lost history. 

Joining forces with Artifcts, the 'stuff' now has stories and is ready and waiting to inform and entertain Hall of Fame visitors and maybe even inspire a whole new generation of swimmers. We invite you to a virtual tour of some of those exhibits on Artifcts! 

black swimsuit with white T on it  Vintage USA Olympic Swim Team Luggage, bag and suitcase    vintage swim patch collection on a swim jacket

View the complete collection  ->

And if you're visiting the Texas Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame, be on the look out for Aritfcts QR codes sprinkled throughout!  

Artifcts QR code on a swim mannequin

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Have a space in your life like the Texas Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame making you say, "Hmmm?" Contact us at Hello@Artifcts.com to discuss personal concierge options and non-profit and enterprise support. 

© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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The Artifcts Bookshelf

Here you'll find a simple listing of a wide-ranging and growing collection of books, with 'stuff' as the unify theme. Now and then we may post a link to an online article, podcast, or similar, but given how impermanent those links can be and the frustration paywalls can present, we'll mostly stick to books.

We use tags to organize them for your quick scanning. Click any image below to review the book over on the author’s site, Amazon, or elsewhere.

What are you reading? Share with Editor@Artifcts.com and we'll check it out.

(Please note: These books are literally on our nightstands, coffee tables, and bookshelves. We are not paid to list publications here.)

THE ARTIFCTS BOOKSHELF

The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance

By Edmund de Waal, Jan. 2010

FICTION, COLLECTIBLES

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

By V. E. Schwab, Oct. 2021

FICTION, ARTS

Uncommon Type

By Tom Hanks, Sep. 2018

FICTION, COLLECTIONS

What to Do with Everything You Own to Leave the Legacy You Want

By Marni Jameson, Jun. 2021

NONFICTION, INSTRUCTIONAL

108 Beloved Objects: Letting Go of Stuff, Keeping Our Stories

By Jeff Greenwald, Aug. 2021

NONFICTION, THE EVERYDAY

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

By Margareta Magnusson, Jan. 2018

NONFICTION, INSTRUCTIONAL, THE EVERYDAY

The Dig

By John Preston, Apr. 2016

FICTION, HISTORY

goodbye, things: The New Japanese Minimalism

By Fumio Sasaki, Apr. 2017

NONFICTION, THE EVERYDAY

Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness

By Ingrid Fetell Lee, Sep. 2018

NONFICTION, THE EVERYDAY, INSTRUCTIONAL

Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff: Declutter, Downsize, and Move Forward with Your Life

By Matt Paxton, Feb. 2022

NONFICTION, INSTRUCTIONAL

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

By Gail Steketee, Jan. 2011

NONFICTION

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