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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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Spring Cleaning: The Clothing Edition

Reading time: 4 minutes

Spring has sprung and our closets are ready to spring forth as well. Clothing has a sneaky way of taking up space in our hearts AND in our closets, which is why this year we’re offering up some tips and tricks for spring cleaning dedicated to clothing and accessories.

Our expert tip on all things clothing? Artifct it, of course, and include a photo of you wearing it back in the day, if possible, to help you keep the memories, while you let go of the items you haven’t worn in years, if not decades.

But Artifcting is not the be all, end all. Are you ready to free up closet space? Let’s get started!

Seasonal Items

As you get ready to put your winter clothing into storage and take out your spring essentials consider what you actually wore this past winter and what you kept, thinking you WOULD wear.

In our household we make two piles—the “yes, I wore it” pile, and the “nope, never touched it pile.” We then take a hard look at that second pile to determine the reason WHY we never wore it. Was it not cold enough this winter? Does the item no longer fit? If the answer is yes to the latter, we consider who else might need or want it (nieces, nephews, etc.) or we pick our favorite charity to donate the item.

We also take a hard look at winter gear that has stood the test of time for years (if not decades!) but may be on its way out. I broke down in tears this year over my husband’s beloved Patagonia down jacket. The memories, the adventures! However, it was hard to ignore the feathers seeping out of every seam. I found myself having to vacuum after every wear. We took it back to Patagonia hoping they’d be able to repair it as part of their Worn Wear program, but alas, it was beyond repair. We agreed to let Patagonia recycle the jacket although not before Artifcting it!


Professional Clothing (aka Life Before COVID)

Remember when we used to get dressed up EVERY day and go into the office? The actual office. Not just our home office. Although memories fade, the clothing lingering in our closet(s) serves as a constant reminder of, “Oh yeah, I used to actually wear that stuff.”

This year I took a hard look at our professional clothes to determine what has a realistic chance of being worn again, and what can be relegated to the “life before COVID” bin (aka donation bin). We donate most professional clothing items to Dress for Success and sell a handful of items with TheRealReal. It’s amazing the closet space and hangers we regained this year when we were realistic about what we would wear post-COVID.

I admit there were some items I was reluctant to let go of because of the memories. My first pair of heels and my favorite ballet flats fell into this category. Both had been worn past any useful lifespan and yet, I didn’t want to let go. So, what’s a girl to do? You guessed it, I Artifcted them. And then I felt a little less guilty getting rid of them. Artifcts enabled me to keep the memories and let go of the actual ‘stuff.’


Kid Clothing

They grow so fast! My daughter’s closet is a ready target when it comes to spring cleaning. She’s now old enough to help with the process, and she knows once the items are donated she gets to pick out replacement items that fit. Extra motivation! And even together time since she’s now at the age when she loves to shop.

We usually donate the clothing she has outgrown to our local Goodwill store, although there are some items she’ll ask to keep and repurpose. She stunned us one year when she repurposed her old ballet tutu into a modern work of art!


Yes, they deserve their own category. My dear husband has a way of coming home from every trip, conference, and work event with another t-shirt. We’ve relegated his t-shirt collection to one drawer and one under-the-bed bin. And yet. There are so many!

Although this go-around with spring cleaning most of his t-shirts were spared. Why? Because he wears them, all of them.

I, however, discovered that I had been holding on to a t-shirt in MY t-shirt bin that I hadn’t even worn. Not once. I was getting ready to Artifct it (and include photos and video of the event) when our youngest swooped in to claim it for herself. Being two sizes too big, it was declared “tres, tres chic.” Success! T-shirt re-homed. We often joke here at Artifcts that the best vintage shop in the world is probably Grandma’s closet! (Or in this case, my closet!)



Since when did we own two dozen hats?

Like t-shirts, accessories tend to multiply like bunnies at least in our household. Hats, socks, and re-usable bags tend to be the worst offenders. Companies love to gift accessories as promotional materials, and most members of my household LOVE to accept those gifts. You see where this is going.

We have a bin dedicated solely to reusable bags, and another to hats. I took a hard look at both this past month and lovingly put out for free a dozen reusable bags and a half dozen hats. Much to my delight they were picked up within minutes of setting them out.


On a roll? If you need some donation ideas outside the usual, check out the clothing section of Going Green. With Artifcts.

If instead you're ready for tips on decluttering and organizing beyond clothing, you may love our 15 Decluttering Targets for Artifcters or one of our Evenings with Artifcts episodes with Matt Paxton!


© 2024 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Artifcts Is Our Love Language

Reading time: 4 minutes 

In 1992, Baptist Minister Gary Chapman published the non-fiction book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. (Side note, if anyone out there has a copy, go Artifct That!) 

The book outlines five ways that romantic partners express and experience love, which he termed, “love languages.” In short, Chapman’s five love languages were words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.  

In our household, although acts of service and quality time are always encouraged, Artifcts has become our go-to love language. It transcends the generations, spans the distances, and lets us all know we are loved.  

Saying I Love You Artifcts Style 

My entire family knows I say I love you with Artifcts. There are freshly baked late-night chocolate chip cookies and banana breads when coming home from school, and of course, the recipes (and love notes) that follow via Artifcts. 

Gifts are given along with the Artifcts (and the explanations for why THIS gift) as are adventures. One of my favorite Artifcts surprises to date has been gifting our then 19-year-old a trip to Iceland, itinerary revealed and documented via Artifcts.  

I am lucky and thankful that the Artifcts go both ways in our household. My husband is especially sweet, Artifcting the moments, mementos, and memories (and cards!) that say, “I love you.” I was brought to tears when he Artifcted a piece of art he bought me AND included an audio recording of him explaining why he picked THAT piece and what it meant to him. Call me strictly sentimental, but I love having his voice safely paired with the Artifct. 

Saying I Love You Across Generations 

My mother-in-law and my husband have an especially meaningful love language in Artifcts. She’s been Artifcting since we launched and now has several hundred Artifcts and counting. She loves being able to share her stories and memories with her children and grandchildren, and my husband loves learning bits and pieces about his mom that he never knew before. (The grandchildren do too!) 

For instance, little did we know that @Grandmom counts an eight-foot python skin among her most prized possessions until she shared the Artifct with us! 


Who knew? We didn't until Grandmom Artifcted it!

My father has also recently gotten into the Artifcting mode, creating and privately sharing Artifcts with our family, documenting his life from 4H to retirement. I learned things about my father I never knew, and that is the greatest gift of all.  

As for us, and our generation? My husband and I Artifct FOR our children since we know they may not always remember the small moments and otherwise important details. My husband Artifcted the older kids’ swim trophies as we downsized, and I routinely Artifct special moments for my daughter, from learning to ride a bike to skiing her first black diamond. Sure, she’ll have the photos, thousands of them, but photos can’t talk and one day she’ll want to know the stories behind those photos.  


First time skiing a black diamond.Important firsts, remembered always. Made with love on Artifcts. 

Saying I Love You Across Distances 

One of the great things about Artifcts is that you don’t have to physically be there to send and share Artifcts. Part of my family lives in Denmark, and we capture and share the small moments, favorite recipes, and special memories via Artifcts.  

I love waking up to a new Artifct from my Danish family. We’ve even utilized Artifcts to subvert the insanely slow snail mail process. This year for my birthday, my Danish family Artifcted my birthday card, complete with photos, a funny story, and videos! It was the best and greenest birthday greeting yet.  

We also create Artifcts Circles when we travel together, or celebrate holidays together, sharing Artifcts, stories, and memories for all to see. It helps make the distances between seem not so large and gives us all something to look back on and cherish until our next time together.  

Creating A Sixth Love Language? 

We’ve come to think of Artifcts as our sixth love language, although I suppose it’s more of an amalgamation of several of Chapman’s original love languages. In our house, Artifcts always include positive words of affirmation. Creating the Artifcts requires quality time and is without a doubt a service to the next (and current!) generation, in addition to being one of the best gifts ever. 

We’re biased for sure, but we can’t think of a better way to say I love you than Artifcts!  

Wishing you and yours a Happy Valentine’s Day.


© 2024 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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A Trip Down Memory Lane, No Car Required 

Reading time: 3 minutes 

Did you know that over the past 2.5 years, our co-founders and guest editors have authored 218 ARTIcles by Artifcts? That’s a lot of writing AND a lot of information!  

With the genealogy conference RootsTech fast approaching, we thought it would be fun to resurface some of our most popular family history pieces to get us all thinking about how DO we preserve our family histories and tell our stories. We suspect that just like the Artifcts we each create, no two answers will be exactly the same.  

Winning By A Landslide 

First up, and winning by a landslide by number of views and clicks in recent weeks, is What Should You Do With Old Scrapbooks. Scrapbooking is more than a hobby. It’s a time-consuming, big-hearted passion and nearly infinite outlet for creativity. These works of art visualize people’s stories. 

The thing is scrapbooks also take up space and collect dust. They feature people no longer in our lives. They can raise more questions than answers with the items they feature. And then, the physical reality – they fall apart. Read on for more on scrapbooking dilemmas and possible solutions. 

A fun and not-too distant second is Could You And Should You Part With a Family Photo, authored by guest editor and genealogist legend, Thomas MacEntee. In this piece, Thomas explores drastic methods used to ensure future access to precious family photos. You might just discover you have company in your own approach to old family photos! 

How To’s and Family Stories Near the Top 

It seems our members have also really enjoyed digging in and learning HOW to Artifct to preserve all their family stories, memories, and histories tied to the items they keep and pass down for the next generation. Our How to Artifct Family History and Heirlooms was our most popular “How-To” series, and our ARTIcles story titled, I’m The Family Keeper, What Do I Do With It All was wildly popular with folks looking for answers to the perpetual question of “What do I do with all my ‘stuff’!” 

Another fan favorite has been How Two Sisters Overcame the Guilt To Lighten The Load Of Family Heirlooms, authored by guest editor Rachel Donnelly, co-founder of PALS. Rachel shares her heartful and funny story of how she and her sister successfully navigated an 1890s family home chock full of family heirlooms.  

Just Because 

And in our “just because” category our co-founders Heather and Ellen decided to get in on the fun and share their favorite family history themed ARTIcles from the past two years. For Heather, it’s A Family History in Five Artifcts, where Artifcts Community member @Grandmom accepted the challenge of documenting her family story with five Artifcts. Amazing, and daunting when you think about it.  

As for Ellen, her favorite is Did You Know Great Grandpa Was an Inventor? When we don’t pause to ask the questions and listen to the answers, so many great tales—fish tales and those more ... verifiable—are lost to time. 

We hope you’ll enjoy this trip down memory lane as much as we did when we researched it! And, if you plan on being in Salt Lake City for RootsTech 2024, please stop by Booth #1517 to say hello to our co-founders and team. We love meeting our Artifcts members in real life! 

© 2024 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Data Privacy Day 2024: Privacy Is a Basic Right

Reading time: 4 minutes

Data Privacy Day is an international event that occurs every year on 28 January. Never heard of it? Chances are that you're not alone. The day was created back in 2007 to bring awareness to the “importance of respecting privacy, safeguarding data, and enabling trust.”  

As you may know, one of our founding cornerstones here at Artifcts is privacy. We believe your information is yours and yours alone. We will not sell or otherwise transact the personal information you entrust with us. Similarly, we want to ensure you are in control of your information and data, which is why we’ve made it easy for you to upload and download your files and your Artifcts.  

We also make it clear in our Content & Community Policy that you retain not only the right but also the ownership of any information you use in creating your Artifcts. This includes copyright. Sadly, not all online platforms share our beliefs. When signing up for new online or app based services, be on the lookout for: 

      • Memberships plans that end up turning your information public or shared within the platform if you do not pay certain continuing fees. 
      • Where the personal information you upload is being stored – a private server or another third-party platform like YouTube with another set of privacy practices to review? 
      • Who owns the information you upload? For example, does it become part of the commercial commons in the name of the greater good? Do you support that no matter what (because there may be no going back)?
      • Default settings that favor making everything public, including your name, posts, and permission to use your activity for targeted ads and other purposes.
      • If it’s a site or service you will depend upon, consider setting a Google Alert for changes in privacy policies, data breaches and other key terms so that if you should miss an email from the company or a headline, you’ll have yet another opportunity to hear about it and take action.

What Should You Take Away from Recent Media Headlines? 

Recent news reports underscore the importance of putting your privacy first and foremost. Forbes reported on 22 January 2024 that security researchers had recently uncovered the largest data breach to date, including 26 billion personal records across Dropbox, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others. The researchers note that malicious actors could "leverage the aggregated data for a large range of attacks, including identity theft, sophisticated phishing schemes, targeted cyber-attacks, and unauthorized access to personal and sensitive accounts."  

Seeing reports like this can lead us to falsely believe that there isn't much we, as individuals, can do to protect our privacy. That’s simply not true. There are several simple steps you can take to enhance your privacy and safeguard your data wherever you have online accounts and transactions. And, if you’re a member of the Arti Community, you will have received an email from us today encouraging you to do a privacy check up on, following many of these same guidelines: 

  • PASSWORDS. Have you changed yours lately? We recommend you update your passwords at least once a year. And while you’re at it, ensure that your password is a strong password, that is, take that leap to 16 characters, and include alpha numeric and special characters.   
  • TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION. You may not like another step in your process, but you should use it, where available, especially when dealing with financial or personal, sensitive information, like medical records. Two factor authentication simply means that in addition to your login, you will be prompted for a second means of authenticating that it’s really you. This could be a text, a call, or an email. Do a quick scrub of all your online banking and medical accounts to double check that two factor authentication is set up, and that your second means of authentication is up to date.   
  • PRIVATE BROWSING. Don’t want Google to track your every move? Consider using a private window in your Chrome, Brave, Safari, or other web browser (go to File > New Private Window, or similar path). Or use a privacy-first browser from the get-go, such as Duck Duck Go or Brave. These browsers do not store your personal information or follow you around the Web with ads.    
  • WHEN IN DOUBT, DON'T CLICK! If you receive an email from an unknown sender with an attachment or link, don’t download, don’t click, and just to be extra safe, delete it. What if you receive the link from a trusted contact? If it is out of the ordinary, or something you were not expecting, text, call, or otherwise double check outside of email just to be safe. Cyber criminals are getting smarter and developing new tactics seemingly daily, including spoofing (i.e. impersonating) email addresses.  

Interested in learning more or looking for other resources? The Future of Privacy Forum has helpful infographics and educational materials, especially tips for protecting youth online. The Electronic Privacy Information Center also offers simple guidelines for consumer privacy and a break-down of some of the most common internet scams. 


© 2024 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Books Help Put 'Stuff' Into Perspective

Did any new books find a cozy spot on your bookshelves this holiday season?

On the recommendation of a friend, I picked up The Postcard by Anne Berest. That last copy available at my local book shop.

No more than five pages into the book, I was up out of my reading chair, my rooibos chai tea set aside and cooling rapidly, making notes. This book is practically an award-winning advertisement for Artifcts. In the space of mere pages, I picked out these gems:

Anne, the lead voice for much of the book, confesses she could not have picked her relatives out of a photo and "felt a wave of shame."

How many of us feel the same way? The shame is often about "Why didn't I listen?" or the close cousin, "Why didn't I ask?" This is why we say, "Storytellers, Beware!" And how many of us are willing to invest the time and energy to actually get answers? While some enjoy chasing histories, it's not for us all, and then so much is lost.

Anne also equates her mother Lelia's memory boxes and archival boxes to "little coffins."

We feel the same. If you are willing to spend the money to protect items you care about with archival boxes, please Artifct them so you give life to the items within for anyone who comes across them. And here's an extra tip learned the hard way: if you are going to frame an object, first take pictures to use for your Artifct so that you aren't wrestling with glare once framed.

Lelia refers to the mixture of fact and family lore "blended stories" that fit her own ideas and theories about the past.

Family lore is important. It's instructive, it's real, it may be all you have to go on. Sometimes, we'd even say, it's as interesting to hear the many versions of a past as the facts that may be discoverable.

Excerpts from The Postcard, Ann Berest, highlighted

It's not until a bit later in the book that I saw another important theme emerge regarding the seemingly trivial 'stuff' we accumulate during our lifetimes. Lelia is rummaging through a desk drawer, flicking past check stubs, bills, old day planners, ticket stubs and more, and the book's author writes that these were, "[  ] All the scraps of paper we accumulate over the years, the kind future generations will hesitate to throw away when they're emptying out our drawers after we're gone."

You know it's true!

But now you have Artifcts, so no excuse. So much less guilt and loss when you declutter.

Of course, it's not always the scraps of paper. Later in the book when Anne is in the waiting room of the office of a private investigator she's looking at the knickknacks and debating: sentimental or bought to fill and decorate the space?

It's normal to wonder. It's also normal to be completely frustrated when you have no answers and it's a space more personal to you, like the home of a loved one.

When someone asks me about when, where, or what to Artifct, I think, "YES!" The fact is, now is when we live. Artifct anytime, anywhere, anything that speaks to you. It will become a part of your story.

And I wish you a more relaxing book read than I experienced this go around when Artifcts was constantly on my mind!


You may also enjoy:

The Three Things I Wish My Mother Had Artifcted

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

The Artifcts Bookshelf: Books About or Related to 'Stuff'


© 2024 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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We All Deserve a Purple Bin

Reading time: 3 minutes

My semitranslucent, plastic purple bin measures roughly 10 inches by 12 inches. I chose it because it was easy to spot and distinguish from my other storage bins. Already 20 years old, I’ve transported the bin to homes in six US states; it sits quietly, minding its own business in my dark attic. 

What’s in the bin? Hard to remember most days.  

If I were to lose it or Mother Nature were to destroy it, I’d feel the pain of curiosity about my loss, but I wouldn’t be able to quantify that loss. And in all honesty, I’d get over it a lot faster than I did the destruction of a beautiful handmade piece of pottery I purchased in New Mexico when a shelf fell and crushed it. 

Pulling down my purple bin from the attic, and peeking inside, I rediscover the mishmash of my life: old cards, letters, and postcards; graduation cords, metals, and diplomas; “Collectors'” coins and stamps of dubious real value (Do you have any of these collections?), and the like. Hidden within, however, are also irreplaceable notes from my daughter and husband, my parents and siblings; my first passport with visas from Sweden and the Czech Republic FULL of memories; my baby book, largely empty, but containing information that I know is only recorded within its pages.

purple plastic bin full of papers, awards, coins, books, and more

Truly a mish mash, but at least it's contained.

I’d wager you have stuff like this, too. (Unless it’s STILL at your parents’ house???) It’s the ‘stuff’ we each keep and tote with us through life because of the memories it holds, life changing to the mere, “It made me smile” and even, “Oh, the nostalgia!”


Will you Artifct your purple bin? 

Personally, I’ve Artifcted only a few items in my purple bin, tagging each #purplebin. Think of this as a digital shoebox.

I really do love to travel so I Artifcted that first passport. I also Artifcted some foreign currency I’ve been holding onto and the stories of my travels through South Sudan, Haiti, and other places less often traveled. And I Artifcted particularly special cards and letters, each made meaningful by some combination of who it was from, the occasion, and the message shared.  

I know the contents of my purple bin would almost certainly never create conflict in my family. In fact, I’d be okay with recycling nearly everything in it, no harm done. 

But for all of you reading this, I’ll ask you (and myself) this: What if we’re wrong?  And do not say you won't care, because you'll be dead. We're sure you don't reallllly want to do that to your loved ones, create unnecessary conflict and make the grieving process that much worse, that is.

Take another look inside your purple bin. Could the contents mean more than you know to others in your life? If there’s any doubt at all, Artifct that, share with them now, or indicate “In the future” who should have the items so you can pass down stories and memories, not just things. 


Beware the purple bin: It is off limits to decluttering and downsizing

My mom had a purple bin. It was a cardboard box in the back of the closet in the den. It was full of school papers, artwork and similar from my siblings and me. When I was maybe 10 years old, I went through it and divided its contents among my siblings without my mother’s permission.  

None of us really wanted any of it and so we threw most of it away. But it’s only now, as a parent myself, that I realize that among the many mistakes I made in that scenario, a big one was the assumption that my mother saved it all for us to have someday when we were older. Maybe, maybe not. 

Looking in my own purple bin, I know that I have saved so many things from my daughter for my own memories and happiness. Pure love and kindness are written all over each of them. Isn’t that enough reason to keep them? 

Yes, it's enough. 

It is enough that the contents of the purple bin are special to you. We humans are tactile creatures. For most of us, to varying degrees, tangible items provide reassurance and peace of mind. The items also fill in our memory gaps, “Oh, yeah, that’s right, we went to Disney World when I was seven and I was so excited to convert my allowance into Disney dollars. But, ugh, do you remember how hot it was?” 

We should all take care and give space (and grace) for the purple bin. 

What's in your purple bin?


© 2024 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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