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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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The Top 10 ARTIcles by Artifcts of 2023

With a plethora of digital media outlets, influencer-promoted blogs, and industry-specific publications at our fingertips, what did our readers enjoy most from ARTIcles by Artifcts during 2023? We dove into the data to learn more and consider what’s next in ARTIcles by Artifcts for 2024. 

Data can still be a bit like reading tea leaves, but we emerged from the numbers with a few insights: you value structured approaches to consider new issues and behaviors, enjoy focusing on ‘stuff’ problems—great news, because we're a company focused on ‘stuff’—and appreciate tips and ‘how to’s.’ Within these three broad insights, you may be surprised by the variety of topics that broke through to capture your attention and deserve spots on the top 10 list of ARTIcles by Artifcts for 2023.

#10

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 … Read the full ARTIcles story.

You may also be interested in, “How to Artifct Childhood Mementos.”

#9 

What is a Family Keeper, and Why Should I Care?

Have you heard of a “family keeper?” We meet so many through Artifcts that we discuss them quite often and with deep fondness. But it’s only recently that we discovered there’s more than one definition for a family keeper, and the definition you know may influence how you interact with the keeper in your family, too.  

In Artifcts parlance, a family keeper is a positive, warm concept. A person becomes the family keeper by default or by choice ... Read the full ARTIcles story.

You may also be interested in, “I’m the Family Keeper! What Do I Do with It All?

#8 

How to Artifct Family Heirlooms and History

Often genealogists and/or the "family keepers" find themselves on lonely hunts for the details of the near to distant past that help them piece together their family history. If you truly seek to preserve memories and keep the family history alive, the scattered facts, photos, and memories locked into family trees and timelines or behind paywalls might be your best tools and your biggest hurdles.  

Here are a few of our favorite combos of photos, video, and audio for a family history experience that will stand the test of time and engage ... Read the full ARTIcles story.

You may also be interested in, “How to Share Genealogy Stories with Non-Genealogists.

#7

How Swedish Death Cleaning Helps You During a Move 

The new show streaming on Peacock, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, has returned author Margareta Magnusson’s concept of “Swedish death cleaning” to the headlines. The idea she outlined in her book is deceptively simple: Continuously organize and declutter your home to reduce the burden on loved ones of sifting through hundreds of objects to decide what is significant and should be kept, and what needs to move on out, “to make the later years of our lives as comfortable and stress-free as possible.” 
  
Artifcting is a means to continuously and easily … Read the full ARTIcles story.

You may also be interested in the first story on this topic from Artifcts, published in early 2022, “The Joys of Swedish Death Cleaning.

#6

Could You and Should You Part with a Family Photo?

I’ll admit I’m a sucker for click-bait news headlines like the recent one, 'I sold a family heirloom to pay for my wedding - guests are now refusing to attend'. Basically, the eldest son in a family inherited a valuable family heirloom and decided to sell it in order to fund a lavish destination wedding. His reasoning? “I'm not much for big family traditions, so although it's a nice thing to have, I'm not massively attached to it. I have plenty of other good memories of my father and I don't need a fancy heirloom to remember him by ...” Read the full ARTIcles story.

You may also be interested in, “Interrogation Techniques for Photos: What is this Old Photo?” 

#5

How to Artifct That Photo

One month from now, you’ll remember the outlines of the day when you took that photo because it rained hard, you and the kids got lost, and you packed only one of the camp chairs. One year from now it might become a generic, “We went camping at Eagle’s Nest last year.” And a decade from now it could be, “We used to camp a lot.” Which story do you want to hear? Which tells you more about the moment, the people, and the colorful, painful, humorous facts of life? … Read the full ARTIcles story.

You may also be interested in, “Photos & Stories Go Better Together: A Conversation with the CEO of The Photo Managers.”  

#4

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

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 … Read the full ARTIcles story.

You may also be interested in, “From Rare Art to Family Heirlooms: Tips from a Master as You Consider Selling Your ‘Stuff.’

#3

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 … Read the full ARTIcles story.

You may also be interested in, “Keepsake Boxes, Remembrance Boxes, Memento Boxes: Boxes Abound!”

#2

Decluttering for Dementia

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.  

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 … Read the full ARTIcles story.

You may also be interested in, “Decluttering for Dementia: Paper Clutter.

#1

Swedish Death Cleaning a Marriage

Yep, you read that right. If you can Swedish Death Clean a home, why not a marriage? 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 … Read the full ARTIcles story.

You may also be interested in, “Everything You Wanted to Know About Appraisals but were Afraid to Ask.” 

_________________

With the top 10 locked in for 2023, we wish you well and will see you again in 2024 for more ARTIcles that will offer you fresh takes and perspective on all matters 'stuff.' Stay tuned!

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If you'd like to suggest a topic for future ARTIcles, please write to us at Editor@Artifcts.com.

© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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The Accidental Gift List of Artifcts

Why an “accidental” gift list? The list sort of crept up on us. We've met such amazing people as we’ve been building Artifcts and they offer equally amazing products and services, so suddenly you have a gift list. Besides, while we hope Artifcts is among the gifts you are giving this year, we know it cannot be the ONLY. 🙂

Our list could easily be dozens long, but we decided to choose just a few across a spectrum of products and services that we think is reflective of the wonderfully diverse Arti Community.

With no further ado, our 2023 list:

(We receive no referral fees from this list.)

Lighthouse shining brightly toward the camera lens at night

Stunning, Frame-worthy Photography

You’ll want to build another wall in your home just to make space for pics from these photographers. Whether you’d enjoy wild horses, big game animals of Africa, ocean animals, or rock stars, perhaps @RodneyBursiel’s photographs are just what you need. More of a peaceful sky full of stars person? Check out just a few of the lighthouses at night photographed by David Zapatka in the #Stars_and_lighthouses series. Links to purchase from these photographers is in the "Details" of each Artifct.

 

RELATED ARTICLES BY ARTIFCTS:

The Story of the (Rhino) of Wimberley

Storied Lighthouses: At Night!

Vinyl records inside a black archival box with peek window

Archival Storage Boxes, Bins, and More

Archival Methods offers elegant, sturdy, reliable, and practical bins, boxes, and more for all the 'stuff' we love to and choose to keep. Vinyl records, old photos, precious textiles – they can help you with it all! And no, it's generally not as simple as looking for an acid-free keepsake box or other resource. Check them out!

 

RELATED ARTICLES BY ARTIFCTS:

Sounds of Summer: Vinyl Edition

What Should You Do With Old Scrapbooks?

Matt Paxton, Artifcts, Keep the Memories, Lost the Stuff

Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff

There is a reason Matt Paxton chose to join our advisory board at Artifcts. No technology better fits the learnings and needs of his life cleaning out houses for the last 20 years than Artifcts. His book is loaded with resources and oh-so-relatable stories. While an “easy read” it’s not a light-weight book with tired advice. It will truly help you, make you smile along the way, and maybe ease some tough conversations with loved ones.

 

RELATED ARTICLES BY ARTIFCTS

15 Decluttering Targets, with tips from Matt Paxton

Watch replays of Evenings with Artifcts with Paxton: Fall 2022 and Spring 2023

Akin stacked cloth custom family history books

Genealogical Dig, Story, & Custom Display Box

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, or documents. What further sets Akin apart from simple memento boxes is that it offers services bundled around the box for custom-designed books and genealogy research, too.

RELATED ARTICLES BY ARTIFCTS

Keepsake, Remembrance, and Memento Boxes - Boxes Abound!

Pictures of documents and photos scattered on a table

Gift Services: Photo Organizing, Genealogy Research

A gift that says, "I love you," is sometimes that magical blend of helping to destress folks who want to take care of their photos and family legacy but need a little help and even some company in the process. Check out Legacy Tree Genealogists and find a professional photo organizer near you via The Photo Managers.

 

RELATED ARTICLES BY ARTIFCTS

Photos & Stories Go Better Together: A Conversation with the CEO of The Photo Managers

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

Artifcts Pairs Beautifully with These Gifts

Having just written out this gift list, we admit, an Artifcts membership pairs beautifully with each of these gifts.

      • If you are going to pay to frame it or pop it in an archival box, you should really Artifct it so you remember where you got it, what it even is, and can also attach the receipt and certificate of authenticity.  
      • If you are on the move or decluttering, Artifcts is the ultimate app to help save the memories so you can lighten the load and move forward.  
      • If you are digging into family history and genealogy, share it with the ease and privacy of a digital Artifct so that even the youngest generation will be interested in tuning in!
      • If you love the picture, remember, a photo can’t talk – we can animate them in creepy ways, but one generation removed the story will be lost and two generations removed you won’t know who is in the photo. Besides, no one is going to look through 10s of 1000s of photos. Artifct the photos (and family documents!) that matter most and the stories that make the moment captured. Artifcts Concierge Services can help, too - people love having someone there to share their stories with and family is not always available or skilled to help. 

If you'd like to suggest a topic for future ARTIcles, please write to us at Editor@Artifcts.com.

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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What’s In a (Brand) Name?

I went from a “company” everyone knew by its initials alone, “CIA,” to a made-up composite word people loved to pronounce with a French twist, “Knoema,” to one that is spelled informally without the second a, “Artifcts.”

You may wonder, perhaps with a hint of exasperation, why, oh, why do companies deliberately misspell their names?

Trends in naming come and go. For a while you saw 'x' replacing letters, like Spanx. You’ve also seen the small first letter theme, like eBay or iTunes, matching the brand name with its means of distribution, as in e-electronic or i-Internet 

You likely know many companies that have opted, like Artifcts, to exclude or replace vowels, e.g., Flickr, Lyft, Tumblr, Sweepr, and Swype. Even conferences have gotten in on the game; THRIV and HLTH come to mind.

We asked Maureen Longoria, Co-founder and CEO of LivNow Relocation, another startup from the AARP AgeTech Collaborative, about her brand’s missing vowel. “That’s kind of a funny story. We started out as Live Now Relocation. We soon realized people were calling us ‘LIVE’ like ‘a live concert’ rather than ‘LIVE’ like ‘I’m living my best life'. We dropped the ‘e’ and combined the words to become LivNow, because we want to help people live their best lives by helping them get to a senior living community.” 

There are a myriad of other reasons for unconventional spellings, too, including: 

      • Appeal and intrigue to the curious, playful, imaginative, and young/young-at-heart 
      • Securing and enforcing a trademark 
      • Reinforcing the brand, and this is where Artifcts especially shines. 

The Missing ‘A’ of Artifcts 

Choosing the name Artifcts was an intentional element of our strategy back in the winter of 2020/2021 to reinforce our brand feel and purpose, serving as the lighthouse for all we do: artifacts (aka ‘stuff’). 

We like to say we are redefining 'artifacts' one painting, monkey in a barrel, and whiskey glass at a time. Artifcts you create do not need to be valuable, historically relevant, part of a collection, or family heirlooms. An Artifct is anything that has meaning to you

Artifcts also rolls off the tongue when verb-ified, helping us to emphasize this is not just a product, it’s a way of life. We are Artifcting daily. It’s in our hearts, homes, and habits. Artifcts make our lives richer, more connected-more meaningful, and set ourselves up for less-burdened futures. 

Unique Brand Names Can Also Be Uniquely Problematic 

We went in eyes wide open to the challenges our brand name would create, although we admittedly thought we could tackle them a bit faster than has proven viable. Chief among those is the disregard of Google for startups and anything outside the norm, including brand names.

Simply stated, Google hates us.

Google insists on autocorrecting the spelling of our name. And this need not be the case! Crunchbase plays nicely; you can easily look us up there. Someday, when everyone knows and loves us already, Google will rethink its anti-startup ways.

Until then we have no choice but to bid on Google Ad Words for our own trademarked brand name or rely on people clicking, “Search instead for Artifcts.” I do this anyway, every day, all day for my searches for other companies, people, and more, so it’s second nature to me. But not all people are so vigilant. Why can’t Google learn faster?!

Google autocorrects Artifcts to Artifacts

We humans naturally, mentally autocorrect.

Without a second thought, our brains fill in the rejected 'a.' Thinking 'Artifacts' still grounds you to our core concept of ‘stuff,’ but it can also mean that you suddenly find yourself thinking, “Wait, what letter was missing?”

We know the feeling.

And we’re leaning in to celebrate our rejected ‘a’ and help anyone who maybe can’t remember. Enjoy this playful surprise from all of us at Artifcts, A-r-t-i-f-c-t-s. 

                    Artifacts becomes Artifcts with animation to pop out the extra a

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© 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!

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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What Should You Artifct (Now)?

Even the most ardent Artifcts supporters struggle sometimes to get started. And then they do start and suddenly they are late for meetings because they are enjoying the experience.

If you find yourself stuck, or maybe you think you don’t even have much to Artifct, see if any of these experiences from around the Arti Community get your wheels turning.

No Idea Where to Start.  

One of Artifcts’ own advisory board members confessed, “I joined Artifcts because what you’ve built is amazing. It will change relationships and relationships to ‘stuff’ forever, but I was slow to start Artifcting. I just kept over thinking it! I wanted to start with the most meaningful items to me, but that was delaying me. So, I turned around at my desk and I Artifcted the first interesting thing I saw. It was a dried flower my daughter had picked for me outside her preschool. She’s thoughtful like that – it’s so her. That’s all it took to get going.”

grid of Artifcts from egoody

 
 
Well, Artifcts co-founder Ellen Goodwin has about as eclectic an Artifcts collection as it gets. Her recent Artifcts include a Mother's Day card, a rock from Tucson, a Taylor Swift concert, DAR insignia, furniture and more!

I Needed to Artifct the Most Valuable, Quickly. 

One woman shared, “At first, I went collection by collection and just added a few words about each item so I knew my most valuable possessions were safe in Artifcts. Now I’m going back through my Artifcts to add the stories. I want to be able to say these things, have them here. I’ve also started adding audio and video to some, too.” The "Alberto Lagos Print" Artifct captures the provenance of an item in a big way. Check it out ->

My Adult Daughter Inspires My Artifcting.

A gentleman wrote that his daughter is his Artifcting inspiration. “She Artifcts a lot at night and when I wake up, I have new Artifcts she’s shared with me waiting. They give me ideas about other things I want to Artifct."

Black outline of a bell with a coral colored dot Look for the alarm bell on Artifcts.com and the Artifcts mobile app for your newest alerts!

He continued, "This morning my daughter’s Artifct about a purse she bought in Paris reminded me to Artifct my wallet. I bought it in a market in Brazil years ago during a work trip that my wife accompanied me on. She drove me crazy trying to pick the best one. I think of her every time I grab it. I don’t think I’ll ever finish Artifcting. It’s more like a way of life now.” His story reminded us of our #HabitChange story in ARTIcles ->

I don’t think I’ll ever finish Artifcting. It’s more like a way of life now.

It Usually Starts with a Story I Tell.

“Sometimes I catch myself telling a funny or very personal story, and realize in that moment, I really need to Artifct it. I’ll add or take a photo to go with it; other times I record a quick voice memo of myself telling the story. I think my family will really appreciate it one day.”

lightbulb Arti Tip! Use a tag like #LifeStories, #EarliestMemory, #LessonLearned, and #BestTallTales to help quickly find all the stories of yours you love best. Just click the tag to sort your Artifcts!

Don’t Judge: I Made an Outline.

At an Arti Workshop last month, one woman told us that in preparation for starting to Artifct, she made an outline. We were intrigued. “I wanted to capture objects from my personal and work lives, my childhood and adulthood, each of my hobbies (stained glassed, travel, and reading), and about key relationships. I’m working on each of those one at a time. I got the idea from an Artifcts post that talked about going room by room. I just used different life-based groupings!” 

Example checklist from Artifcts

 
 
If you like outlines and lists, you might like our inspirational checklists you can download.

It Was Bulk Trash Day.

Sometimes the act of giving or throwing stuff away is your ultimate motivator. “I dragged this old trunk to the curb that first I had used for sleepaway camp and then my son, too. And I looked at it and realized I needed to Artifct it! It held so many memories. I couldn’t let it go completely.” 

Black travel trunk sitting on cement curb

 
 
Sometimes our stuff outlasts the memories. But with Artifcts, you can let go of the stuff and hold onto the memories!

What will you Artifct first? Next? Share with us at Editor@Artifcts.com; we’d love to feature your own stories!

Happy Artifcting!

_________________

Artifcting Starter Resources 

We have all sorts of helpful resources that we want to be sure you know about to take the pressure off and let the fun begin: 

Inspiration Checklists

Videos on YouTube

Artifcting Quick Tips

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Top 5 Vintage Shops in the World

Reading time: 3 minutes 
 
Ready for the list? This is from real world experience, based on 1000s of conversations with people just like you.
 
TOP 5 VINTAGE SHOPS IN THE WORLD

      1. Your closet 
      2. Your workshop 
      3. Your craft room 
      4. Your attic 
      5. Your storage unit

Maybe not in that order.  And maybe replace "your" with Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, or Neighbor Alice.

You surely have read the headlines that convey “No one wants your stuff," and yet we know, nostalgia and vintage are all the rage and antiquing a constant. Just because your family may not want large pieces of furniture or a complete set of non-dishwasher safe china, it does not mean they care any less about you, your stories, and specific mementos from your home. 

Your home is truly the best vintage shop in the world. 

Let your children and grandchildren into your closet.

If not them, your “people,” whoever they are! We guarantee that the items they choose they will also keep and use more than any of the stuff you may assume they should have or will want. This is especially true if they know the stories behind the objects.

--> That was the blanket you bought in Peru on your first solo trip abroad.

--> These are vintage t-shirts your grandpa sent to you from his collection.

--> And  that  is a painting of the first car of the first train your great grandfather ran on his railroad.

three folded vintage t-shirts side by side

Sometimes items lurk in our drawers, bins, and closets simply because they give us reassurance just by being there. But imagine setting them free to be enjoyed. You can even set your own return policy or date if it will make you feel better! And you can always see them anytime here on Artifcts if you capture them first!

"Exactly! I’m bound by a return policy. I asked my parents about a music box that I have always loved and was just collecting dust in an upstairs closet. They agreed I could take it under one condition: At any time they might ask me to bring it back. Deal!" recalled Artifcts co-founder Ellen Goodwin. "I'm still working on getting them to let me borrow a couple of old photos, too."

black and white photo of two men in suits on old bikes

 
 
A photo that provokes more questions than enjoyment right now. View Artifct ->

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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