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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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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 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 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! 


© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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“I'm Not Sentimental” 

Do you ever watch a commercial, read a book, or learn about a new product (like cremation ashes turned into jewelry or custom framing for an old soccer jersey) and think, "Yup, not for me. I'm not sentimental." I feel this way all the time, and you've told us that many of you feel the same way. 

You know what makes me pause though? The thought that I could very well get hit by a bus tomorrow and my 12-year-old daughter would have very faded memories of me, of our relationship, and of all those things I tried to share with her in life, to help her be her best self. That makes me realize that even if sentimentality does not have a place in my life, making sure my daughter has a history certainly does. 

As it turns out, I’m not sentimental about ‘stuff;’ I’m sentimental about the memories trapped inside the stuff. The stuff is just a great reminder to pull me back and remind me to take a moment to share those stories and memories.

I’m not sentimental about ‘stuff;’ I’m sentimental about the memories trapped inside the stuff.

My sister looks at this a bit differently. Also not very sentimental, she’s more interested in sharing discoveries with others, and these discoveries are fairly endless. She shares to encourage others to see bits of the world—beautifully designed objects, cultural landmarks, stunning photos—through her eyes and then go experience each themselves.  

Put another way, she’s sentimental about the experiences trapped inside the stuff. 

For others I know, keeping a record is unrelated to sentimentality – it's literally about the stuff. What is it, what's it worth, and maybe even what should I do with it now that my parents gave it all to me. That kind of stuff. Inevitably, even this person says, “None of it, well, except these three things, means anything to me. I don’t need it." So maybe if we’re not sentimental, maybe there is something to the idea of a legacy. Not legacy in the sense of wealth. Material possessions are a very small subset of legacy (which we chatted about here).  

Sentimental or Not, Take a Moment to Remember

Memories fade and are imperfect no matter your age. We all face this. We are in the wrong place at the wrong time and never get the stories to those who will enjoy or need them. Time slips away. Capturing bits of you and crafting that legacy is frankly up to each of us. 

Memories fade and are imperfect no matter your age.

There are so many ways to give shape to a legacy. Creating srapbooks and photobooks as well as sitting down for videographies or personal podcasts probably top the list. Open form and fill in the blank journals, pen to paper or digital, seem to still have a place in our modern, digital world as well. We of course encourage you to Artifct. Artifcting is new and we're learning every day how we can continute to build a place to meet your needs beyond what it is today where everything is centralized, accessible, sharable, and transferable!  

The point is, capturing legacy is not something for people who identify as being sentimental or are of a certain age or social stature. It's for all people, all ages, which is the gentle reminder we wanted to offer today. So, what have you done for your legacy lately? 


Let's see those Artifcts! Have a fun story to share? Ping us at We'd love to feature you in our curator's choice series.

© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Debunking the Top 3 Myths About Our 'Stuff'

As we approach the end of Artifcts’ first year in business, Ellen and I can’t help but get a little nostalgic about all the people whose paths we’ve crossed as we launched Artifcts into the world. Our collaborators have ranged from world travelers to authors to experts in home organization and downsizing. It’s an ever-growing group of people with one thing in common: ‘stuff.’ Lots and lots of stuff, and all the history, memories, and stories that go along with it.

Most of the time, our conversations evolve at a breakneck pace with one comment or observation very quickly leading to another and like magic, new Artifcts are born. Sometimes, however, we must first overcome skepticism related to our relationships with stuff or just sheer inertia. If you know anything about us, you know those hurdles don’t last long.

We have observed over the past year that most skepticism is directly related to three main myths about all our stuff. (And yes, even as Artifcts’ founders, we’re sometimes guilty of these too.)

Myth #1: No one wants my stuff.

Yes, it's been written about ad-nauseum in major print and digital publications, but we think based on our experience over the year, they’re missing the mark. True, your children may not want random pieces of furniture with no history, story, or memory associated with them, but, that dining room table, the one they grew up with, that’s probably a keeper. Love letters that Grandpa sent to Grandma during WWII? A family treasure.

Taking a moment to document and share the story, history, and memory behind the item makes it much more valuable and not just in the financial sense. We’re talking about heart value here, the emotional connection that binds one generation to the next. We often hear from Arti members that once they share the story, memory, or meaning behind the item, it suddenly goes from “No one wants it,” to “It’s been rehomed!” Sometimes even the most insignificant object can take on new meaning once the story is discovered. Click here to view the story behind co-founder Ellen Goodwin’s recently rehomed and repurposed treasure.


Myth #2: Photos are worth 1,000 words.

Sorry, Dear Reader, we beg to differ with you here. I spent an entire weekend at a genealogy conference listening to people talk about how they wished their ancestors had written more than just the date and, if they were lucky, who was in the photo. What was the story behind that pose? That trip? That house? Photos are only worth the words that are somehow (safely) attached to them.

Trust me, I know first-hand. I’m still trying to track down details of photos my mother saved from high school. Who, what, when, where, and most of all (to me at least), why? Why that photo? We can almost always guarantee winning over the most skeptical of skeptics when we share the photo example. Still curious? Take a look at one of @Grandmom’s public Artifcts to learn the story behind her photo.


Myth #3: I don’t have anything old, valuable, or otherwise “Artifct-able.”

Good try, but we’re not buying it. We’re redefining Artifcts together. Your Artifcts don’t have to be old, historically significant, or valuable. An Artifct is anything that has meaning to you. It’s that simple.

That drawer of birthday cards, love notes, and letters from my family and friends. Yep, all Artifcts. No monetary value whatsoever, but I’d be sad to lose them. Same thing with all my daughter’s artistic creations. Chances are she’s not going to be the next Picasso, but I cherish her paintings, drawings, and ceramics all the same. And if she happens to be the next Picasso? I’ll have the history and stories securely documented! Hello provenance.

We'd love to hear from you! What do you think? Convinced? Not convinced? Have another Artifcts myth you’d like us to bust? We’re game! And if you need only another little nudge or two, stay tuned. We have a lot more coming, including habit change tips, handy checklists, and even our first Arti Evening series!

Happy Artifcting!


© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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From Rare Art to Family Heirlooms: Tips From a Master as You Consider Selling Your 'Stuff'

When Anthony Bourdain passed away, he left behind an estate of objects, objects surely with stories. Or not. 

Some stories were no more than, “It belonged to him,” and if you admired his work or his person, maybe that would have been enough to compel you to purchase a piece from his estate auction. Other objects carried the weight of the star and a glimmer of who Anthony Bourdain was in the moment and place when the object became a part of his life. Pieces of his legacy.

Auction Catalog Lark Mason Associates Property of Anthony Bourdain     Bob Kramer Custom Knife for Anthony Bourdain with story about the knife

The auction catalog created for the personal collection of Anthony Bourdain.
So many stories behind those items.

Famous or not, the same is true for the objects of your life. Much of what you own you simply own. It decorates your home or maybe serves some functional requirement—why, hello, Chair. But some objects are more than objects, to you. You know where that print hung above your parents’ sofa. That 3000-piece train collection that was a joy for all and chief resident of your uncle's 500 square foot basement. And don’t forget that seemingly random ceramic jar set. You bought those in a small town outside Lake Garda, Italy, during your honeymoon. 

Other objects come into your life through others, such as the passing of a relative. These are especially challenging objects. You may not know anything about them other than who gave them to you. Maybe you chose a few items to take from your grandmother’s estate or an item was bequeathed to you and you think you can’t go against your grandmother’s wishes and have to hold onto it. 

Objects have histories, people have histories, and it all gets really complicated.

At Artifcts, we simplify and try to alleviate some of the burden stuff can create by making it easy to capture the history, life experiences, and memories behind objects. This holds true whether or not you keep the item.

To understand more about factors to consider when you want to sell an item, we sat down with Lark Mason of Antiques Roadshow fame and who you can often find these days at his New Braunfels, Texas-based auction house Lark Mason Associates. His message was clear: “I wish people understood their own motivations [regarding objects] more. Are they deriving an emotional charge from owning it? Do they want to make money somehow?”

The motivation for selling is vital to Lark Mason Associates because a seller’s motivations can influence whether the sale is a success in the eye of the beholder - What’s the minimum acceptable price? What is the sale timeline? (If you’re in a rush, you may have to forgo some of the value premium in favor of closing the deal.)

So, if you have you decided to sell an item, take Mason’s advice and pause and reflect on your goals and motivations:

        • Are you downsizing and must part with some objects?
        • Do the objects simply no longer fit your lifestyle or current decor, so you want to sell them and use the proceeds to replace them?
        • Do you have legal or financial problems that require you to divest assets?
        • Are these inherited and/or you are charged with dispersing the estate? If there’s a will, what does it say to do with proceeds of any sales (e.g. divide among children, philanthropies, other)?
        • Are you sure you’re ready to let go? Acknowledge your emotional attachments to the items. Artifct to remember and to maybe share those Artifcts with others who have ties to the items. 

As Mason gently noted, once you let go of an item, its identity is changed for good. Someone will bring the object home to a new environment, display it in a new way, not how your grandmother did. Not with the companion pieces or surrounding bookcase. (Although we see attempts to do so! Check out this Artifct.) Not with her favorite music playing in the background. This means then that “Even those ties to what ‘once was’ get weakened over time—now you have random grouping of objects that have been inherited through lethargy, financial, and emotional connections—and shift,” said Mason. 

We know the content of Bourdain’s personal collection moved on to new homes, and to Mason’s point, they likely took on new identities. Maybe the chef’s knife is no longer actively used and sits encased. Or his desk has become a foray table featuring photos of a family Bourdain never met. So it goes for him and for all of us. 

But what legacy do you want to leave behind? And how will you make the most of the objects you accumulate as you live your life? Documenting and readying them for sale is one option, and Artifcts is here to help guide and support you if you do.

Happy Artifcting!


If you have items you would like to consign or auction through Lark Mason Associates or are in the market for a new piece, visit 

© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Curious if That Object Is Valuable, Not Just Sentimental?

You've probably heard of TV shows like Antiques Roadshow and Pawn Stars. Maybe you're a top fan? Sometimes curiosity gets the better of us and we just want to know if this family heirloom, collectible, or other object is worth more than our sentimental attachments to it. Sometimes we are working to be better prepared for the inevitable. We can't take the stuff with us in the end and someone will have to deal with it when we're gone.

Now paid members of Artifcts can send Artifcts to Heritage Auctions Appraisal Services, Inc. for free valuations. Each will give you a sense for the potential value (or value range) for your item or comparable items in today's market. Just open your Artifct, and click the button, "What's it worth?"  We have Valuation Services FAQs ready for you, too!Button that says "What's it worth?" follow by text "Request a free valuation. Learn more."

Our process offers a seamless result. When ready, your free valuation will appear in the Documentation section of your Artifct, and you'll receive an email notification so you know it's ready and waiting for you. You can even choose to ask Heritage Auctions for a no obligation appraisal estimate in case you expect you will need one for insurance, estate, or other purposes.

Acknowledge and consent to terms of free valuation request on your Artifct from Heritage Auctions

Which of your Artifcts may have hidden value? Find out today with our new "What's it worth?" feature.

Happy Artifcting!


© 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! 


© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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