Give the gift small icon
Give the gift big icon
Give the gift
of Artifcts

The perfect gift for the person
in your life who has everything.

Give a gift Close
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.
Share With Friends
Minimalism Techniques that Can Help Us All

A decade or so ago when Zoë Kim, of Raising Simple, began taking small steps toward a more minimalist lifestyle, it was her kitchen that was her motivator. How could she function when there was so much stuff, food stuff to use and not waste, but also stuff to fit into cupboards, wash and dry, and generally even remember to use! Why did she even have five wooden spoons when a few would do?

"That {stuff} began to weigh on me as I started to grow my family." - Zoë Kim

Back then, minimalism was not the popular theme it is today. There weren't podcasts, checklists, blogs, and books at every turn telling you how to start down this path. Advice was lacking that was practical, especially for this mom of two. No way was she going to tackle her whole house never mind start counting how many she had of each item in her home.

Fast forward to 2023. She's the mom to seven children in a blended family with her partner Matt Paxton. While he had spent nearly his entire career helping hoarders, supporting people who need to clean out their houses and others who were downsizing, he was never a minimalist. He liked his stuff, and the stuff from his dad - so many paintings! - and his grandfather. He liked it all so much that as he wrestled with how to pack it up to combine households with Zoë, he almost didn't move! (Read more about that experience in his book Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff.)

The key for me was recognizing I had enough. Enough is the important word. I did not need more. - Matt Paxton

Minimalist Hacks for Daily Life (with Kids!)

Zoë and Matt appeared recently on an episode of Evenings with Artifcts, and they shared their combined insights on parenting as practical minimalists.

At the heart of this way of living for their family is that they have dramatically reduced the number of decisions they have to make on a daily basis, from getting dressed to setting the table for dinner. And for people like Zoë who are naturally disorganized, it's hard for her to make much of a mess when she only owns three pairs of jeans. And she can fold them any which way she pleases, and they'll fit in her drawer!

Practical minimalism helped Zoë, who is disorganized at heart, live a fuller, less stressful life!

See if any of these hacks from Zoë and Matt can help you!

      • Create a space for things. It will fill up, then you'll have to clear it out. This is great for kids (a locker, cubby, or drawer) and kids at heart, too. Artifcts cofounder Ellen Goodwin loves these bright, recycled, collapsible crates that come in multiple sizes.
      • Use it or lose it. It's been multiple seasons or years? Give it to someone who needs it or will at least put it to go use today. And stay tuned, because we'll have a great guide for you this Earth Day (April 22).
      • One in, one out. That applies to nearly anything: t-shirts, hats, shoes, books! And pause to Artifct the sentimental ones first! Who needs all these t-shirts anyway?
      • Model the behavior you want to see. Let "them," whomever that is in your life, see you make those same hard choices and let go of things. 
      • Give a fixed time limit. Your spouse or child says they want to sell it? Okay, set a limit of 48 hours and then move it on out, one way or another.
      • Capture the stories. Telling the stories helps us let go of items. You'll find you don't need the item itself as much as you thought you do. Artifct it; let it go. Here's one man's story of capturing stories in order to downsize.
      • Collections can exist, but maybe not all at once. You might not have room to display it all without drowning your space. Rotate monthly which items in your collection you display, whether that's a statute or a painting. Here's the painting Matt Paxton currently has on his office wall.
I give credit to Marie Kondo on this one. I think it's important to frame it not as what you are letting go of but what you are deciding to keep. - Zoë Kim

At the end of the day, Zoë and Matt are united in the view that they have a better life because they have less stuff. 

We encourage any of you seeking additional practical daily living tips to read Zoë's book, too. Maybe buy the digital version - an act that means one less book enters your home! 

Happy Artifcting!


© 2024 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Read more
#HabitChange: Rescue and Preserve Those Memories!

Reading time: 3 minutes 

This is something like a public service announcement based on a eureka moment I had one weekend back in November. I have a new rescue plan for my online memories! 

I was checking my email accounts—you know, the “real” one and the “shopping” one—and two messages back-to-back caught my attention. One was from Shutterfly with a “Your memories from this week 13 years ago,” subject. The other was “Your memories on Facebook,” featuring one of my posts from this day in 2015. 

I am all for solid habits and routines keeping my life sane. Now I have a new one: When I get these reminders, I will pause and ask myself, “Is this a memory worth rescuing?”  

If yes, I will Artifct that.  

If you care about your memories, use a product designed for that purpose 

Social media and photobook builders do not want to make it easy to download and use your content elsewhere, search quickly, or even keep your privacy at the forefront. They have one function – communication and sharing with your “people,” whomever they may be. And why would they do otherwise? They deliver on exactly what they are designed for! 

The same goes for single purpose apps. Really, you are only going to capture your voice your loved one’s voice? Why would I invest time and money in that when I could have so much more in the same or less time with Artifcts? 

It’s okay to want and expect more 

We have evolved in the digital world and can now help you to capture, preserve, and share your memories and reap other benefits, too! 

While at Artifcts we often argue a picture is not worth 1,000 words if you don’t know the story and you don’t know the person is, we can bend those rules. Take this example. 

Which is better?

Option 1: Compressed pics with a few details. 


Option 2: The full story with audio and video, too? 

(P.S. The friend in question refuses to use social media, so it’s impossible to share this memory with her there, only trapped in random text messages or emails to be buried and lost!) 

At Artifcts that’s exactly what we do for our members. Bring your entire memory together where it’s still easy to share, never compressed, always searchable and downloadable in a human friendly format, and has still MORE benefits, supporting move, insurance, and estate planning being just three. 

Now, if you are going to put this plan into action, too, I want to warn you about a hiccup when it comes to Facebook: the photos you posted, Facebook has compressed. Truth is that nine times out of 10 I don’t care and can just download the image(s) from Facebook and use it the Artifct. If I do care, I can grab the original photo from my digital storage and add that to the Artifct later. 

And if you wonder, yes, I used the text I posted on Facebook to quickly create the Artifct. I went back the next day to edit the Artifct and add more to the story that I remembered but hadn’t wanted to share on Facebook. A win for memories! 


You may also enjoy our past #HabitChange ARTIcles:

We're Talking #HabitChange in the New Year

#HabitChange: Back to School Edition


© 2024 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Read more
To Boldly Go Where No Card Has Gone Before

Reading time: 2 minutes 

If you’re anything like me, you might have a love-hate relationship with holiday cards. We love them because they are festive, fun, and a great excuse to send and receive snail mail. Yes, snail mail. We hate them because they require us to make some tough decisions—Photos? Text? Layout? Yikes!—and they require a bit of advance planning that doesn’t always happen as planned, especially on the heels of Thanksgiving. 

So, what’s a card lover to do? I discovered last year by pure accident (and out of frustration) a fun and easy way to get more out of our holiday cards, and bring all those small moments, memories, and stories to life for loved ones near and far.  

My secret? Artifcts! And yes, although Artifcts is great for preserving the cards that we RECEIVE, I’m talking about using Artifcts here for the cards you SEND. How else do you include photos, videos, AND audio recordings in a paper-based card? Bonus, there is no word limit in your Artifcts. You can tell your story, the full story, without counting characters and agonizing over whether or not to include the pet’s name since that would take up an extra five characters. (Sadly, our beloved golden retriever did not make the cut on our printed card this year, but he certainly made our Artifcts card!) 

Intrigued? Read on for our step-by-step guide to spreading holiday cheer the Artifcts way.  

Six Steps to Create Your Unique & Dynamic Holiday Card 

Artifcts helps you bring your holiday card to life with all the details that a regular, printed card simply cannot provide. 

  1. Pick your card, any card, digital or physical. Or maybe life interferes, and you skip the card entirely. Our holiday card last year was aptly titled, The Holiday Card That Wasn’t. Click to learn why. You’ll laugh. 
  2. Type in or handwrite your heartfelt holiday wishes
  3. Create your holiday card Artifct. You can add photos, video, and audio. Want to tell an even longer story? Use the “@” symbol when drafting your description to link to other Artifcts you’ve created to share even more details and memories. You can see my 2023 holiday card Artifct here. (Not yet a member? Sign up free to create your holiday card Artifct.)
  4. Print your Artifcts’ QR code. Click on the QR code icon in your Artifct to get a printable code that’s unique to your new Artifct.                                                                    dddd

  5. Pop your QR code into your card. Or tape it to the back. That’s what we do! Or, if you’re doing this with way more time than I ever allow myself, include the digital QR code in your printed holiday card.
  6. Ready. Set. Mail. Spread that holiday cheer! 

Now you can sit back, relax, and wait for the excited, “That's so cool,” texts, calls, and emails to roll in.

We took our family by surprise last year with our Artifcts card, so much so that they no sooner had Thanksgiving than they were already asking us if we were doing it again this year. (Yes, of course we are!)  

Have another tip for making your holiday card come to life? We’d love to hear from you. Contact us at 


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Read more
Three Tips for Elevating Your At-Home Artifcts Photography

This week, as Save the Photos Month continues, we asked interiors and brand photographer Linda Pordon to share three tips to help elevate your at-home Artifcts photography.

Linda is a recognized interiors and brand photographer based out of the New York/New Jersey area. Her work has been published in outlets including Better Homes and Gardens, Domino, Elle Decor, and the NY Times. Additionally, Linda is the owner and founder of Proppe Shoppe, a collection of curated vintage and one-of-a-kind decorative objects and furnishings for the home. (Maybe you'll nod with understanding when you see some of these one-of-a-kind finds didn't even make it to the store front but are instead futured in Linda's public Artifcts collection!)

Through her photography, Linda aims to convey the feel and depth of the pieces and spaces she photographs but, more importantly, she aims to create emotional connections to these subjects through her lens.

Hear from Linda directly for a few easy tips you can try at home to elevate the photography of your cherished objects without any fancy equipment (or frustration!). 


Let's start off by going against what you may think ... the "best light" does not necessarily mean find the brightest light possible (or upping your exposure on your phone editing mode) to make it all "light and bright."  I have photographed and sold $800 sculptures that look like they were taken inside a dark closet. But oh they were sexy. The shadows made you feel something when you looked at it. Sometimes, less is more. So a few tips for lighting:

It may seem counterintuitive but TURN YOUR LIGHTS OFF. Use natural and only natural light if you can.

      • Bring objects outside. The perfect weather to photograph items is an overcast, cloudy day.  It gives even but bright-enough light.  If it’s sunny out, find a spot in the shade to place your object.  When outdoors, you want to make sure your light is even and not too bright.  Watch out for dark shadows that will overpower your images and distract.
      • When photographing inside, just open your shades and set up near a window ... just not directly in the sun.  If your brightest room is too bright, use a bedsheet to hang or tape over the window to diffuse the light a bit. Get creative!
      • If you can't move your object, make sure you try to minimize the artificial lighting that is needed or opt to bring lights closer vs have the orange glare and reflection of overhead lights.

Play with (gasp) shadows.  

I said it. Use objects near or in front of your light to create shadows. A window pane. Hold a stem of flowers in front of the light. A raffia hat. You get the point. This is so easy to do and creates such high drama and can be done with things you have around the house. Your images will be looking "editorial" in no time.

White wood interior home staircase down to open foyer with pale oak flooring

I was photographing my Artifcts on a very rainy and dark day, so I used the space in our home that has the most windows and late afternoon light - our foyer.
© 2023 Linda Pordon. All Rights Reserved.



If you're photographing several objects or an ongoing collection, try to make sure your color story and mood are consistent.

Do you want all bright pops of color behind your objects? Simple white? Dark and moody? The world is your oyster. My absolute favorite backgrounds are Replica Surfaces Boards (not sponsored but they should be!) which are lightweight and completely wipeable. The marble truly looks like marble and I have photographed it in every lighting possible. I wouldn't lie to you.  

If you don't want to invest in purchasing backgrounds, you can grab cheap poster board and keep it white or paint it any color or texture you feel like. Or hang a sheet against a wall and drape it down onto the floor. You would be shocked at how many brands are keeping their backgrounds pretty organic and homemade these days, but the images still look stunning and professional. 

Bright open foyer with small table and ti-fold white paper board

Here I just added a table for height (even any stool with a fabric over it would do) and then a rather cheap white tri-fold poster board to cover the trim work detail on the back wall.
© 2023 Linda Pordon. All Rights Reserved.



The biggest advice I would give you is take your time. Really think about your shot. Take your time holding your camera (even if it's your iPhone).  Look around at the light. When my kids photograph with me for fun, I always have them walk around and take pictures with their hands to really see things before they get distracted with clicking the shutter. Think before you get snap happy!

A few concrete things to focus on:

Composition: This is a really big part of photography and a hard thing to break down succinctly, but try to be mindful of the following:

      • Leave negative space. It lets the eye breathe and actually makes your object more of a focal point.
      • Group smaller objects closer together to give them more "weight" on camera (groups of 3 are generally pleasing to the eye).
      • Vary up your angles. Make sure you get at least one head-on shot. Stand on a stool and take some overhead.
      • Watch your sight lines. Make sure key details aren't blocked. Try to see what your eye is drawn to and how it moves across an image.  

GIF carousel of photos of the same object from different angles

All taken by an iPhone 11 Pro Max (yes, I'm waiting for the new phone); edited on Lightroom mobile.
© 2023 Linda Pordon. All Rights Reserved.

Gridlines: My #1 tactical PLEASE PLEASE do this is get your picture straight.

If you are taking pictures crooked, panned up or down and not taking a minute to get as straight as possible, your images are always going to look more amateur. I can forgive almost any sin above the crooked image. An iPhone trick here is to turn your gridlines on (Settings -> Camera -> Grid set to green), and voila! The Lightroom app (available on iOS and Android) also has a great feature to auto correct gridlines (Geometry -> Upright click this toggle -> keep to "Auto," generally).

Editing: If you looked at a professional photographer's images, they should look pretty good SOOC (straight out of camera), but we would all be lying if we said post-production editing isn't a large part of the creative process.

There are some horrible filters out there, but there are also some good free and cheap phone apps you can use for your camera phone photos.  Lightroom is my favorite for photo editing. I also love Color Story. Your iPhone's built-in camera editing tools aren't all that shabby either. Try to keep your highlights down, your shadows up, and play with the contrast and warmth as much as you want. If you find settings you love using, try to consistently apply them to your images.  

iPhone vs DLSR - Which final photo would you choose?

Taken by iPhone 11 Pro Max; edited on Lightroom mobile  Taken by Nikon Z6 mirrorless DSLR; edited on Lightroom desktop

(LEFT) Taken by iPhone 11 Pro Max; edited on Lightroom mobile.
(RIGHT) Taken by Nikon Z6 mirrorless DSLR; edited on Lightroom desktop.
© 2023 Linda Pordon. All Rights Reserved.


Last, but not least, have fun with it.

Photography is such a beautiful way to tell a story about something or someone you love. My favorite photos are the ones where I wasn't overthinking, I wasn't hyper focused on the technical pieces, and I was just inspired by what I was shooting. Enjoy the gift of translating things you love for others to see and enjoy.  

Original Clay Sculpture, Earth, Linda Pordon

Pop over to Linda Pordon's public Artifcts collection to view the "finished" Artifct from her rain-filled day of Artifcts photography. A bonus Artifct is there awaiting you with an oh-so-sweet story.

Share with us Artifcts you've created putting some of Linda's tips to the test at Or share directly with Artifcts on Facebook or @TheArtiLife on Instagram - we love videos too!

Want to learn more from Linda? Watch our Evenings with Artifcts event replay!

Happy Artifcting!



Linda Pordon is an interior and commercial brand photographer based out of Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey. She has a B.S. in Finance and started her career in forensic investigations at PricewaterhouseCoopers before pivoting to marketing as an executive at American Express in the premium product space for 15 years. Linda draws on her 20-year tenure in corporate marketing and strategy to enable her to better translate the visions and stories of businesses in her photography work. When she's not behind the lens, Linda has her hands full with her favorite ever-moving subjects, her three young sons, 5, 7, & 9 years old.

© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Read more
Make a To-Do List That’s More Than a Task Manager

Reading time: 1 minute

"Key to efficiency," that’s what people claim about to-do lists. Well, even those of us who love a good to-do list to track and tick off our accomplishments sometimes begrudge those same lists.

To-do lists are never ending. We can’t always control what goes into them. And we often ignore the lists that might help to rejuvenate us and prioritize life instead those lists that push us into getting done those tasks that “must” get done and on deadline.

We created inspiration checklists at Artifcts last year in part because we knew sometimes adopting a new habit—like Artifcting—needs a jumpstart mixed with accountability. The other part was that the Arti Community shares with us so many brilliant ideas for how and why and what they Artifct that we wanted to pull together everything and share it right back with all of you. Now you can simply have fun without the stress you may feel with “What next?” or “What now?” with a whole home full of options.

We started by publishing a series of 12 checklists on Can you guess which of those original checklists has been the most popular to date? The list to rule them all: declutter! Stuff really can overwhelm us.

Recently we previewed two new checklists, graduates and sports, in our social media channels, both of which are now available online. And finally this week we released two more to enjoy over the weekend. Their themes? All things photos and culinary connections.

Pause and create a free Artifct


On top of all that, we have still another surprise coming this winter to make these checklists more personal and interactive to help you stay motivated, have fun, and learn new things about each other with every Artifct you create and (maybe) share. 

Have ideas for items we’ve missed on a checklist? Wishing for a specific theme in our future checklists? We’d love to hear from you at

Happy Artifcting!


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Read more
Interrogation Techniques for Photos: What is This Old Photo? 

Reading time: 4 minutes

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it 1,000 times – photos really aren’t worth 1,000 words. And photos can't talk. Yes, you can animate them. You can even use AI to simulate a loved one’s voice. And yet … it’s entirely possible that one generation removed, the story is lost. And two generations removed, no one remembers with certainty who that is in the photo.

You’ve saved all these photos only to, what, make new research projects for future genealogists? 

We’ve written before about the need to rescue photos. We’ve offered tips, too. We are not advocates for projects for projects sake. For the best, most loved, and truly tantalizing photos in your collection, test out these interrogation techniques on your photos, and those you may inherit. You may just discover new personal or even world history in the process! 

Interrogation Techniques for Photos: Let’s Get Beyond the Five Ws

Psst… the same applies to postcards! Here’s an oldie but a goodie in the Artifcts collection.

Interrogation is about reading your subject. In this case, the subject is a photo and the clues it can offer about its past to share stories with friends and loved ones. 


This is as close as you get to the 5 Ws but starting with “what’s true” can be simpler. “What’s true” even leads off our tip lightbulb on each Artifct you create in the “Description,” thanks to writer Jeff Greenwald.

    • Who is in the photo? 
    • When was it taken? 
    • Where? 
    • Who took the photo (if not you), and how did it come into your possession? Did it come down through your mother’s or father’s family? 
    • Is there any information written on it (if it’s a print) or in a caption or the metadata (if it’s digital)? 
    • What type of photo is it (E.g., black and white, colorized, CDV, real photo postcard)?  
    • What are the original dimensions of the photo? 
    • If printed, is it matte, glossy, added borders, or other adornments? 

Word of caution! If your photo, like this example, was pasted into a scrapbook or similar, and you suspect information is hidden on the back, start first by digitizing it. Then most of us should ask a professional archivist for help. If you are more daring, or less concerned if you damage the photo further, you can certainly purchase tools and learn online about approaches to help uncover the information, like applying hot air with a hairdryer. 


Learn more about old photos you may have inherited from your family with our guest Lisa Lisson, genealogy researcher and techie behind Are You My Cousin? Genealogy. 

5 Unique Types of Vintage Photographs | Beyond Black and White with Lisa Lisson.



      • What is the photo of? 
              • E.g., nature, a party, a portrait, a group of people, a cool building 
      • What is happening in the photo? 
              • E.g., blowing out candles, dancing, a ceremony, just smiling, nothing – simple still-life  
      • Is it staged or casual? 
              • This might also inform why it was taken. Do you know? A formal posed photo of an individual or family is very different than a candid moment, in motion or unaware. If it is staged, could it even be part of professional portfolio of work?


      • Do you see: Shadowing, twilight, a moody setting? Or is this bright and sunshiny fun? Somber faces? Joyous expressions?
      • And closely related, how does the photo make YOU feel? The artistry could invoke feelings or your attachment to the people or places in the photo. 


      • Anything surprising in the photo, like a logo, a signature, or an object? Check the background and all around! 
      • Maybe who’s together in the photo is even odd, what they are wearing, type of hairstyles, or perhaps where it was taken.


      • As in why save this photo? What does it mean to you? What did it mean to the person who gave it to you? Why is it special?  
      • And what do you want others to know about it? 
      • Is this photo best paired with another photo, an object, a document, or even a video, to fully tell its story?  



Looking for Assistance? There’s Tech that Can Help! 

When context clues and family are not enough to help, you may opt for some technical reinforcement. For our co-founder Ellen’s mysterious family members on bikes, there are a few tools she’s curious to test. Maybe these tools will help you, too! Let us know at what you discover.

Many tools include facial recognition these days and automatic tagging, likely including the built-in technology that came with your phone as well as popular cloud storage sites, like Google. Review the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions before you get started so you know the ins and outs of the data you’ll begin to share and collect for your privacy and the privacy of others who are featured in your photos. 

Related Faces' patented technology uses the US Library of Congress database as its testing input along with known persons others and you add to identify people in photos. Related Faces offers a free 14-day trial membership.

New arrival PhotoDater™, from MyHeritage, according to the in-person announcement from the company’s CEO at RootsTech 2023. Listen in around minute 38. The system uses everything from the furniture, hairstyles, and textiles to approximate the date a photo was taken. That can be a real help in narrowing where to look in a family tree for the likely people and places in a photo! Like Related Faces, MyHeritage offers a free 14-day trial membership.  

Happy Artifcting!


You may also enjoy these additional ARTIcles by Artifcts:

Could You and Should You Part With a Family Photo?

What Should You Do With Old Scrapbooks?

A Virtual Impossibility: Keeping Up With All My Digital Photos


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Read more
Articles Themes
Contact the Editor
Have feedback? Artifacts to feature? We’d love to hear from you.
Your privacy

This website uses only essential cookies to provide reliable and secure services, streamline your experience, allow you to share content from this website on social media, and to analyze how our Site is used. Learn more about these cookies and cookie settings.

Accept & Continue
Oops! This Web Browser Version is Unsupported

You received this warning because you are using an unsupported browser. Some features of Artifcts will not be available or will be displayed improperly until you update to the latest version or change browsers.

Image for unsupported banner Oops! This Web Browser is Unsupported

You received this warning because you are using an unsupported browser. Some features of Artifcts will not be available or will be displayed improperly until you update to the latest version or change browsers.

Unsupported banner close icon Close