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At Artifcts We’re Talking #HabitChange

Ellen Goodwin, Artifcts
January 18, 2023

I spent a week last summer with my aunt and uncle in Colorado. Each an engineer by training, and family genealogists and historians by passion, our conversations were wide ranging and invariably fascinating.  

What made this visit noteworthy was it was the first since my uncle retired. With a lot more time on his hands, he's in the throes of, you guessed it, #HabitChange. No more daily drive to the university where he worked. No more rush to feed the dogs, take out the trash, and out the door he goes to run his engineering lab. Instead, like a scene out of the movie The Intern, starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro, he now has to make a daily plan to get out of the house and engage with the world as he steps into and shapes his retired life and lifestyle. 

Habits are of course hard to change. I am reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, and it's a must read in my view because it speaks to all of us no matter our day-to-day way of living. 

For example, are you the type of person for whom the moment an item is added to your to-do list you ignore it as though it were written in invisible ink? Or do you sweat that list out until it's done, hopefully as soon as possible, and then cross it off your list with great satisfaction? 

Yup, James Clear sees us all and has strategies to help. 

As I read, I could see how the new habit of Artifcting fits into Clear’s strategies for #HabitChange and wanted to share my translation of a couple of his tips to help you build as you curate your Artifcts collection. Taken slightly out of context, the best line of the book may even be, “Stop thinking about your environment as filled with objects. Start thinking about it as filled with relationships.” Relationships reflect interactions, shape habits. Don’t you want to capture those meaningful relationships, memories, stories? We think so, thus, Artifcts! 

Three Habit Strategies for the #Artilife 

STRATEGY ONE 

Like everything else in life, to create new habits, you need to consider first what “rewards” you want from, in this case, Artifcting. Depending on your situation, maybe you identify with one of these, and it will help guide you to the right habit-based approach to Artifcting and what you do with your Artifct once you create it: 

  • I need to be better organized and in greater control of the ‘stuff’ around me. Consider our 5 Ways to Start Artifcting, room by room, most valuable, most cherished, that closet you hate to open … 
  • All this stuff will not fit in my new home. There’s no arguing with dimensions. Get Artifcting early and don’t forget to include those dimensions in the Artifct details! 
  • I want to make sure my loved one is not forgotten. Artifcting need not be a solo experience. Create an invite-only circle to share and remember those who you have lost. 
  • I need help researching my family history. Invite-only circles on Artifcts are one place to start so that you can invite family in to see heirlooms, but social media groups are often another great source of information, and you can easily share your Artifcts into social media for more fact and family lore gathering. 
  • I love swapping good stories, laughing and remembering with friends and family. So try sharing an Artifct or two and see how that works for you. 

STRATEGY TWO 

Frame Artifcting as a "when" activity so it becomes intentional. The key here is to be very specific! 

  • "Every Tuesday at 9 pm, I'll grab my phone and create two new Artifcts." 
  • "When I add something into storage, I'll Artifct it first."
  • “When I buy something over $100, I will ask myself, “Is this an Artifct?” and Artifct it on the spot (with receipt!) and fill in the full details later. 
  • "When I unpack my suitcase, I'll Artifct my new mementos as I place them around the house." 
  • "Every Friday when my son brings his art folder home, I’ll Artifct his projects with him while he has an after-school snack.” 

STRATEGY THREE 

Try out what Clear calls "habit stacking" to incorporate Artifcting into your regular routines and existing habits. 

  • "Each season when I organize my closet, I'll Artifct any sentimental pieces, and then sort the items into three piles: keep, consignment, or donation." 
  • "As I review my estate plan each year, I will check that my Artifcts are included in the tangible assets memorandum."
  • “As I add an item to her baby keepsakes box, I will Artifct it. Then I will put the box away immediately.” 
  • "After we clean out the woodshop each winter, we will take breaks. During the breaks we’ll Artifct special projects and tools.” 

Still wondering whether and why to adopt an Artifcting habit? You're busy and you have your ways, after all! My uncle made an excellent point by referencing the 1982 sci-fi film Blade Runner, "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain."

Don't lose your history. Pass it on with all the beautiful photos, videos, audio, and story details included, Artifct by Artifct. 

Happy Artifcting! 

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 

Any mistakes in the interpretation of the habits to Artifcting belong to Artifcts. In fact, we would encourage you to download the free habit cheat sheets from the author at atomichabits.com/cheatsheet

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How to Artifct those Recipes

Creative Ways to Preserve and Share Recipes 

Food holds unique powers to remind us of special moments, regular table gatherings, travels to new places, and everything in between. Whether you are replicating a dish you fell in love with at a restaurant or a family favorite, Artifcts will preserve your recipes and make them so much easier to share and access from anywhere. 

Here are a few of our favorite combos of photos, video, and audio for memorable recipes: 

  • Photos of the cookbook + recipe page + making of + finished result + a video snippet of a critical step 
  • Photos of recipe card + heirloom cooking tools + old photo when the food was served + an audio recording about the importance of the recipe to you/your family 
  • Old apron + original tin + three recipes that always go with that tin 
  • Photo of the restaurant (or you at the restaurant, even better!) + the item on the menu or finished plate + your version + audio about the recipe's origins 

handwritten recipe for Peanut Butter Candy Cookies on an old sheet of paper

 
Click the image to check out the Artifcted recipe and the woman behind the recipe!
 
 

Don't Forget! 

Details matter, especially if you want happy people at the table. Let people know how many people it really serves, how you change ingredients or the measurements, and other tips to keep the magic of the recipe alive. 

And share it out with those who will enjoy the recipes as much as you, from foodies like you to family and friends and church groups.

_________________

Have another tip or approach for recipes?  

Share on social media or write to us at Editor@Artifcts.com.  

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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15 Years in Storage. Now What?

"I said I would go through it someday. I know I don’t need it all. But there it sat for over 15 years while I paid for the storage. I couldn't even remember what was in storage, much less enjoy it.” That’s what one Arti Community member of the boomer generation told us recently. We know she is not alone. 

According to AARP magazine (April/May 2021) review of commercial storage trends, the older you are, the longer you keep items in storage. And, on average, boomers only visit their storage units once per month. How critical is that storage? How much cost and uncertainty does it create?

“Our family moved a lot over the span of 20 years, and I was in constant survival mode. There was no time to ponder what we kept and what we let go of much less the good stories to pass on,” said another Arti Community member.

He was trying to justify to himself why he and his partner kept moving the same ‘stuff’ from house to house, even if only to put back in storage in the next garage, closet, and attic. (And that eventually became a downsizing adventure of epic proportions. Read about it here.)

We have also heard from people who held onto items and expressed some version of, “Surely it will still be worth something, and I can sell it,” only to find it degraded over time in the hot attic, the style or material was no longer in vogue when recovered from the dusty bins, or some other reason meant that no, it was a lost cause. Think you're immune? 

How to Make the Most of the Money We Do Spend on Storage

Keep in mind, storage is not always at an offsite property where you pay a monthly fee. Want to talk about expensive storage, consider the climate controlled space you live in!

#1  KEEP TRACK OF WHAT YOU STORE

If nothing else, make a list or take pictures of the bulky and or valuable, to you, items. Better yet, Artifct what you store. Otherwise, you know what they say, ... out of sight, out of mind. 

When you create an Artifct for the items that go in, you can also affix a QR code to the box to help you easily recall what’s inside each box or bin when you scan the code in its storage location. Tag Artifcted items with two tags: one that's simply #Storage and a second that's the specific location, such as #attic, #fronthallcloset, or #storageunit. That way with a single click on any #storage tag you can easily review what you're storing, and second click #attic, and "Oh, yes, that's what's up there. Maybe it's time to come out and get used."  

If you're working with a professional moving and storage company, they'll usually create an inventory list for practical and insurance purposes. We encourage you to consider this the "if nothing else" bare minimum. You deserve more than an inventory of stuff.

#2  THINK AHEAD TO CAPTURE USEFUL DETAILS

Photos of the objects, for sure, but also a video snippet that gives a 360-degree view if an item is particularly special or valuable. Grab approximate dimensions and weight, too. This will help whether you need to move it again or decide to sell it. This is why if you ever meet up with an Artifcts team member in person, you'll catch us handing out pocket-sized tape measures.

#3  ASK BEFORE YOU STORE, THEN STORE, AND STORE SAFELY

We know it might be hard to let go of that piece of furniture that's been in your family for decades or even generations. Likewise, those bins of old papers and photos that you know tell your family's story. Oh, and the collections that snuck up on you and now when you see it all together brings back so many memories. Yes, all very tempting to store for someone someday to enjoy again.

  • If you Artifct it and share it, with one click you can ask someone if they want the item if you do not. No? Let it go to a new home.
  • If you elect to store it, and let's assume that space is climate controlled, please still think about what boxes and bins you are storing them in. So many of the popular bins will let of gasses ("off-gas" in archival terms) and ruin photos, film, and documents. And without proper care, textiles can also be a lost cause. You don't want to realize you lost the history and stored what's now trash. Use archival quality materials. Monocurate, and similar archival services, offers great tips and supplies. 

What's In Your Storage?

Don’t wait. Find out. Record it. Artifct it. And think about whether it still belongs! 

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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How to Artifct That Clothing

Do It, Before the Moths Get to It! 

The colors, textures, and patterns can take you back to a moment in time in a blink. Unless you’ve had clothing professionally preserved—same goes for other textiles, of course—these treasures are vulnerable to holes, fading, and other wear and tear. And the reality is that in many cases, they have an expiration date in terms of actually being used or usable because fashions change, we grow up, and sometimes our day-to-day lives require different attire.  

Whether you hold on to it, donate it, or otherwise rehome it, we have borrowed a few ideas from the Arti Community to help you Artifct those textiles: 

  • Honeymoon shoes + picture together + Dad’s voice telling their story 
  • Work photo + what you wore + the story of that day 
  • Ticket stub + that t-shirt you bought + original signed CD cover (gasp!) + a few fun details of why you love(d) that music group 
  • Pictures of a quilt + grandma telling you about her passion of quilting + note she sent you when she gave it to you + story of its place in your home and life 
  • Baby dress + photo of her wearing it + who gave it to her + why you’re still holding onto it 

Little girl dressed as Snow White talking to Disney employee dressed the same

 
Who wore it better? Click the image to see the twirl and the happy seamstress, aka Grandma.

Don’t Forget 

Textiles really are very vulnerable to their environments. And take up space. And for many carry feelings of guilt. It’s fine. Take this Artifcting moment just for you - remember what it means to you and decide on a better home if it’s not yours. 

What’s old could be new again. If you love the game, you can make good money in resale markets for textiles of all types. Start local. For designer items we love the work of Jussara Lee, NYC so you can keep and upcycle it or move it on. There are also big box national outlets—such as ThredUp, The RealReal, and even Etsy—if that’s better for you. 

_________________

Have another tip or approach for clothing and textiles?  

Share on social media or write to us at Editor@Artifcts.com.  

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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