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Rescue Mission: That's more than a photo! Artifct that.

Ellen Goodwin, Artifcts
February 09, 2022

I'm a gregarious person by nature. So, when I'd visit home during undergrad and chatter away about economics and business, it was somewhat disappointing to be met with polite disinterest. My siblings went to a private art school. Surprise, surprise, their stories, supported with paintings, sketches, and designs, were far more captivating.

I imagine historians and genealogists must suffer a similar reception as they try to get others excited about newly discovered ship passenger manifests or wedding announcements from obscure 19th century newspapers. Black and white details with no life behind them, no immediate relevance to embrace. 

Recently, however, I've come to appreciate how even seemingly random photos can provide the spark connecting us to each other, to histories, to futures unknown, if given the opportunity. The ice hiker shown above? He might be a lost cause. A researcher could find an explorers club to assist, trace the clothing, authenticate the age of the paper maybe? We've had more luck with personal photos and histories of late at Artifcts. In fact, if you've read Our Story, you've seen a black and white photo of woman who in some ways is the silent third founder of Artifcts.

 

Artifcts co-founder Heather Nickerson's mother

 
 
 

The photo grabs you. Who is she? What (or who) is she looking at that is making her smile? Who took the picture? When was this picture taken and where? Truth is, her end-of-life was the inspiration for Artifcts and our efforts to remove so much of the potential burden from our loved ones who are left to parse through our belongings after we're gone. Instead, through Artifcts you can pass along memories, heritage, and legacy, and not just 'stuff.' Not a mere photograph, but a history. You can read about that very photo's history here.

When you can, you should just ASK!

Here's a second photo that captures my interest in the same way, sparking the same questions. And, I wonder: If someone sold a framed photo like this through an estate sale, consignment shop, or flea market, would it captivate a curious, anonymous buyer? It could just as easily fit into the decor of a modern home as one with a farmhouse chic decor or even a cozier older style. 

Co-founder Ellen Goodwin's mother

 
 
 

I found this framed portrait buried in an unused bedroom at my parents' home. My mom was instantly recognizable to me, but I could not guess her age or anything else about the photograph. I had to ask her. Turns out, one of her older brothers was dabbling in photography and asked her to sit for a portrait. Now I'm plotting a rescue mission from the obscurity of that bedroom in Wisconsin to my home in Texas where I can enjoy this unique glimpse of my mom in her youth.

I bet you have photos like these in your own family, many probably with as yet undecided fates. Yes, museums, artists, and others sometimes buy them in bulk. But we're eager to help you all to capture that history before it slips away.

Artifct a few choice photosyour favorites, the most outrageous, or maybe the ones that make you go, "Hmmm." You can easily share your Artifcts with friends and family to meaningfully connect and reconnect over (nearly!) lost pasts and new stories shared for more "I never knew that about you!" moments now and into the future.

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If you are interested in photo and/or video digitization services, maybe our Partners can help! Learn more here.

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© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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What's New at Artifcts
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.

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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. 

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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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