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Sorry, Not Sorry: I love my stuff

Ellen Goodwin, Artifcts
February 23, 2023

Stuff is cozy. It's personal. It’s valuable. It represents piece of your family story. It's what we sometimes call "Life Links,” the context for the lives we're living - if only our objects could talk! 

No judgement here if you, too, like ‘stuff.’

If you have attachments to stuff because of the memories, the dreams of a future when it becomes relevant, or whatever other just cause for keeping it, and it does not impede your daily life, good for you. We are here to say we're on your side. Ignore everyone else and real or perceived judgements about collecting and enjoying stuff.

If you're on the fence, stuff is stometimes a problem, consider some of our practical guidelines from our co-founder Ellen's household. And share tips of your own with us in social media or Editor@Artifcts.com.

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As I told you in Lessons From Artifcting With My Mother, I'm neither hoarder nor minimalist. I don't even usually think I'm very sentimental (we talked about that, too, here). But I think knowing someone, who they are and not just what they've done, is made possible through the stories behind objects. It's less awkward, honestly. I don't have to be a fabled storyteller or enjoy the spotlight. It enables me to live my story and pass it on, digitally and/or physically! 

Practical Guidelines Help Manage 'Stuff' From Overflowing

So, what's it really like here in the Goodwin household? 

We have golden rules for stuff.  

Some rules bring sanity in the rush of the school/work week. For example, no clothes on the bathroom counter or shoe piles by the door. And shred unsolicited offers with evil codes and other sensitive documents immediately.  

Other rules are really practical guides to avoid penalties and lost meaning. Just as I schedule e-bills for payment as soon as I receive them, I Artifct moments after an item comes into the house (or is on its way out) or as I relax at the end of an eventful day. I take a few key photos I want to use to capture and remember the real story behind each item and add in the funny, factual, and other types of humanizing details. 

No harm in hitting “pause” is another rule, especially when more stuff is concerned. If I still remember I wanted or "needed" to buy some item weeks later (or maybe a month later for a big-ticket item), then I do. I'm not a minimalist, but I do think about bringing more stuff into our home and try to do the same with my family. Here’s a real example from household: “Really? We "need" another Harry Potter Lego set? What about this one that's unfinished and this one that's not even started? Our house is small people; let's talk about this!” 

Objects Turned Artifcts Become "Life Links"

I have embraced 'stuff' in a public way as the co-founder of Artifcts because valuing the meaning and history behind the objects I have chosen to keep is natural to me. My husband? Not so much. That's fine. I find energy and humanity in connecting through the stories only objects can tell, through me. So, to end this little sharing piece, here are a few of my “Life Links” through objects I have Artifcted. You can also browse public Artifcts and download our inspiration lists for more inspiration! 

Not all Artifcts I mention are public on Artifcts, but I've tried to give you the context so you can feel more comfortable embracing your own Life Links, and give people fair warning to treat them well whether they stay in the family or find new purpose elsewhere someday. 

  • Heart necklace from my husband and daughter. This gift had very little to do with Mother's Day and much more to do with their symbolic support of this new fandangled thing called Artifcts. View the Artifct >
  • Throw quilt from Grandma. I do not know my grandmother well, but I always thought it was telling that she took the time to hand stitch a quilt for each of my siblings and me. View the Artifct > 
  • Ping pong ball. It’s from the early days dating my now husband and always makes me smile.
  • Bird dish. A dish anyone can buy from Anthropologie but that reminds me how lucky I am in life to have my person (my husband) at my side.
  • Pywocket, the wooden cat. I know the origins and still find it remarkable to imagine a young woman in the 1960s (aka my mother) doing wood carving. Surely this says more about me and my assumptions than her skills. View the Artifct >   

What stuff, sentimental and/or valuable life links, do you love in your home? 

If you are interested in Artifcts potentially featuring your Artifct in our curator’s choice series, click the share button on your Artifct and send it to @ArtiEditor.

Happy Artifcting! 

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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What's New at Artifcts
Calling All Family History Buffs!

Love family history? Love bonding over family lore, stories, and other funny quips, quotes, and oh-so memorable moments? You’re in good company with us here at Artifcts! 

What we’ve discovered over the past two years is that family history may sometimes be fickler than we think. It’s easy to lull ourselves into believing that Grandma’s always going to be here to make her famous biscuits. Grandpa’s always going to be here to tell us the story of his steel pennies. But we know this is not true. 

Although we have yet to find a way to stop (or even stall!) time, we have discovered we can capture those moments, stories, and histories straight from the source. Thousands of photos and documents locked in your hard drive, or difficult or expensive software, will not do justice to your family history. You know the dots you want to connect, so start connecting them where you can easily share them with others with more permanence than memories alone allow! 

We’ve put together tips to make sure your family history will be remembered. 

  1. No need to reinvent the wheel. Use the photos and videos you already have and attach the documentation that is already lurking in your digital or physical file cabinets. Founder’s tip: Add a link to digital files in the ‘Location’ field if you have a digital folder with other related items. 
  2. Sharing is caring. Remember to share privately or publicly with your family (cousins included!) or other interested parties. Create a circle, invite your family into it, and you can all swap Artifcts like a big group chat! 
  3. Ask others to contribute. If you don’t know all the details, ask other family members (who have paid Artifcts memberships) to help fill in the blanks by giving them 'Edit’ access when you share. Our co-founder Heather recently asked her aunts for help in trying to track down the details of this old photo.  
  4. Families love using (name) tags. Tag your Artifcts with a family last name, first name, or initials to capture pieces of family history that are easily searchable, findable, and shareable. Got a big family? Encourage others to use the same tags, such as #GrandmaDot or #NickersonFamily2023, to build the family's Artifcts collection. 
  5. Include citation links. Are you the family keeper or the family genealogist? Include citation links to your research or even family tree details in the ‘Description;' as you would elsewhere, leave out details of living family members if you intend to broadly share or make the Artifct public. 

Ready for More? 

Curious how others are Artifcting their family histories?  

Check out our Family History Month Your Way piece for additional tips and tricks, along with our Gift Your Loved Ones a Why for an important reminder of why all that history is so important.  

If you especially love history and want to see some unique Artifcts, check out the Nickerson Family Association’s Artifcts collection. They’ve Artifcted pieces of their family history from the 1660s! You never know what you’ll discover.  

Happy (Family History) Artifcting! 

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Read more
Using the Artifcts App to Create Artifcts

“ANY of my photos I took on my phone?”
“Can you help with all these voice messages? Are they ‘stuff?’”   
“Oh, I can do that walking around my house! My son thinks it’s all junk.”  
“I have a three-hour layover in Denver. I’ll start Artifcting then!”  
{What will you say?} 

______________


We took notes as our newest Artifcts Community members tried out our app last week at the RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City. We must have chatted with more than 500 people who stopped by our booth. Some were conference attendees. Others are themselves respected builders of the premiere brands in genealogy services today. The awe factor of our modest app centered around how much you could do with a single, easy to use application. We’re declaring that a win! 
 
On Monday we offered a free webinar to walk through some of the ins and outs of creating an Artifct from the Artifcts app.  You can watch the recording, blooper moments and all, on our YouTube channel ->  

 

Your Turn! Try a Few of the Artifcts App Features

The more feedback from all of you, the better and better the app will be. Download the app to your iOS or Android device, give it a try, and write to us at Hello@Artifcts.com. We review every message! 
 
CREATE A NEW ARTIFCT
Use what you’ve got!  

On your phone, that is. Go for it, scroll 1000s of photos back in your gallery to that ONE photo you’re thinking of. Or pop into your voicemail and rescue that message you’ve saved for months or even years.  

      1. Open the voice message. 
      2. Click the share icon 
      3. Choose the Artifcts app! 

 

Select a voice message on your mobile phone        Click to share the voice message       Choose to add the voice message to a new or existing Artifct
 

Images are from an iOS phone. Android will have slight differences. 
 

Start fresh. Work with the latest. 
From the Artifcts app, click '+ Artifct.'  

How to create a new Artifct on the app 

Now choose to take a new photo, use an existing photo, video, or audio file, and off you go! Remember, you can choose up to five media files per Artifct and rearrange them to flow with your story. 
 
SHARE AN ARTIFCT
Mobile Style

You can always share an Artifct with someone based on their Artifcts screen name or email address. You can even post public Artifcts to social media. But did you know that the Artifcts app offers a special sharing option? 

      1. Click the share icon on your Artifct.
      2. Choose ‘Share link’ to send the Artifct via text message. You don’t even have to enter the email, phone number, or know if they are already an Artifcts member. Simply type to find the contact on your phone and send the Artifct in a text. 
      3. If the Artifct is private, and you haven’t already given the person permission, they will be able to “request access” when they click to view the Artifct link you sent them. Don’t' worry, they will be encouraged to sign in (or create a free Artifcts account) first to see if they already have access.

Bonus! If you have notifications for the Artifcts app enabled on your mobile device, you’ll learn instantly when they request access. 
 

FIND OUT: WHAT'S IT WORTH? 
When you supect real market value or historical relevance

You can find out if your treasures are authentic and potentially valuable!

      1. Click to view one of your Artifcts
      2. Scroll to the end of the Artifct and click "What's it worth?" to ask Heritage Auctions.
      3. After expert review, Heritage Auctions will attach directly to your Artifct a free valuation within two to three weeks. Be sure to provide helpful details. We offer tips in our FAQs for valuations.  

Happy Artifcting!

###

© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Read more
The Artifcts Bookshelf: Books About or Related to 'Stuff'

Here you'll find a simple listing of a wide-ranging and growing collection of books, with 'stuff' as the unify theme. Now and then we may post a link to an online article, podcast, or similar, but given how impermanent those links can be and the frustration paywalls can present, we'll mostly stick to books.

We use tags to organize them for your quick scanning. Click any image below to review the book over on the author’s site, Amazon, or elsewhere.

What are you reading? Share with Editor@Artifcts.com and we'll check it out.

(Please note: These books are literally on our nightstands, coffee tables, and bookshelves. We are not paid to list publications here.)

THE ARTIFCTS BOOKSHELF

The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance

By Edmund de Waal, Jan. 2010

FICTION, COLLECTIBLES

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

By V. E. Schwab, Oct. 2021

FICTION, ARTS

Uncommon Type

By Tom Hanks, Sep. 2018

FICTION, COLLECTIONS

What to Do with Everything You Own to Leave the Legacy You Want

By Marni Jameson, Jun. 2021

NONFICTION, INSTRUCTIONAL

108 Beloved Objects: Letting Go of Stuff, Keeping Our Stories

By Jeff Greenwald, Aug. 2021

NONFICTION, THE EVERYDAY

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

By Margareta Magnusson, Jan. 2018

NONFICTION, INSTRUCTIONAL, THE EVERYDAY

The Dig

By John Preston, Apr. 2016

FICTION, HISTORY

goodbye, things: The New Japanese Minimalism

By Fumio Sasaki, Apr. 2017

NONFICTION, THE EVERYDAY

Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness

By Ingrid Fetell Lee, Sep. 2018

NONFICTION, THE EVERYDAY, INSTRUCTIONAL

Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff: Declutter, Downsize, and Move Forward with Your Life

By Matt Paxton, Feb. 2022

NONFICTION, INSTRUCTIONAL

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

By Gail Steketee, Jan. 2011

NONFICTION

Book Cover of The Book of Form and Emptiness

The Book of Form and Emptiness

By Ruth Ozeki, Jun. 2022

FICTION, MENTAL HEALTH

Book Cover of What We Keep

What We Keep: 150 People Share the One Object that Brings Them Joy, Magic, and Meaning

By Bill Shapiro & Naomi Wax, Sept. 2018

NONFICTION, COLLECTIBLES, TRAVEL

Book Cover of Taste

Taste: My Life Through Food

By Stanley Tucci, Oct. 2021

NONFICTION, RECIPES, TRAVEL

Read more
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