In my last blog post — Family history: Why organize it if you don’t care about genealogy? — I proposed six family history categories: keepsakes, memorabilia, photos, genealogy research materials, medical history, and pedigree charts (aka family trees).
This post is specifically about organizing your genealogy research materials.
Did you know that not everyone cares about genealogy? Gasp! It is the #2 hobby in America, though. (Do you know what the #1 hobby is? Keep reading to find out!)
Sometimes when I talk about family history I am, indeed, referring to genealogy. But not always. So, what else falls under the umbrella term family history? Think about your own things as you read this list. Some items will belong to more than one category.
A friend recently shared a tip with me that she read in an organizing book. I don’t even know which one it was. It was a technique for detaching emotionally from objects in order to be able to part with them. It said (I’m paraphrasing, and so was she):
This item belongs in your past. It exists in your present as well, because you still have it… but does it belong in your future?
I LOVE having someone else clean my house. But, for the most part, I prefer to clean it myself for various financial and Zen reasons. I’ve often thought of housework and exercise as the cheapest forms of therapy.
Whenever I feel resentful about chores I remind myself WHY I do them. And then I feel better. It helps me to remember that it’s a CHOICE I’m making; that I’m living my life by design, not by default.
One of the first things I explain to a new client is why I take before and after photos. I’ve also recommended them as a “photo trick” to DIY organizers. They are a simple and effective way to enhance your organizing, redesign, or staging project. And they benefit everyone — the organizer, the client, the DIY-er, and anyone else who gets to see them! If you are unsure how to take them, or unclear about why you would want to, read on!
← This is my kitchen counter. If you think it looks like THAT at all times — not a bit of clutter; complete with fresh fruit and flowers — you will either be disappointed, or relieved, to learn that it also looks like THIS on a regular basis →
We’ve all inherited and collected keepsakes and memorabilia. Are yours a legacy, or a liability? A blessing, or a burden? Are you afraid to open the boxes that have been languishing in your garage or storage unit? Do you feel overwhelmed by piles of your own photos, letters, kids’ artwork, and other tangible memories?
I am a new Keepy user, not an experienced one. I am personally child-free, but I have recommended it to organizing clients as an option for managing their kids’ paper clutter. Meanwhile, I am intrigued by the possibilities of using Keepy for genealogy purposes, and the more people who agree, the more likely it will be customized to this use.
Disclaimer: Keepy’s creator, Offir Gutelzon, gave me a free year’s unlimited account to play with, but it only costs $29.99/yr. — hardly enough to sway my opinions!
If you got hit by a bus tomorrow, what would your loved ones be left with? Happy memories, or sad ones? Clutter and uncertainty? Or clear instructions and valued keepsakes?
What will your legacy be?