Spring cleaning doesn’t typically involve doing much with your keepsakes other than combining the boxes they’re stored in as they fill up. But organization experts Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin from The Home Edit have teamed up with Ancestry to take your cleaning up a notch by preserving your most treasured memories for generations to come. How so? By digitizing them, of course.
By creating a free Ancestry account, you can use your computer or the site’s app on your phone to store photos of physical photographs, letters, historical documents, and family heirlooms. Before you jump in, The Home Edit duo suggests going through all of your sentimental items and creating categories (photo albums, tangible keepsakes, clothing, documents, and so on). Once you do that, provide as much detail as you can about each piece in your uploads. “You'll want to include the year, names, location, etc,” the organization team said in a press release. “Start with what you know and if you need help, ask other family members to help you fill in the gaps.”
With easy-to-lose or fragile items memorialized online, you can have peace of mind. Plus, they’ll help give insight into an ancestor's personality and what their life was like at that time—meaning they'll live on, especially if they’re attached to a public family tree (you can choose to make each photo private or public).
When you’re done, The Home Edit duo suggests displaying the most coveted physical keepsakes in a shadow box or frame to infuse more personality into your space. They also recommend creating a system for your archive, so it’s easier to go through in the future—whether you sort it by year or family member.
“If there is ever a year to take an active role in preserving your family history, this is it,” the duo say. “Spring cleaning is traditionally thought to be a time of decluttering and clearing, but there is also an opportunity to bring rich new meaning and thoughtfulness to the age-old tradition,” adds Shearer.
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