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How To Be Organized – How To Get Organized – Collectibles, Old Photos, Family History


Organizing collectibles, old photos, boxes of old letters and documents, old books from loved ones past on can be a daunting and mind spinning experience. Where do you start? What is your goal? Well, those aren’t really the right questions to ask.

One of my great pleasures since 1978 has been to work on the enormously popular and historical items within the collection of the Historical Department of the LDS Church. One of the oral history researchers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormons) was in my lab this week interviewing me about the art conservation and restoration work I’ve done for the history department of the Church History Museum over the decades. We discussed my book, How To Save Your Stuff and Ann Marie thought you would be interested, as she was, in this quick tip about how to avoid confusion when getting organized. The video is less than 2 minutes.

Questions? Call Scott Haskins 805 564 4348
Art appraisal questions? Call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121

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41 Comments to “How To Be Organized – How To Get Organized – Collectibles, Old Photos, Family History”

  1. You guys are doing a great job. Old photos and collectibles have so much value to people. They are a part of our history. By helping people to preserve them, you are actually preserving our memories and history. Keep up the good job.

  2. I discovered an old album in the attic of my father’s house that had photographs of his childhood days. These were priceless to me but they were in a sorry state. I followed your tips and recovered most of the photographs.

  3. Saving old stuff is so important. A lot of memories are related to the old stuff. It is heartbreaking to find that how our negligence destroys our past and whatever was associated with it. A little bit of care from our end can save these stuff.

  4. Most old stuff get damaged while shifting. It is essential that while changing homes we take special care of our family albums and collectibles. We should be aware of the things that need preservation and take adequate measures.

  5. I was watching the videos you have uploaded. I never knew much about preservation work. I found the videos so informative. The techniques you use, the advanced equipments and the care you show towards your work- they are praiseworthy.

  6. I never knew so much hard work goes behind preservation. It must be a lengthy process starting from analysing and updating records to actually restoring old photographs and collectibles. Really, we know so less about these things that are so important to us!

  7. My friend suggested to approach you regarding preserving some family collectibles. I approached your company with our family’s painting and you guys have done a great job in restoring them. I simply could not believe my eyes after the work was done. Thank you.

  8. Good to hear you are putting the suggestions and tips into practice. I promise, you’ll sleep better!

  9. Wow Dorothy! You have no idea of the problems people get into with their treasures items when they move. See this quick video about a priceless scrapbook of important photos, certificates etc: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYYc0AFxMZs

  10. Thank you Charles for trusting us with your valuable items. I’m always moved when people trust us and put their irreplaceable family history into our hands.

  11. The video on the tour of your lab was an eye opener for me. I never thought much about preservation of old paintings and stuff. But now I know the importance of these and how serious people are about the old stuff that they have in their house. Without this video, I would have never known the hard work you guys put in.

  12. Great video. Preserving old paintings is a must because they are far more valuable than one would think. Items such as this need extra care because if they get destroyed, our history is too.

  13. Thanks for all the tips and advice on preserving collectibles. They are really very useful. I would like to know how to prevent old photographs from getting damaged due to moisture? Can you help me with any suggestion?

  14. Very good question Samantha. Here’s a video I made for this question: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8A_7h4yTskE But putting your original valuable photos into safe storage is only part of the solution. Make a copy and keep your copy someplace else (some else’s home or at the office). What if your house burns down or stuff is stolen… or gets blow to OZ in a hurricane?

  15. I could write a book on “that ol’ thing” that was stuck in the garage and was gotten rid of but later was found to be worth LOTS of money. But how to you put a financial value on items that are emotional to a family or valuable historically?

  16. I am interested in preserving art and other old stuff. I find the job interesting. The video on your lab was an excellent one. It explained the processes so clearly and easily that anyone can understand them. Thanks for uploading such an useful video.

  17. The last thing you would ever want is to lose your collectables due to negligence. People often take them for granted and never think about taking care of them. Thank you for reminding that care is needed for them.

  18. Great video. Thanks for the very important reminder. Protect your collectables so you can pass them onto future generations. It is invaluable to you and will be invaluable to them.

  19. What a devastating thought about losing items that are part of your history that you can no longer replace. This is not the same thing since no natural disasters were involved but my mother had hired a housekeeper after she had surgery and the housekeeper accidentally dropped my great-grandmother’s gorgeous vase that was passed down to her and it shattered into a million pieces. It really hurt us all emotionally when that happened.

  20. This alone shows that your history can disappear in a heartbeat if you do not take care of your collectables. I cannot imagine the pain that comes with that. I am going to make sure that my collectables are in proper care. Thanks for bringing this out.

  21. Thank you for all that you do. We need to all be reminded that those that we take for granted such as important items representing our history can be wiped away in a heartbeat. Lets keep it all safe.

  22. Ouch! That really does hurt. I’m sorry for your loss of such an important item for your family. I know it doesn’t keep clumsy house keepers from breaking stuff but a product I recommend is Museum Wax (see products) that anchors items down to furniture and also taking a really good photo of such meaningful items (front, back and all around) are essential for insurance claims and family scrapbooks when the items are no longer around. Thanks Kaley for sharing your heartfelt comment.

  23. Hi there. I can also relate to someone destroying by accident a china doll that was passed onto me and it was originally from my great-grandmother. It really hurt when it happened, and I will check out Museum Wax, thanks. I have other precious items that were passed down from generations and do not want the same thing happening.

  24. Hi Nicole. Sorry to hear about your keepsake. Thanks for your comment. You can see a couple of Museum Wax Testimonials on the product page. Any questions? Everyone’s invited to write or call me: scott@saveyourstuff.com or 805 564 3438
    All my best!
    Scott

  25. Hi feel for those who have lost their valuables regardless of cause of destruction. But this reminds me to take extra special care of my precious valuables. Thank you for the work you do Scott.

  26. You do great work and thanks for letting us know how we can protect parts of our history that can never be recovered. I am going to get my act together and take better care of my very important stuff.

  27. I am so sorry for those who had lost their valuables too. That is awful and imaginable. I put my valuables actually in my cold cellar but I am even wondering if that is a good idea after reading this.

  28. Desiree,
    The cold cellar might not be the best place if there is humidity. What you want is the driest most stable temperature. If your cellar can provide that, then good choice. But if it gets humid, then you will have mold and many other problems. Any other questions? Ask me!

  29. We are moving across the country in a few weeks. I realize how fragile and precious these collectibles are and am not allowing the movers to touch it. I am planning to move them and keep them in the trunk of my car, with foam around it inside of a box. I hope that is safe enough for the transport.

  30. Mandy, thanks for your comment and for asking. In some ways, packing collectibles is a logical process: Reduce vibrations and shifting that could cause objects to move close together and then bang against each other. A layer of paper is not enough keep something from damage. Remember what braking, turns in the road, pot holes etc can do and prepare ahead of time. A ceramic collectible is different than an item in wood that has little glued on pieces. Good luck both with the packing and the trip! Scott 805 564 3438

  31. This is great info. Something you never think about very often. How to keep your valuables safe! People need to know how to do that.

  32. I have always had a fear of my old photos being destroyed. And it is scary to know that the thing that I fear most can come true. But at the same time at least I know I can do something to prevent it from happening the best way possible. Thank you.

  33. My mother has my grandmother’s old valuables somewhere in her house. I hope she is keeping them safe and will pass this blog post onto her.

  34. My mother has her parents’ old photographs and they are in bad condition which is to be expected. I will take your advice on this :) Thanks.

  35. If you do not place your collectibles which represents your ancestry by the way in a safe place, in a sense you are not treasuring where you had come from. You are not intentionally doing that but this is a message that your collectibles which represents your family history needs to be placed somewhere safe. The message is loud and clear.

  36. Anything that represents my family history needs to be kept safe and it is everyone’s responsibility to do that. Thanks for the reminder.

  37. Thanks for bringing out something so important. I think very few people understand how crucial it is to preserve items passed down from your family. Those are priceless.

  38. I am looking into preservation as well. Thank you for stressing the importance of it. You do great work Scott.

  39. The idea of something horrid happening to irreplaceable items is a scary one but a realistic one. Thanks for the advice and to a large degree it can be saved. More people need to be made aware of this.

  40. Very impressive video and tips. All of our parts of history need to be protected and thanks for bringing this out. I don’t hear tips like this from anywhere else. I will tweet this page for you to my followers so people can start paying attention.

  41. Awesome Video! Thanks for sharing :)

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