Here’s an excerpt from author Cindy Larson:
Like many other baby boomers, I suspect, my house is overflowing with boxes of papers, photos and mementos from my parents, who are both deceased. Add to that the stuff I’ve saved from my own marriage and children, and the result is an unorganized mess of boxes in our spare room.I didn’t have a clue as to what to keep and what to pitch. What was truly a memento, and what was just clutter? What would be valuable or meaningful to my children and possibly, some day, their children?
Here are my comments on the article…
Preservation. As for the archival advice, it’s not too bad. The article emphasizes the importance of stable temperature and humidity for long term survival of paper memorabilia. That’s dead accurate. It also says that paper storage containers are better than plastic, which doesn’t “breathe.” I agree with that advice. Plus you have no idea how safe that plastic is, unless it’s passed the Photographic Activity Test or PAT. But…
Email. The article claims that letters are slowly being replaced by e-mail, and you should “consider saving at least some of your newsier e-mails.” I would argue that this shift occurred years ago. And let’s not forget that digital is more permanent than a sand painting, but not much else. The easiest solution is to just print out your most important correspondence. Not everything, of course. Then you end up with the same problem of too much paper.
Best advice in the article. I’m all for purging, but remember that there might be someone in your family who wants what you’re about to toss. The older the stuff, the more important this becomes. Family historians are often the family archivist as well, so why not call up the genealogists in your family?