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The Clutter Categories: #6 THE HISTORIAN

Your clutter says a lot about what’s going on in your life, both externally and internally. While everyone’s situation is unique, I’ve found that most people with too much stuff fall into general categories: The Collector, The Inheritor, The Parent, The Shopper, The Scout, The Historian, or The Hostess.

Are you your family historian? Sometimes the role of family historian comes to us through default: you’re an only child, you’re the oldest child, you like to dabble in genealogy, or maybe it’s just because your female (shocker, I know). When my mom died, I found myself with loose photos and memorabilia from my grandmother, my mother, my husband’s family, and my own collection that started growing when I started neglecting family photo albums.

Family historian isn’t just about loose pictures in a dresser drawer and can include collecting census data, birth certificates, marriage records, old letters, and other documents. So, it’s easy to see how the family historian can get overwhelmed with unorganized and duplicate materials as they try to preserve their family story for future generations.

Family historians are people who end up writing histories of their family, their culture, the towns where families made an impact. And they are generally the people who can get you reconnected to long lost relatives.

Unfortunately, family historians can clutter up their homes in a number of ways, including:

  • Collecting too much paper.

  • Buying too many books and magazines.

  • Saving too many artifacts, like clothing, furniture, and jewelry.

  • Failing to digitize. Family historians who have not digitized their paper materials are more likely to have clutter in their homes.

Here are some tips for family historians hoping to avoid cluttering up their homes:

  • Create a system for organizing your materials: This could involve using filing cabinets, binders, or digital storage solutions.

  • Be selective about what you keep: Not every document, book, or artifact is worth keeping. Get rid of items that you don't need or that are not meaningful to you.

  • Digitize your materials: This is a great way to reduce clutter and make your materials more accessible.

  • Store your materials in a safe and dry place: This will help to preserve them for future generations. Don’t store documents and photographs in cardboard! The material degrades over time leaving you with a dusty mess.

Next time, we'll look at the last clutter category: The Hostess -- just in time for the holidays!!

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