- Reduce the volume of documents, cards and photos.
- Get a basic organizational scheme going so that I could merge the additions into the collection I already have at home.
Step One - Supplies - whatever was on hand from the house: old file folders, boxes, folder trays, etc. I did not worry about archival quality at this point.
Step Two - One box at a time, quickly examine each folder, envelope full of papers or whatever. Keep or discard? Try really, really hard not to get sucked into reminiscing at this point. It's hard...
Step Three - If the item is a keeper, which family member(s) does it relate to?
Step Four - If there isn't a box, or portion of a box already dedicated to this individual, set one up.
Step Five - What is the topic of these documents? Get a file folder, if the documents aren't already in one, and put a label on the folder with the topic. At this point, since I'm using mostly old file folders, I either would write directly on the tab of the folder or write on a sticky note and attach that to the folder tab.
Step Six - File the item in the appropriate person's box.
After a while, I started running across documents for which I already had a folder. So into the folder the new documents went.
Box after box went through this process and after a while, the volume began to decrease since not everything was worth keeping, and a very rudimentary organizational scheme began to emerge.
Here is one of the boxes that hasn't yet made it home. No, it's not pretty. Everything most certainly will not be kept but in order to determine what to ultimately save we have to get "like things together" to see the big picture.
The next step is to incorporate these files into the Archival Closet using archival safe - acid free, lignin free supplies - and continuing to cull as I sort. There is a deadline too: Thanksgiving. You see all these boxes are being stored in Oldest Daughter's room. They have got to be cleared out before said daughter comes home for Thanksgiving!
© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum