Saturday, October 8, 2011

Progress on the Archival Closet on Sorting Saturday

Last spring I did some organizing in the Archival Closet. You can do this too! Basically, I was trying to get the beginnings of an organizational scheme going and remove the collection from those ancient, nasty cardboard boxes they had been living in for the past several decades. For the most part, I used archival quality (acid free, lignin free) materials: boxes, file folders and file folder inserts. However, I did run out of boxes so I had to improvise temporarily.

Here are before and after pictures:

It's not perfect but it's a start and I am actually able to find some things now. The process of sorting and organizing also caused a number of very cool discoveries.

In order to be flexible (after all this is an evolving system), I used a lot of post it notes to indicate what is inside each box and also to note if there are items in need of triage. This way, as I add more material, it will be easy to rearrange the labels.

Here's a peek at the inside. My mantra has been "put like things together." I say that over and over and over. As more materials surface, that's what I do. Eventually, I will be able to do a better job of labeling after all of the like things are together and do a final sort.

The labels are not neat and orderly since this is an evolving system. The file folders and folder inserts are archival quality. The post it notes and card stock are not but for now they give the flexibility I need to add to the collection.

So, progress is being made! While the Family Papers are not in a completely perfect situation, they are in a much better way than they were a few months ago. The Archival Closet is the perfect place to store the collection as it is an interior closet, dark and in a room that actually stays at a pretty constant (and pleasant) temperature year round. Not perfect but certainly much improved.

Next up is the process of integrating the new additions to the collection.


  1. Congratulations Michelle. Good progress and with these major sorts it has to be slow and steady. Look forward to the final report.

  2. Thanks cassmob.

    TennLady, ...I'll be right down. IF I ever get done at my place that is.

  3. It's so beautiful.... And your idea of not using permanent labels at this stage was excellent - wish I'd thought of that, so I wouldn't end up rewriting and pasting over old labels.

  4. Great work, Michelle! I like the flexibility of your method and your mantra,
    "put like things together." Makes a lot of sense.

  5. No, No, No.... TennLady....
    AFTER.. my place, she'll have time to visit you... that'll be about 2022. I have LOTS to keep her busy!!!

  6. Looks great! And I'm going to try to stay inspired long enough to get started on my own - fingers crossed.


  7. Thanks for the comments ladies. You can do it too!

    I guess I had better get cracking if I'm going to get to both TennLady and Anonymous before I give out. It might be 2022 before I wade through my own family archive. lol

  8. Ahem.... you have no distractions left at home to keep you from spending 12 hrs a day working on archival organization. No kids, husband who can cook and clean for himself, no horses, no threats of tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions.. hardly 3 loads of laundry a week and I'm sure you have one of those Roomba vacuums. Be at my house early 2012.. and you can see TennLady 8 yrs later.