Labeling ProjectPosted by in Organizing
When my grandmother passed away two years ago, she left behind many treasures. There were antiques, items purchased on her trips around the world, old photos, and art work. Many are beautiful and I know they all had meaning to her. The problem is, those of us who inherited her treasures don’t know what all of the meanings were. We’ve been able to guess at some things and piece things together from the stories she told us. The carved elephants are from Africa. The straw purse came from the Bahamas. I can figure out some of the people in some photos. The green glass sugar and creamer were a wedding shower gift, she told me once. But other things have now lost their meaning. That makes me sad.
So I’ve embarked upon a labeling project of my own items, mostly things I’ve bought on trips. Someday (hopefully in the far distant future) when someone inherits them, I want them to know where it was from and why it mattered to me. Last weekend I went around the house with some stickers and wrote the origin of every print, painting, and photo that hangs on our walls, and stuck it on the back of each item. My next project is to take photos of the other things I consider my treasures (from trips and things I inherited from my grandmothers) and create a word document with the photo and a description of each piece.
I noticed my mom has suddenly caught this bug too, even though we haven’t discussed it. When she buys a piece of art, pottery, basket, etc. she tapes the business card of the artist on the back. If there is no card or known artist, she tapes a handwritten description of what the item is and where it came from on the back.
What have you done to preserve the memories associated with things that are important to you?
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What a great idea! I was talking to my sister-in-law yesterday about her going through boxes and boxes that had belonged to her mom. This is something we all should learn to do. Label belongings. Perhaps keep a log? I bought this X and on 00/00/00 and used it … etc.
This is a great idea. I’m curious how you keep the label or tape from “ruining” the item. Did you get special archival items for this project?
This is a very, very good idea. As a former historian, I find that archiving – correctly and coherently – the things that bring back memories is very important to me. Labeling is one way to begin – thanks for the suggestion!
This is a very smart idea! My family has some antiques that have been passed down but we aren’t sure of the origins.
Love this idea, though honestly my goal is to leave very little for my kids to have to go through. Instead I’d like to give them the stuff they want bit by bit when it’s useful to them and chuck the rest! (Can you tell I’m on a “simple living” kick? I’d like to use the labeling idea for my kids’ artwork and other sentimental things though.
I think that makes a lot of sense. My in-laws are currently doing that. It is a lot easier for everyone if things are divided gradually over the years.
The artwork is inside a frame with a backer. I just stuck it on the backer.
I think it’s key to have a photo though, which what I’m going to be working on next. Take a photo, paste it in a Word doc and then document next to it where it came from or who it belonged to and any signifigance.
I like the idea of the photo in a word doc. It probably is a good idea to transfer that word doc to a DVD on a regular basis and make a couple copies.
My mother very wisely put a number on a tiny piece of tape on the back of every antique dish that came from great and great-great grandparents, with an accompanying list. But I never could find the list after she died!!
How smart. So many times I think I’ll remember the details of something, and of course, much later I don’t. And I’d also love to hear the back-story or origin of the few things I’ve inherited from past generations.
I’m terrible at this. I always think I’ll remember, but I know I won’t. This is good inspiration.
That is SUCH A GOOD IDEA! I want to copycat and do this too. We have some special things in our house that my kids know about but labeling them just makes so much sense!
Yes, I keep thinking though that whatever format I save it in will be outdated and useless in 50 years. That is awful that you could not find the list after your mother died!
This is such a fabulous idea. I read a good blog post about this just the other day
What have I done? Practically nothing! I’m a keeper of stuff, but if I got hit by a bus tomorrow, people would probably look at all my stuff and go, now why did she keep this? More power to you, Brette.
I’m with Melanie above – whatever’s left when I’m gone, you can have it. Besides, most of my important things are kitchen equipment and books!
This is a great idea. I know that if I don’t label something as soon as I get it, it’ll never get done and then I’m sure to forget the details.
I really like the concept of labeling, kind of like sending extra little messages about the meaning of something special. Very nice.