I often talk about honouring the physical things we treasure, by displaying or storing precious items in a way that will keep them in the best condition possible for generations to come.
If ever there was a time to be reminded of why, then surely the natural disasters many of us have witnessed via the media over previous years is demonstration enough.
There are many resources on-line to help us prepare for disaster and ways of creating an emergency/disaster box containing essential items needed during times of storm, fire or black-out that can be grabbed in an instant, but what about those non-essential items that can never be replaced? Photos, family videos, baby’s first shoes, grandma’s handmade quilt, jewellery, glassware, antiques and trinkets passed down, trophies won and medals of recognition.It would be very difficult to take large items at a minutes notice, so what can be done?
I suggest making up another box that can house some of the smaller very precious items, and take photos of the rest. Where possible get all your photos backed up onto CD’s or a portable back-up drive or memory stick and videos and other film formats onto DVDs. The idea here is to reduce physical size and weight. Yes, this is a mammoth task but well worth the effort. Turn the TV off and set yourself aside an hour or so a week and get the family involved. There are businesses that specialise in this type of thing and can do this for you. Make sure you can keep this box in a safe easily accessed area able to be grabbed at a moment’s notice, and that it is water, heat and vermin proof. If you feel the cost is prohibitive then get the extended family to contribute, then everyone can benefit from copies of the work done and there are extra copies in the family should the unforeseen happen.
In the meantime some of us may have friends or relatives who for them this exercise is already lost, but there are ways we can help rebuild some of these memories. Some wonderful ideas came to me once a while back via the Australasian Association of Professional Organisers (AAPO) who I will credit with suggesting the following:
- Check through your own photo albums, digital albums and videos/DVD recordings, you are likely to have some pictures that include your family or friends.
- Collect the photos/videos that contain the pictures of your family or friends.
- Get duplicates made of the photos/videos.
- Buy a photo album that reflects the people you are gifting this to.
- Rebuild their photo, digital and video memories by filling the album for them.
- Alternatively instead of using ‘albums’, upload them to iCloud or similar or put them onto a USB stick or disk.
- This method can also work for family recipes, school photos and cookbooks, that have also been lost.
If this all seems daunting, there are professional organisers such as myself who can help or advise you.