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How To Get Organized – Collectibles, Old Photos, Family History – A Short Video To Make You Smile

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Organizing collectibles, old photos, boxes of old letters and documents, old books from loved ones past on can be a daunting and mind spinning experience. Where do you start? What is your goal? Well, those aren’t really the right questions to ask.

One of my great pleasures since 1978 has been to work on the enormously popular and historical items within the collection of the Historical Department of the LDS Church. One of the oral history researchers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormons) was in my lab this week interviewing me about the art conservation and restoration work I’ve done for the history department of the Church History Museum over the decades. We discussed my book, How To Save Your Stuff (see product section of this website in scroll on left) and Ann Marie thought you would be interested, as she was, in this quick tip about how to avoid confusion when getting organized…and how to eat more ice cream!  The video is less than 2 minutes.

Questions? Call Scott Haskins 805 564 4348
Art appraisal questions? Call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121

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148 Responses to "How To Get Organized – Collectibles, Old Photos, Family History – A Short Video To Make You Smile"
  1. Yes, taking a little bite at a time really works… just a small list of 10 most important things can do wonders and believe me I tried this and it worked wonders… I hate clutter but can’t really get rid of it all the same time.. Nice video.

  2. Shari Simon says:

    Bless you for the work you do. I read your book and it made me wake up and realize that your treasured valuables need to be safe. I started organizing my stuff and found lots of things that would be more than devastating to lose and got it in a safe.

  3. B. Johnson says:

    Scott, you provide such an excellent service and bring out so many points that are more than just valid. It is crucial to treasure your collectables that can be wiped away in a heartbeat. Time for people to start finding a safe place for their collectables, so they remain safe and sound regardless of what disaster may happen.

  4. Chloe says:

    I think the video is great and you bring out valid points. Protect your valuables, and what your future generations will find valuable which will be your history.. their history. Don’t let something horrible take it away. Not everything can be prevented but taking care of this will likely prevent anything horrible from happening to it.

  5. Sandra says:

    Clutter accumulates no matter what you try to do. But the items that are worthy of something to you put in a safe place! The rest you can throw out. Thanks for the advice, much appreciated!

  6. Kayla says:

    Very true what you say. Your valuables must be protected and you need to make proper arrangements so they are for good. Many things can be replaced but not anything that represents your own history. Keep it safe.

  7. Chelle says:

    Leaving your collectibles vulnerable to destruction is negligence and if something does happen, it is tragic. I am guilty of this too and thank you for making me realize that I need to be protecting them better than I do.

  8. Heather says:

    Thank you for bringing this out. I would not ever want to lose something so dear to me. And I am ready to do some spring cleaning this week and remove the clutter that I don’t need and find a safe place for those that mean the world to me.

  9. Jamie says:

    I need to be better organized myself, you bring out points that are very true. I have a lot of items that can be given away and sadly the more important ones are mixed in with it. That needs to be separated and saved.

  10. Dave says:

    I am currently doing some spring cleaning and keeping the valuables in a special place. The rest of the things that I don’t need but are still usable are being donated.

  11. Jim D says:

    Excellent video as it brings out so many valid things. Our valuables can disappear in a heartbeat and that is one of the most devastating things that can occur.

  12. Charles says:

    Clutter is awful, and a cluttered home represents a cluttered mind. But thanks for the tips as a list of 10 most important thing idea works well. And it is impossible to remove it all at once. One of those things that I took care of and put in a safe place was a painting that my grandmother did. Now I am even more glad that I did.

  13. Brian says:

    Never throw your valuables with the stuff that you don’t need. Always keep them in a separate and safe place. Thanks for the video, very insightful.

  14. Jeff says:

    Copies of the valuable stuff is crucial and distribute them in different places. I will be sure to do that and send copies to my mother and sister’s houses. Thanks for the tips.

  15. Shane says:

    Never allow those pieces that matter to you and your family get mixed in with stuff you don’t need. When removing clutter, place them somewhere safe and better yet make copies and give them to family. Great video and great message.

  16. Ashley says:

    Yes, eating an elephant is how it is like to clear up clutter, take a bit at a time. It is amazing what precious gems you will find while doing so too. So this is what makes the job interesting. You never know what you are going to find.

  17. Casey says:

    Great video and great points. I have never thought of clearing up clutter this way and I think making copies of anything important that can be duplicated is a brilliant idea. Everyone should do it.

  18. Carla McAndrews says:

    Hi, I love this idea. I have never thought of making copies of priceless items and have them placed in different areas such as homes of your family. Great idea. Thanks.

  19. Carina Andre says:

    Great points brought out here. I have never thought about making copies of items passed down. That is the best suggestion I have heard in a while! I will do that and give it to family members to keep in a safe area.

  20. John Graham says:

    Yes, getting rid of bits at a time is what will help you keep the clutter away. And making copies of treasures you find is an excellent suggestion. Thanks.

  21. Tanya says:

    This happened to me recently. I was doing my spring cleaning and came across a photo of my grandmother when she was a child. I have no idea how it ended up there but I will be making copies of it and will restore it before hand. Thanks for the tip.

  22. Lily says:

    The only way you can clean your place and not get stressed out about it is taking a bite at a time. I like the idea of creating a small list of 10 most crucial things and it does work like a charm. Thanks for letting people know they can do this easily.

  23. Ron Dudi says:

    A very useful video. It contains advices which helped me a lot. The idea with list of ten most important things – just brilliant.

  24. Earl says:

    I think following a short list of values in order to be more efficient is great. It really is a lot of little things that can really end up making a large difference in the long run. People just have to start small and they can change their habits over time.

  25. Conrad Hall says:

    I like what you do, and am happy to support your online effort to get your quality information out to the public. You have a lot of great knowledge for keeping family treasures safe.

  26. Roger says:

    All de-cluttering projects should include the eating of ice cream!

  27. Vanessa King says:

    Saving important copies in other secure places is essential. Couldn’t agree more!

  28. Ryan Ridgway says:

    I’m right there with you when it comes to the ice cream incentive! 😉 Great information as well, thanks for sharing.

    Ryan Ridgway | Founder of

  29. I really need to purchase your book! Great info!

  30. Oh man…I would love to be able to eat more ice-cream! As it is, if there is any in my home I will eat all of it.

    Anyway, my mother (who is terrified of her computer) has recently asked me to scan and “fix” a bunch of old family photos in Photoshop. I tried to help her get Photoshop herself but she was too afraid to even download it!

    In spite of the fact that the job is pretty big and I have very little time, I like the fact that I am helping to make back-ups of family memories and saving images before they fade away completely.

  31. Baby Hekisu says:

    I know its not a perfect solution but I’d try to digitize as much as I could to be put on a back up system… online for instance?

    • Scott says:

      Yes, online back up and storage can be a very good idea. But remember, even though you have a back up, it is still worth doing everything you can to protect and save irreplaceable original value items like historical documents, photos, books etc.

  32. James Brown says:

    Having a Soft copy and back up in an cloud storage will help to save the old photos and etc. or Have a Photo album and keep it on a Dry and Dark place. and avoid that to sun exposure or light exposure that can affect Photos.. Based on my experience when a Picture is more exposed to the light.. the color of the photo will fade away easily.. but when you put it on the dark places the color of the picture still remains.

    • Scott says:

      James, your opinion is common but I doubt its based on personal experiences. The reality of the photographic printing process is that it doesn’t go through a fading process but goes through a chemical change. So, it will alter in the dark closet or drawer. In addition, old photos can be printed on paper with acids in them and the paper darkens, yellows and becomes brittle with time. This will also happen in a dark drawer without light.

  33. Sandy says:

    I have lots of collectibles on anything even from small thing to bigger things. And that’s for the tips.

  34. Kimberly says:

    Thanks for sharing some tips on how to organize things. I used to collect things when I was a kid until now so imagine a lot of stuff. And I don’t want to throw them away or give it to someone because it has sentimental value for me. I will try your advise and hopefully works for me.

    • Scott says:

      Thanks for your comments Kimberly. I imagine that your photo business produces a lot of great memories and things you want to preserve. Good luck and I promise that you’ll be very thankful you took action a few years down the road.

  35. Samy Floatsome says:

    Thanks for the video interview. M grandmother is very old but is still coherent and your blog post has made it crystal clear to sit down with her right away. I’m almost paranoid to think of losing her before we “download” as many memories as we can. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

  36. Gabriella Stella says:

    I like the idea of creating a small list of 10 most crucial things and it does work like a charm. Thanks for letting people know they can do this easily.

  37. Sam says:

    Excellent video!!! Good and valid things.
    Too much convinient for go ahed in life. Really surprising about you say.
    See ya.

  38. mada says:

    Nice blog, I like your work!!!! Preserving my stuff is important to me.

  39. Maggie says:

    I have so many old pictures. I have made sure to scan them all and put them on a disk in my safe. Another thing to remember is to make sure to back up your digital photos in many copies too. I had all of my photos on an external drive and one day I went to get some pics of my daughter from when she was born and the drive would not work. I lost the pictures of my daughter first 3.5 years of her life. My husband was able to restore some of the pics, but majority were gone.

    • Scott says:

      Great comments Maggie. Thanks. I can’t tell you how many folks I talk to where this happens. FYI, as you know, our computer storage methods and programs evolve on a fairly fast basis. This means that every 5 years or so you will need to make sure your stored photos get upgraded to a new program version or you may not be able to open them in the future. And remember, just because you have cherished photos or old family historical photos scanned and backed up does not mean the ORIGINALS are correctly preserved. For a quick, easy cheap way to store them see my YouTube video at

  40. Alexa Van Klemp says:

    Why bother keeping this stuff 🙂 you’re better off giving it away! The less the better. It just gathers dust anyway, at least for me. Besides, material possessions only burden our lives!

    • Scott says:

      Thanks Alexa… everybody’s thoughtful response is welcome here. But why did you come to this website if you couldn’t care less about preserving your cherished letters, scrapbooks, collectibles, artwork, vintage photos of ancestors etc? Perhaps if you come into the possession of these kinds of things, you should ask a family member if they want it instead of chucking it in the trash. Some people just don’t have the genetic make up to care about family history or memories or enjoy collecting. I understand that.

  41. DAVID says:

    Thank you for the very useful information that helped me about How To Get Organized – Collectibles, Old Photos, Family History – A Short Video To Make You Smile. Great message and strategy.

  42. James says:

    Thanks for the video 🙂 I need to work on helping get my grandmother more organised.

  43. James says:

    Good video now i need to work on organising all my stuff..

  44. James says:

    All de-cluttering projects should include the eating of ice cream!

  45. jen nilla says:

    thanks for sharing .I will do it right now :))

  46. Juana Sanchez says:

    Thanks for this wonderful post. Getting organized is a matter more serious than it has always been considered. A solid proof to my words is the TV shows where storage places are auctioned… I can’t believe some of the treasures people forget about in storage!

    Your video is also very interesting and the information provided is very useful and ready to be used immediately. Thanks

  47. Vladimir Liev says:

    Frankly speaking I do not understand how can you think about some stuff when you need to think about where to find fresh water and some food to eat and place to sleep … I am sure that some old stuff will be the last thing you think about. I heard many stories about people on World War the Second ( in Ukraine)- people sold their gold and diamons for potatoes and onion and some wheat …saving photos? paintings ? nobody every thought about it. It is the truth of life, want it or not, like it or not … but it is truth , people who came through real war ( real disaster) know it better.

  48. Andrea Perez says:

    Thanks for the resource!

  49. Very good article, I have a lot of old photos to organize 😀

  50. Great tip on keeping stuff under control. I’ll put them in practice to get more organized

  51. Thanks for this post. Loved the video and it’s true, you eat an elephant one bite at a time

  52. Vivian Mason says:

    Thanks for this video, very informative!

  53. Barbara Deely says:

    Your video is very interesting and the information provided is very useful. Thanks

  54. Benna Jameson says:

    Thanks for this wonderful post. Getting organized is on my To Do list.

  55. Juan de Bellota says:

    Thanks for this post, it’s very useful

  56. Kathy says:

    Nice , but sometimes i find it best to organize my photos with adobe bridge much easier

    • Scott says:

      Kathy, there is a difference between organizing your digital photos online and protecting and saving your original, even vintage, photos in a box.

  57. Kendra Oudekerk says:

    Hi! Thank you so much for sharing this information. I was actually looking for exactly this info on getting better organized with my family history stuff!. I will follow your posts from now on to see more valuable information.

  58. Very good article, I have a lot of old photos to organize

  59. Monica Icsukze says:

    Thanks for the tips. I really enjoyed the read.

  60. Deborah Salis says:

    Loved this video. So useful and to the point. Thanks

  61. Izle says:

    Very good article, Thanks for this video, very informative!

  62. Sevgi Sözleri says:

    Very good article. Thanks

  63. Marcy says:

    This is my first visit here. I found some really interesting stuff in your blog especially this discussion on setting priorities when dealing with a lot of stuff. Keep up the good work. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, as I feel strongly about it, don’t do so well in this kind of thing and love learning more on this topic. It is extremely helpful for me.

  64. Komik Sözler says:

    Hello, very nice article, thank you.

  65. Steve says:

    Organizing things is one of my problem and it seldom gives me headache on how to arrange my stuff according to its uses.

  66. Your book on Save Your Stuff is really good! Its helped me to protect and save scrapbooks, genealogy, family history, collectibles, antiques, photo albums, certificates and etc.

  67. Loved this video. I also face the problem of organizing things. I am actually very clumsy. But this video puts everything in a very simple manner. Thanks for uploading it.

  68. I agree! Getting organized is what people always shoot for in life. Quite good post. Thanks 🙂

  69. Victoria says:

    Great video. It very useful for me. Thank you so much

  70. Great article on how to organize stuff. The video speaks everything. As I am shifting my house now, I think this post will be of great help to me.

  71. Since i have many photos in my home. I’ll try your instructions on how to organize my collectibles

  72. I am a great collector of old things, book, letter etc. I keep them at a very save place and won’t allow any body to touch it. your article post is very helpful for me.

  73. Rebi Mason says:

    Very nice post.

  74. Danielle says:

    I have a big problem with organizing things because I usually dump all things in one place after a tiring day. Hope these tips can really help me think through the process of getting organized. The tips sound easy.

  75. Ashley Brown says:

    First of all I want to congratulate you for designing this website so creatively and posting beautiful pictures and videos.This spot can provide a good guidance on storing the hard copies for future use in quick,easy and economical ways.I have been reading and researching on new ways to store photos from a long time and it looks like this is what exactly I was looking for.It really saved my time and efforts in surfing the net all over.The different sections of this website especially the murals and paintings are very fascinating. I get your book which seems like a great manual.

  76. Israel Eyenus says:

    Since most photos now are stored in a tablet or smart phones, how can those be made archival?

  77. Mark Vries says:

    Thanks for this post. Loved it!

    the video make me laugh 🙂

  78. Very interesting and good informations.Thanks

  79. Arnold Wagster says:

    Thank you very much for the practical info and great blog.

  80. karim says:

    Nice post. Good suggestions for getting my important family history together and organized. Thank you very much

  81. brian cox says:

    Getting organized is a big headache but its mostly a personality quirk, I think. Good suggestions for those who can’t concentrate.

  82. Raghav says:

    Nice article. Good suggestions, especially about the ice cream!

  83. Isabel Panks says:

    Its an interesting post. thank you

  84. Rodrigo says:

    Super interessante as informações contida no artigo. Parabens

  85. Brenda Israel says:

    Very educational! Great suggestions.

  86. Mable Olauno says:

    This was a cool read especially after having a roof leak and almost damaging some old heirlooms. Actually gave me the excuse to get organized.

  87. Rodolfo says:

    Nice article! congratz

  88. Sidney Ventos says:

    Very good the post on getting organized. I love it. Thanks

  89. Thomas says:

    So you’re saying you’re like a curator at the Church of LDS? That’s pretty cool one of the head people liked your book. How has the Church evolved art-wise over the years?

  90. Jean Diao says:

    I was given old furnitures and memorabilia by my grandmother and now am having problem of buying new things because I don’t have a place for them to store. I don’t have plans to sell or give them because of sentimental value as well as its priceless now.

  91. Davis Kylie says:

    I do have a lot of antique stuff which was passed on to me as a family legacy. I do love them and try to protect them. But sometimes when there are heavy rains, my house gets flooded and those antiques tend to get spoiled. Thanks for sharing this piece of information.

  92. Rafael Melo says:

    This was very helpful to me, thanks!

  93. Jeferson says:

    Really very interesting, thanks.

  94. Matthew says:

    Your ideas and tips are really great. Thanks

  95. Salt Malachm says:

    Great article fot backup all stuff blog. Thanks for sharing.

  96. Milly Smithson says:

    Thanks for sharing. Nice work. Great tips. Enjoyed the video.

  97. Melinda Cummings says:

    Nice post with interesting info and useful tips. Thanks

  98. Radah says:

    Wow, great blog post. I’d like to be better at organizing my stuff.

  99. Sarah Atkins says:

    Same here, lots of family legacy to protect. Nice post with great tips. Thanks.

  100. Davidmorris says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this interesting information.

  101. ed brown says:

    I always scan my old images and upload them to the internet. They are just copies, of course, but in case of a fire or flood at least an image of them have been saved.

  102. Marcia Brandao says:

    Love it! Now I know what to do with all my old stuff and collectibles… Excellent tutorial. Thank you!

  103. Jenny Maria says:

    That is very interesting video and message. you make it sound so easy. Thanks for sharing this great article.

  104. Thanks, This is a nice video…!!

  105. John says:

    An extra layer of saving your stuff is to digitize everything you can, and organize the digitizations in a digital family tree according to the person source (original owner) profile. Choose the correct program and you’ve not only made a “backup” copy but you’ve displayed it (in a website) so it can be shared with as many or as few people (privacy filters) as you like and created a digital resource for future generations!

  106. Hasehaton says:

    Nice info guys.. your artikel is good. 😀 Thanks for sharing..

  107. Great Article, I’ll be waiting to read more soon hope!

  108. Habi says:

    Very nice. Thanks

  109. Keohabi says:

    Good! thanks for share!

  110. I respect your hard work. Thanks for posting..

  111. jo says:

    Yeh this looks pretty great! Check out my new electrician site on the Gold Coast. Electrical contractors Gold Coast

  112. Gift Hampers says:

    Thanks for the nice idea

  113. grEAT..lots of family legacy to protect. Nice post with great tips. Thanks.

  114. i have to said that you are save my life after reading this article!!

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    How to become a good family smart in our town with these chicks ?
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  116. thanks for your saving stuff post

  117. Tray Sleek says:

    That’s really an awesome post with a nice video. Thanks for sharing.

  118. Param says:

    Great Article

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  120. m88 says:

    But sometimes when there are heavy rains, my house gets flooded and those antiques tend to get spoiled. Thanks for sharing this piece of information.

  121. eduard says:

    Hi how’s it going? Just shared this post with a colleague, we had a good laugh.

  122. Riya Bajaj says:

    Thanks for the tip Emma, your writing doesn’t allow me to leave your blog, reading more.

  123. Alfetta says:

    Thanks for sharing this info. Appreciated!

  124. Gary King says:

    Good ideas, Good tips,

  125. John Paul says:

    thanks, it’s really helpful

  126. Thara says:

    I have to said that you have saved my sanity after reading this article!!

  127. bosstechy says:

    wow… lovely video… nice stuff u do at home

  128. Ami says:

    Cool to know about that

  129. Ricky Watson says:

    Great tips, thanks for sharing

  130. Alexander says:


  131. Nancy Jensen says:

    Very useful. Thanks, keep up the good work.

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