Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Preeeesenting! My Attic!

After digging through box after box in search of the Barbie clothes of my childhood, I decided "with God as my witness!" to organize, no archive, my attic.  Anything worth having is worth archiving.  "Archiving?"  Yes.  I wanted to be able to put my fingers on any particular treasure in my attic with a moment's notice.

My plan:
  • replace all the mismatched plastic and deteriorating cardboard boxes with color-coded plastic boxes with latching lids
  • label each box with some sort of permanent, easy-to-read labels
  • record the contents of each box on a spread sheet
  • make a color-coded map of my attic
First, I researched labels that will survive the extreme heat and severe cold of a West Texas attic.  After much googling, I came up with identa-labels.  The website was pretty convincing, but I couldn't justify the cost.  Then, I "met" Amy on youtube who tipped me off on the fact that identa-labels can be purchased at Walmart.  So, off I went to Walmart!

I bought one package of 3X5 labels (6 per package) and one of 2X5 labels (8 per package).  Then, I went home to experiment.

Following Amy's advice, I downloaded the sample label templates from the identa-label website.  Nothing matched my needs since I wasn't packing up soccer equipment or camping gear.  So, I copied and pasted a blank template onto a Printshop page and began making label magic.  I decided to go with the 2"X5" size because they were more cost effective.
I wanted large numbers on each box.  Then, I wanted to know whose keepsakes were in the box.  Finally, I wanted to know what was in each box.  All of the boxes containing Carolyn and/or Alan treasures were placed in lovely green Sterilite boxes.  Because the boxes are "clear" I put a little "defining momento" at the front of the box to announce the contents of the box. (See the Barbie book in the front of Box 1?)
An unexpected benefit came from sorting through all of our old attic boxes.  I was able to find all of the Valentines, letters, and cards Alan and I have exchanged since 1977.  Also, as I sorted through the boys' toys, I was able to put all like toys together.  Buzz Lightyear had migrated to the GI Joe box.  He was really glad to be reunited with his old pal Woody!

I even found a long lost TV remote snuggled in with the Star Wars guys.
As I purchased each different box color, I made sure that I bought 1-2 extra for future "expansion" since Sterilite doesn't always make the same colors every year.

So far, I've finished organizing and archiving all of our family mementos.  As each holiday comes around, I am going to reorganize my holiday/party boxes.  I can't wait until Target puts out their Halloween storage boxes!  With about 3 more orange and black ones, I'll have Halloween perfection in my attic!

Woe is me.  I didn't take a "before" picture of the attic.  Just imagine a pigsty full of jicky mismatched plastic boxes and crumbling cardboard boxes (some of which were creating leaning box towers because they were disintegrating beneath the weight of their contents).
To the left and straight ahead are the holiday boxes that have yet to be archived.
The archiving begins on the right.
This is the attic spreadsheet.
I decided to store the old letters and cards in a cedar chest in the guest room.
The all-important map.  Never again will I have to call up the attic pull-down stairs to a frustrated husband, "Look BEHIND the boxes on the far left!"

During the time that I spent slaving over the Sterilite boxes sorting Barbie shoes and GI Joe weapons, Alan watched from a safe distance making little comments.  "You are making it SO easy for the boys!  When we're gone, they can just march all those colored boxes to the dumpster!"  If they do, please, God, strike them with lightning.


Jeff said...

This is great - I'm almost speechless. I'm trying to decide if I should pass this on to my mother or not. I know my engineer father-in-law would be highly impressed with the spreadsheets. My problem is that I'm in Alan's camp. I've told my mother numerous times that when the time comes, I'm telling the Salvation Army to bring an 18-wheeler and they can back it up to the front door. I have all I want out of her house and anything else is "junk." I hope you get lucky and have some sweet daughters-in-law who appreciate your efforts. At the very least, enjoy your trips down memory lane.


Carolyn Lackey said...

What!? You don't want the topper from your parents' wedding cake or the little band uniform your mom made your brother for his 3rd BD? I kid you not. I have those things. I am hopelessly sentimental. Tell your mom that I'll come swoon over her keepsakes in your absence. {;-)


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