As many of you know, I collect a lot of different things. One specific thing I collect is vintage California souvenirs, but I also keep a lot of contemporary mementos, especially from Disneyland. One of my biggest pet peeves with vintage items is not knowing the exact year something was made, but when I acquire new items I always try to attach a note or something to it to remind myself, and future generations, when I got it, and the significance. But notes can get lost and sometimes I can even forget to attach a note! Also if it’s just a note in a box, what good does that do anyone right now? So when I was approached by Heather of Artifcts, a web service that helps you to catalog items, with an emphasis on family heirlooms and stories, I realized it was also the perfect cataloging system I needed for my vintage collections, but especially my personal Disneyland acquisitions.
Artifcts has both a website and an app, and I found both surprisingly easy to use. I spent several days going through stuff (and I must admit I’m still uploading items), and I used the site and the app in tandem; I would use the app for quick uploads of photos and getting the process started for an item, but I found I preferred to type out further details and such on my iMac. While I have been sticking mostly to still photos, users can also upload videos and audio files to items. I love that this is an option because it can make the item extra personal and meaningful, especially if you make an audio file or video of a family member telling the story about an item.
The item form has two options, a quick form and a full form. What I love about the full form is it includes a box for the location of the item. Some of my items are in storage, kept in numbered boxes, while flat items are stored in binders labeled with the year, and some of course are on display in the house. By uploading and tagging my items, Artifcts makes all of my items both easily accessible to view, as well as find if I need the physical item. I also have the option to keep each item either private or public, thus having Artifcts act as a form of social media as well as public archive.
While I am indeed a collector of many things, I also realize sometimes I don’t need to keep everything. In my journey with Artifcts I realized I could photograph an item, tell its story, and then let it go, making way for new memories and items.
Artifcts has a three tiered membership option, with the first being a free membership, and users can upload up to five items, “Arti-Lite” costing $36 per year and uploading up to 30 items, and “Arti-Unlimited” costing $89 per year and users can upload an unlimited number of items. While I think the cost can be a shock to some, Artifcts prides itself on a clean design and privacy, meaning they do not have any ads, nor do they sell user information. The service is also one that is always accessible, no matter where you or friends and family members are, as long as you have a smart phone or a computer you can see and share your items. If you chose to cancel your membership, you are able to download your collection in a variety of formats to then keep. One format is a spreadsheet, which you could continue add to and edit on your own, making Artifcts jumping off point to get you started if you’re perhaps a little overwhelmed in completing an inventory system for yourself.
While I started using Artifcts for my Disneyland collection, I plan to also use it to catalog my wardrobe, jewelry, and more. This is where I have a few issues. All of my items are listed within the “My Artifcts” page, with the only way of distilling the items down by their search tool, and categories. I also found their categories rather limiting, and put most of my Disneyland items in the “Other Artifacts” category. Additionally, I wish I could create collections to house my items, akin to Facebook’s photo albums. The way I currently get around this is the use of tags, and tagging each item with “Disneyland Resort.” That way I can click the tag, which will then show me all of my items associated with Disneyland.
So who do I really think needs Artifcts? I think mostly collectors, people into genealogy, and amateur historians. But you can use Artifcts in any way you really want. I personally see it as a leveled up inventory system that can be shared if you desire, and as someone who collects a lot of things, loves organizing, and sharing history, I found this to be a great tool.