We have Year Files into which Su and I put material which we want to keep but for which there is no other obvious place for it to go. It’s a handy system which serves two purposes: it’s a short term store for things you might want to refer to in the next few years such as receipts, and it’s a long term store for mementos. However, as the years go by the storage space required increases relentlessly. We are now on our seventh box in the loft – below is an example of one of them.
As well as requiring storage space, there are several other disadvantages of keeping the material in this way:
- it’s relatively difficult to access,
- a lot of the material is generally invisible and often gets forgotten about,
- if we move house it will add to the removal effort and cost,
- if we move house there may not be sufficient storage space available to take it,
- such a great pile of material may be more of a problem than a joy for those who inherit it.
To try and address these issues, we’re going to go through it, throw away unwanted material, digitise where appropriate and make visible the things we want to enjoy. The lessons learned when assembling the photobook of work experiences can be applied – particularly the approach to uncovering what we really want to achieve with each set of material and how to turn those desires into reality. As we work through it, I’ll be reporting on what we experience with each different set of material.
Sadly, the one unique feature of the Year Files will be lost – the ability to traverse a year chronologically through all its activities, family mementos, major events, and trivia. However, that’s a pleasure that, in practice, is not in great demand. In any case, once the material has been transformed, perhaps a future piece of work could explore how to re-create that experience on demand.