The last and final step in the process is to compile your supply needs, place an order and apply the materials to your heirlooms. After the first three steps you should have in front of you documents that contain lists of materials needed to preserve the items in each container of heirlooms you own. Despite all my efforts to find the magic spell for this step, there is really no trick to compiling this list quickly and easily.
The first step is to understand the quantities of supplies available. For example, photo sleeves typically come in packages of 100. If you know you have less than 100 of any size of photo, you might not need to count them because you will still be ordering one package of sleeves. This also applies to file folders, labels and anything else that comes in packages of multiples. Check these off your list first.
After that, it really just comes down to tallying things up from multiple lists. I tried form after form for this step and nothing ever quite worked. I’ve concluded this step is just too messy to be captured in a single form. You might find Excel works better for this portion, since you can easily add and edit numbers in a spreadsheet. Or, like me, you may just use a blank inventory form and add tallies for each count needed.
Once you have completed the obstacle course and prevailed in creating your shopping list, it’s time to wait for sales. Gaylord does regular sales at least every other month that last for several weeks at a time. Sales usually have a minimum purchase amount to be eligible for the discount. I have never seen a Gaylord sale that is better than 20% off. You might need to join their email mailing list in order to be notified of sales, they are often not advertised on the site and require a coupon code. I will also caution you that despite creating an account on the Gaylord website, your cart contents will not save from one visit to the next. Your login status will also time out after a period of time and you will lose whatever was in your cart. This is another reason that it is important to prepare a shopping list for large orders!
Applying the materials is another messy process. You will again want a large clean work surface with plenty of room to spread out your materials alongside your heirlooms. Start with rehousing the things that will have the most impact with the least effort. For example, I had a box full of framed photos my parents gave me. It lightened my load considerably to migrate these into sleeves and donate the old frames. I moved on to placing items into specially-selected containers. I saved photo sleeves and sorting for last, since this takes the most amount of time for the quantity accomplished.
After this process, I have learned it is possible to take a methodical and thorough inventory of my family heirlooms. In fact, I plan to repeat the process in a few months, now that everything is in new containers. This time around I will consider taking more time to develop a digital inventory, since I’m planning for this to be the permanent home of these items. Although there are ways to streamline the process, it’s never going to be an easy task to undertake. My reward is an inventory of my heirlooms, which I still reference to locate items, and a significant savings on retail and shipping costs. I also did accomplish my goal, which was to place a single order that consisted of all the necessary supplies for preserving my family memorabilia.
Have you undertaken a large-scale preservation process? Share your tips and tricks in the comments!
Read the previous posts in this series:
- Preservation Preparation 1: Home Survey
- Preservation Preparation 2: Workspace
- Preservation Preparation 3: Box Inventory