The Home Edit Shares 5 Tips for Spring Cleaning with Ancestry®

Family History
4 March 2021
by Ancestry® Team

Where do celebrities like Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria, and Kane Brown go when looking for help with home organizing? For those who’ve seen their show on Netflix, you know they turn to Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, co-founders of The Home Edit.

And just in time for spring cleaning, Ancestry® connected with Clea and Joanna to share advice on how to use Ancestry® to help organize your family treasures—so you can not only add beauty to your home but honor and share your loved ones’ memories.

5 Top Tips

Here are Clea and Joanna’s top 5 tips for preserving and sharing family photos, documents, and other heirlooms.

Edit Your Items

Start with those dusty boxes in the basement or in the back of the closet. Go through all of your sentimental items and create categories. This includes photo albums, tangible keepsakes, clothing, documents, etc.

The hands of Clea and Joanna of The Home Edit sort through a drawer of family treasures

From Out-of-Sight to Digitally Thriving

It’s really easy to lose or damage priceless family documents and keepsakes. By preserving them digitally, you can *always* go back and print a hard copy, but not the other way around. This is especially important for one-of-a-kind items, such as pages from a journal, handwritten letters, and family heirlooms.

Clea and Joanna of The Home Edit seen from behind loking at old family photos and documents and scanning them for digital upload

These can provide the richest insights into someone’s life. They’re the key to preserving an ancestor’s personal stories, their personality, and what their life was like at that time.

And imagine how many others could benefit if you share images of these things with family across the world just by uploading and attaching them to a public family tree on Ancestry.

Get Specific

Every photo tells a story. So as you’re uploading them to your Ancestry® family tree to make them discoverable for more family, try to provide as much detail as possible.

Clea and Joanna of The Home Edit at a table, with Clea using Ancestry on her laptop and Joanna holding a framed family photo

You’ll want to include the year, names, location, etc. Start with what you knowand if you need help, ask other family members to help you fill in the gaps.

Store vs. Display

Once you sift through everything and find the most important keepsakes, we love displaying them in a shadow box or frame. It can add a personal touch to any space!

Clea and Joanna of The Home Edit, with Clea holding an old family portrait and a mobile phone, Joanna next to her, smiling

Create a System

To create a physical archive in your home, we recommend using archival photo boxes to keep the items protected for generations to come. You can either store in broad categories, such as year or family member, or subcategorize by occasion. The system you create depends on how you will access these items in the future.

The Perfect Time for Spring Cleaning with Meaning

“If there is ever a year to take an active role in preserving your family history, this is it,” said The Home Edit duo.

Clea Shearer says,

“Spring cleaning is traditionally thought to be a time of decluttering and clearing, but there is also an opportunity to bring rich new meaning and thoughtfulness to the age-old tradition. I’ve been an Ancestry member for years and was delighted to uncover a photo of my great-great-grandparents and their four kids.

“Putting faces to my family members’ names for the first time took my breath away, and it was all thanks to a distant cousin who decided to upload the photo to their family tree. It really showed me the power preserving these items has in sparking meaningful connections with more family and a new understanding of those who came before us.”


What Memories Will You Discover, Preserve and Share?

If you’re not yet a member of Ancestry®, you can sign up for 14 days of free access to Ancestry® here.

Then head over to this page for a full “how-to” guide on how to upload memories, start a family tree and attach these family memories, and share them with more family.