The military has touched each of us in some way throughout our lives; a parent, spouse, sibling, friend, or even personally served our country. For many in the military, their careers provide them with an opportunity to accumulate a variety of things that are significant, both historically and personally. Trying to make sense of this collection can be overwhelming at best – especially since such items are highly likely to pack a hefty emotional punch.
Unlike most sorting and organizing projects, the first order of business with military memorabilia is to determine it's worth. More than the value on Ebay, I am referring to the historical value. Begin by putting everything together in one place and cataloging what is there. You can then check with some easily accessible websites to gather more detailed information regarding value. Most arm forces sites will have a section dedicated to military history. Check the appropriate site as medals and decorations will be listed. The Veterans Administration is also an excellent resource, as are specialized collectors groups and local historical societies. If all else fails, consider a local antique dealer.
The next step is to preserve what is valuable both historically and personally. It is important to honor the person or the act represented by the item, so displaying them is the best option provided there is room. Shadow boxes and professional framing are ideal for medals, uniforms and even some correspondence. Any paper items should be stored in acid-free archival boxes.
Items that did not make the cut and are to be donated can go to local schools and universities, local historical societies, libraries or veterans and reenactment groups. Personal letters can be donated as well. Try not to assume the donation recipient will or will not want something until you ask.
Most of all enjoy the process. Respect the history and appreciate your veteran.
Have a Neat day.
Jennifer Snyder, Certified Professional Organizer
Neat as a Pin Organizing Exerts
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