To conclude Organization Week, we bring you inspiration to tackle your hard copy photos.
As Alison and I sat listening with rapt attention to Lisa Burlee’s tutorial on organizing digital photos, we got to talking about organizing hard copy photos. Over the years the children and I have raided our photo albums for various projects, like adorable little books for lower school, my life posters,
yearbook ads and senior videos. In addition the attic is filled with oodles of frames that, though holding precious memories, I no longer want to display and dust. The result: I have gaping holes in my photo albums, and a bunch of bins, stacks and envelopes full of unorganized photos that I don’t have efficient access to when I want to use them.
I’m trying to follow Kim Menges’ advice on stuff:
If you don’t use it or love it, get rid of it.
My numerous photo albums need consolidation to free up valuable storage space, and certainly the old frames need to find new homes because I no longer use or love them.
Step 1 — Make a List by Year of Major Events
Alison devised a simple approach when she had to start making senior ads out of baskets full of untamed photos. It dovetails nicely with how I have chosen to name my Events in iPhoto. Her methodology for organizing hard-copy photos is to make a list by year of the big events that occurred during it. I love how she made a column for her children’s age and grade in January of each year.
Though I’ve saved old calendars for piecing such a list together, this process became an archaeological dig. Eventually I found all my old calendars, beginning with 1993, but to my dismay, I discovered that when I started using a digital calendar and traded machines here and there, I lost my old digital calendars; they have no afterlife. In the future I will have to proactively document major events and activities on our family photo calendar because, as my children have grown, I no longer keep their activities on that calendar that used to be my command central.
Tip: If you use a digital calendar, be sure to self-document your family’s highlights on a hard-copy calendar in case you lose your digital one.
Step 2 — Sort and Stack Photos by Year
Initially I tried sorting a bin of photos without my list of events by year, but my poor memory wasn’t up to the task. With Alison’s guide, I dedicated several hours to making my Year list. Trust me, the time investment is worth it.
One kink in the sorting methodology I ran into was what to do with photos of individuals, you know, class pictures of friends and family members not necessarily related to a particular event. I put those photos on a separate table and will group by family. It’s not perfect, but I’m not going to let a little imperfection get in the way of finally making sense out of the rest.
All Sorted, Now What?
Once you process all desired photos, put them in envelopes to hold for future scanning or return to them to photo albums or boxes.
My fantasy is to scan the photos I want to save into my iPhoto library. I’ve heard there are businesses dedicated to just that task, so I might consider outsourcing. If you’ve used one, please let me know. Stay tuned!
For now, the weight of disorganization is no longer crushing me thanks to Lisa and Kim’s sensible ideas. If our experts have inspired you to start organizing your photos or other stuff, please send us a picture. Let’s share the inspiration with each other!
January 23, 2014
p.s. Congratulations to the winner of our Second Anniversary Giveaway of the Dana Gibson Emperor pillow, Sarah Wiley.
Thanks to everyone who participated and especially to Dana for donating this fabulous prize!