Recently I contacted personal organizer Stepahie Schur to ask what to do about my "Photo-Phobia." She had some great ideas to movitate me to create order out of my Kodak chaos. My recent 3-part series of articles inviting readers to join me in my Organizing Challenge was so successful that I decided to launch my Photograph Organizing Challenge.
Below I outline my plan, based on what I learned from Stephanie.
Questions to Ask Myself
- What is the goal?
- Do I just want to put my pictures in large groupings and then in boxes?
- Do I want to pull out favorite prints and put them in albums?
- Do I want to make books of photos using Websites like Apple or Shutterfly?
- Do I want to take favorite digital photos to CVS or the like and make prints and/or CD's?
- How much money am I willing to spend on making prints, books, etc.? (I'm not good at letting go, so this could cost a lot and take up a lot of space.)
- Do I want to make books or albums for anyone else, such as my daughters?
- Do I want to use only archival materials which will help the photos to last much longer? They can be quite a bit more expensive, so it may depend on the cost.
- Where will I dislay my new albums of favorites? Or will I?
- Where will I store second-tier photos that I don't want to discard?
- What categories do I want to use for sorting? (For example, do I want a broad family category or do I want a category for each of my three daughters?)
- What if I end up with 40 albums?
- Regardless of my answers, after I get going I may find I need to take a different path. It's hard to anticipate exactly what I'll uncover among my thousands of images.
Sample Plan to Begin Organizing Photo Prints
- Many old prints are in little albums, one to a page, others are in larger albums; many are in the Kodak envelopes, some are in boxes and some are loose.
- I plan to break this down into smaller segments. I'll start with a manageable batch to go through while watching TV.
- It's all about getting started, then I know it will flow and be fun!
- I'll separate out favorites for an album, ones to throw away and then there will be a lot left over that I'll want to store.
- Rubber bands. Rubber bands will help keep categories together while you're working.
- Albums. I won't know exactly what albums I'll need; perhaps I'll want one for each daughter, a family travel album, an album for my solo trips. It gives a semblance of order to think about this in advance, but to remain flexible. I'll also consider making an album of all large photos, one to a page.
- Paper and pen for keeping track of categories and making other notes.
- White envelopes and a markers so I can note clearly which photos are in the envelope.
- Photograph storage boxes.
If You Have Thought About Your Plan, It's Time to Get Started
- Don't put pictures into chronological order until you first sort them into major categories.
- After a while you may want to combine categories or divide divide them into narrower groupings. For example, you might decide to divide pictures of a child into earlier years and later years.
- Be strict about throwing out.
- Commit to spending time but break it up into small, manageable segments.
- Rubber bands are handy for while you're working, so the stacks of photos don't slide around.
- For photos not going into albums, put them into white envelopes, and mark clearly what is inside. These photos will then go into photo boxes.
- You may want to separate out uber-favorites for archival albums.
- Attach a decorative label on the spine of each album describing what is inside.
- Make a CD of favorite pictures, but be realistic. Will you ever look at it? On the other hand, if you know you have a CD, it may help you discard.
- Before putting photos in albums, you may want to do a second run through to eliminate more OR save time by paring down further as you put the pictures into albums.
- We all have shots of the same thing from this angle and that; choose the best one and get rid of the others.
- Think about which pictures will make you happy to see all the time. Frame these and display them on a shelf
- Select favorites for a wall of pictues.
I hope you'll take the Photograph Organizing Challenge with me.
For framing and hanging, check out my articles:
- Easy, Inexpensive Do-It-Yourself Picture Framing
- 29 Great Tips for Choosing the Right Picture Frames & for Hanging Artwork and Family Photos.
I'd love to hear from you in the comments below . . . what additional tips do you have for organizing photographs?