Chaos 2 Organized

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Organizing your Photographs

photo camera

The preservation of photographs has dramatically changed over the years ever since the first consumer digital cameras were released in the 1990’s revolutionizing the way we view photographs as well as store them. Today’s generation will never know the excitement surrounding the setting up of a projector and watching one’s photos flash up on a screen in the form of slides. They will also never experience the cost of developing a film only to find out that half the photographs are either out of focus; red-eye exposed or poorly lit. In fact some people may choose to never develop their digital photography, but instead keep them nicely stored in digital folders on their computer and backed up to a hard drive or a flash drive. This blog, however, is intended for those of us that have scattered photographs throughout the home in serious need of some form of organization.

  1. The first step to this process is to go through all your cabinets and drawers and gather up your photographs and place them in some kind of container or shoe box for the time being.
  2. Start the sorting process once you are satisfied that you have accumulated all of your photos. Take an afternoon to go through the photos and purge all of the obvious disasters. i.e. duplicates; out of focus; red-eye; low light; or even just poor quality.
  3. The remainder of the photos now needs to be grouped according to years and then further sub-divided into specific events within those years.
  4. Now you need to decide on your method of storage:
    • Scan and go digital: The process of scanning every photo is long and tedious although it does leave you paper free in the end and makes it easier for digital slide show viewing and sharing.
    • Digital Photo Album: Very attractive and creative and great for highlighting a specific event in your life such as your wedding; child’s birth; or even a memorable vacation. The downside to this option is that it can be a very expensive way of preserving your memories.
    • Scrap booking: This is a beautiful way of gathering collected memories in the form of both photographs and mementos. E.g. a scrapbook of baby’s first year can even include a hospital bracelet; a newspaper clipping; or even a lock of hair. Scrapbooks make wonderful creative gifts which illustrate a lot of care and are very sentimental. On the other hand it can be a very long tedious task for someone who does not naturally care for scrap booking.
    • Traditional Photo Album: Takes up a lot of space on the book shelf and can become discolored over the years. However it is possible to purchase photo albums nowadays that are acid free and have archival quality paper. An advantage of using photo albums is that your photos also remains fingerprint free from people browsing through your memories.
    • Photo Boxes: Stack attractively and come in many different colors and designs which can  be utilized as part of a rooms overall decor. The downside to this method is that each photo is easily exposed to fingerprints when being handled.
  5. Start placing your photos in the order that you previously sorted them in and use the storage method that works for you. Start from the earliest year and place in all the photos from that year according to events that occurred. Now record this information as best as you can:
    • Digital Folders: Label your Digital Folder with the year and inside that Folder have all of your sub folders relating to events at that time.
    • Traditional Photo Album: Label along the sides of each photo and include information such as date; place; and event.
    • Photo boxes: Fill out the Photo Box Dividing Card listing the date; Event (Subject) and place. E.g. Date listed is 1973 and on the same card are all the events that occurred in 1973 such as Easter; Summer Vacation; Halloween; Birthdays & Christmas. Now add your photos in the same order behind the labeled photo box dividing card. The next labeled Photo Box Dividing Card is then placed behind those photos and the process is repeated until all the groups of photos have been boxed with a card illustrating the relevant information.
  6. The time period for this task is dependent on how many photos you have in your collection that need to be sorted. Don’t be discouraged by the length of the process but instead tackle it in the same manner that you tackle other organizing tasks.
    • Visualize the end result
    • Plan the process and focus on what needs to be done:
      • Gather
      • Minimize
      • Sort
      • Storage
      • Label
    • Set a realistic time frame for this project
    • Make yourself accountable to someone you trust
    • Begin today and you will be that much closer to your desired end result.

Then finally, I have attached a link to my website for you to download a free Photo Box Divider Card Template. This will come in handy should you decide to store your photographs in a Photo Box. Please feel free to share this Blog with someone whom you know may benefit from any of these ideas.


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