Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Organizing Photos

A photo of my folks on their trip to France

Less face it, organizing photos can seem like an overwhelming task, which is why I've got a few pointers to help you get started. To clarify right away, I'm only referring to printed photos in this blog.

1) Gather your photos into one area.
You may be physically dealing with a large numbers of photos scattered around your house in various boxes, and albums. Take something like a large laundry basket and gather your photos together.

2) Find a clear corner or spot where you can "set up shop."
Once you have gathered everything put them where you have space to work. Make sure it's not a high traffic area that has good light and either a clear floor or table surface. (I like working on the carpeted floor myself.)

3) Prepare your work surface.
If your working on a table, make sure it's clean, dry, and free of anything that might spill or get your pictures dirty. If you choose a floor area, make sure it's either well swept or vacuumed.

4) Make yourself comfy.
Grab a pillow cushion for your chair or a throw rug for the floor for comfort. Pour yourself a cup of tea or water (in a closed container of course,) and turn on some relaxing music.

5) Set a timer.
Most people should not attempt going through every photo they have in one sitting. It can be overwhelming and emotionally draining. You want to be able to enjoy what you are doing or at least be able to make choices in a clear state of mind about what to keep and what to toss. Pick a time limit and stop when the timer dings. You can pick up where you left off when the next time allows.

6) Designate a pile for tossing and a pile for giving away to other people. Toss any pictures that are blurry, are duplicates that no one else will want, are of people or things you don't recognize, make you feel bad about yourself or are of bad memories. Set aside photos for others and send them to people in the mail with a letter.

7) Sort pictures in a way that makes sense to you.
A few ways to sort pictures are: by date (chronologically) by big events, or by family members.

8) Record any memories or dates on the back of pictures with a photo pencil. If you don't have a photo pencil, I like to use sticky note tabs temporarily.

9) Protect your photos for good.
Invest in a photo storage box with dividers for labeling your dates and events. It's always a good idea to make sure paper and containers are acid free and will protect them from sun and water.

10) Choose a safe place to store your photos.
Once you are done, you should store your photos in a space that has as little temperature change as possible. Make sure you put them where you can access them quickly for sharing with others and enjoying yourself as well.

** Bonus words **
Photo scanning and digital photo organizing is a whole other avenue of photo organizing. More to come on that as I learn about it too.

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