Do you still order printed photographs? If so, are the prints piled up and stashed away in cabinets, drawers, and boxes throughout your home or are they organized for easy retrieval when you want to look through them? If you’ve been frustrated by not being able to find a specific photo when you need it, join us this week as we sort through printed photos and bring order to those ever-growing piles. And don’t worry – if you store all of your photos on your computer, we’ll be focusing on digital photo clutter next week!
Organizing photos sounds pretty simple: gather, sort, label and file. However, the biggest issue most people have is the sentimental factor tied to the photos. As soon as you sit down with a stack of photos, you start recalling events and memories and time flies by. Before you know it you’ve spent two hours looking through 20 photos and you haven’t made a dent in your collection! For this reason, I want you to remain diligent this week. Set your timer for 15 minutes each day and focus only on the task at hand. I also want you to be realistic. If you’ve got thousands of printed photos, you will not get through them in 15 minutes. That’s ok! The goal this week is to get a plan in place and get started.
The first step is to gather all loose photos from around your house. Put them all in one location, ideally an open area of floor so you can spread out. Next, start sorting your photos into very broad categories. These categories will be different for every person and should be based on the types of photos you have. Examples of categories include decade, year, event, maternal/paternal side of family, etc. This is the part of the process that can take the longest because your natural instinct will be to reminisce. Make yourself focus on the category and place the photo into the appropriate pile. I promise, once your photos are organized you will have lots of time sit back and enjoy the trip down memory lane! This sorting phase is a great time to start paring down your collection. Many of your prints might be from pre-digital camera days when every picture was printed; if so, get rid of anything that isn’t a great photo. Take a good look at the photos and toss anything blurry, out of focus, and those with bad lighting. Also look at the people in the picture. If you can’t identify who is in the picture, set it aside to ask another family member. If no one knows who is in the picture, it might be safe to toss it!
Once your photos are arranged into broad categories, label the back of the photos with the date, event, names and ages, as appropriate, making sure to use an archival safe photo pen.
The final step in organizing printed photos is to decide how you want to store them. You have a wide variety of options, the most common being photo boxes or photo albums. Whichever you choose, make sure to store by category so you can find your photos when you’re ready to sit down and enjoy them!
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