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How to Organize a Backlog of Photos

02/18/2013 8:00 AM | Anonymous

by Jacquie Ross of CastAway the Clutter!


Do you have boxes and bags of old photos that never found their way into albums? Photographs are one of the best ways to preserve memories, but they can also become another pile of clutter if there is no organizational plan for storing and organizing them.


Image courtesy Stacks and Stacks (www.stacksandstacks.com)


Here are a few tips to get started:


Organizing Digital Photos


Today, most of us have moved to digital photos, but this has not necessarily ended the chaos. Disorganization on the computer or phone can be just as frustrating as disorganization in our physical space, because at the end of the day, you want to be able to find your photos when you need them. With that said, it is a little easier to organize digital photos. You just have to make the time to do so, and have a plan.


Decide on a system that works for you. You can create digital folders on your computer, by year, person or occasion and move each photo to the appropriate folder.


One drawback of storing photos on your computer is that they take up a lot of hard drive space, so you may wish to use a portable hard drive just for your photos. If you prefer not to keep any on your hard drive, or dont want to bother backing them up on a portable hard drive, there are many online storage options available. 


Organizing Hard Copy Photos


1. Get your tools together. When you’re ready to begin sorting through the backlog of your old photographs, you’ll want to have a few tools handy, including, but not limited to:

  • Containers, bins or large envelopes for sorting and categorizing
  • A trash can to discard duplicate copies
  • Photo albums, photo boxes or scrapbooks with acid-free pages and/or inserts
  • Scrapbooking supplies, if applicable.

2. Schedule some time to do a quick sort. If you have many years of photos, you might want to start by sorting and organizing by year. If it’s only a year or two, you will more likely be able to remember each photo and can sort by occasion or person, e.g. birthday parties by child, vacations, events, etc. Pick what is most intuitive to you.


3. Keep only the best of the best. It’s OK not to keep every single photo. If you have several shots of one person at the same event, pick the very best and get rid of the rest. It may feel a bit weird to throw away “good” photos, but it can be boring to look through a bunch of similar poses of the same person, so just pick the best.


4. Keep them organized during the process. For organizing projects that will take a while, consider storing them temporarily in envelopes and label each clearly with a marker, so that you know where you are when you have time to do a bit more sorting. Containers take up a lot more space, so it also depends on where you will be storing your photos when you’re not working on them.



Image courtesy Exposures (www.exposuresonline.com)


5. Display a few. Plan to set aside a few of your favorites for display purposes. You can display in a traditional photo frame for the wall or table top. Plus, there are many other unique ways to display photos. Decorating magazines can help you come up with some other ideas.


6. Get Extra Copies of Irreplacable Photos. For photos that would be devastating for you to lose in a flood or fire (or anyhow!), get extra copies made now, and store the back-up copies in a fireproof safe, a safety deposit box, or both.


© 2012-2013 by Jacquie Ross, CastAway the Clutter! All Rights Reserved.


Jacquie Ross is a professional organizer, certified life and family coach and award winning owner of CastAway the Clutter!, Jacquie works with busy professionals and families to clear their clutter, manage their time and run their households more effectively.



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