Friday, October 19, 2007

One of These Days... and that copy-cat, Amy Caroline will stop cross linking to each-other's blogs, I swear!

Today is NOT that day.

I saw this post and I felt her pain so I had to give an explanation of how I handled that particular problem.

Now, my methods may not be yours, but I like to gather the mess together, and attack it like an animal. I don't stop (or if I have to, I don't LIKE it) and I don't let anyone touch my mess until it's allllll done being organized.

I had the same problem as Amy. I had a huge, storage box FULL of pictures, plus random hidey holes of them all over the house. Finally, one day, I collected them ALL. I gutted through them (made quick decisions and didn't spend a lot of time reminiscing...there is time for that later when you put them in albums or have the older kids help you put them in place), threw away all the ones that didn't have any relevance or meaning, or were underexposed, and put them in the following categories:

1. Children (for their own books, the rule was that THAT child had to be central in the picture and that if an auntie or uncle or other relie was in it, then it could just be included in the child's album-albumS...oh yeah, and don't feel bad that Becca's pile is ten times huger than Liam's pile! It is natural to take a bajillion pictures of the back of your first baby's head or her naked butt and almost NO pictures of subsequent children. I spend about a minute lamenting the size of the piles and then made a vow to take more of ALL of them for their future, viewing pleasure!).
1.(B) the children all together-at all stages, or with me and butch. I thought it would be nice to have a "family" album (of just US) that I could keep and we could look at together.
2. Butch from childhood
3. Laura from childhood (both through high school and pre-each other)
4. Laura and butch party/dating days.
4. (B) Laura and Butch wedding, and wedding related pictures (parties, honeymoon)
5. Random relatives
5. (B)Christmas throughout the years with the relatives (if it was just one child, I just put it in the kid's albums.)
6. vacations or special trips to special places
7. building/renovations projects (wondered why I took all of those stupid pictures! They are kind of fun to look at now!)
8. special, beautiful pictures for framing or working with (editing, scanning, black and whiting later pictures)
9. pictures of birds, objects, pictures the kids took of their toys or animals. There weren't a lot of these, but they deserved their own category.

This was SUCH a fun and faster than I thought project. It only took me a couple of days (because I needed my kitchen table back!) and I put each photo stack in those hingey plastic boxes so if I got distracted or whatever, I could keep them sorted (the special photobox/card system didn't work because I couldn't see how many pics I had and it was too hard to "file" I just threw them in their own boxes!). I bought a BUNCH of super cheap photo albums at walmart and target (3 bucks or less) along the way and started filling them with the pictures. I got about half way done, but they are all sorted and ready to be put in albums (the kind that have a space in the middle for words if you want to write about the pics. I don't have time for scrap booking so this was a great way to keep everything organized without having to exactly finish it. I keep a shoebox size box of the pics that come in and when it gets full-it's purging time and sorting time.

Oh, when I finally got to put them in an album, I would try to get as chronological as I could, but left some open spaces here and there for forgotten pictures or pictures that maybe someone else would give us in the future. I also threw away doubles or photo garbage (ads, envelopes, papers) and put ALL of the negatives in one box. All of them. That way, I figured, if I ever had a fire, I could just grab that box and at least have a bunch of pics if the ones I had in albums (or still in their sorting boxes) got burned or water damaged.

In this picture, you can see that the top, two shelves are all albums (about half of them still empty!) and the middle shelf has my storage boxes with my sorted pictures in them. The bottom shelf has our church, photo directories and high school year books and the one above that has my shoebox of to-be-sorted pictures and those little albums that might come in handy for the kids, or for gifts someday, and also some more albums.

I had to clean off a book shelf for this project (maybe you'll have to clean off TWO or buy one?), but it's worth it because now I have easy access (and so do visitors!) to my "project", plus, it helped me to purge a lot of books that I didn't need or that someone else might enjoy (but storage boxes work in the meanwhile for project at a time!).

On the left of this picture are some of my kid's books (the short shelf), and to the FAR left is all of my school books and extra reference books. I got rid of a BUNCH of books that were nice, but that we never used or that didn't work for us for school. It's amazing what you can get rid of if you have no room for and you realize that maybe someone else could use!

Okay, now you know...go sort!