Get rid of of all the negatives and throw away all the paper envelopes that were taking up a lot of room. Yes, I hear you gasp, but I know perfectly well that I’d never go back and go to all the trouble of digging through the negatives to get reprints of anything made from them. Even though the quality isn’t perfect – scanned copies are much more useful these days than negatives. And besides, the last thing I want is MORE paper pictures, so I felt comfortable in decluttering them. If you are going to keep them, at least figure out a plan to keep them all organized.
Get rid of the darn duplicate photos! Lord in heaven, who ever came up with that particular marketing scheme? I had 4 or 5 copies of some pictures – ugh. And don’t get me started on all those dozens of little wallet sized school pictures we’d amassed over 25 years of school pictures. While you’re at it, get rid of the blurry shots, multiple shots of basically the same scene, and just plain bad photos.
Sorting the pictures is the biggest job. Crank up a good movie and settle in for marathon session. The first thing you have to do is decide on a sorting method. By event, by date, or by who is in the picture? Some people are real sticklers for sorting things in date order, but that isn’t all that relevant for me, so I went with WHO is in the picture instead. I settled on a few basic categories:
– Immediate family
– Extended family and friends
– Pictures of “stuff” or places like the zoo
– Everything else
My husband loves to take pictures of “stuff” – animals at the zoo, fancy cars at car shows, sunsets, flowers, you name it. My policy is that if it doesn’t have a picture of my kids in it, I’m not all that interested. But they are his and he loves them, so they can live in their own little section.
This is more of a long-term project. Do something with all your photos. Get them into albums, scrapbooks, frames, etc. What is the point of keeping all these pictures if you aren’t going to do something useful with them?
Send some copies to your kids or to other family members who would enjoy them, label people in photos for future generations, write down funny memories with them. Share all these wonderful memories with your friends and family.
So the basic strategy is this:
– Determine your priorities and set aside some time
– Choose a storage method that works. Safe from damage, easy to get to, out of the way of daily life.
– Pick an photo organizing scheme that makes sense to you and implement it
– Find the treasures and get them out in the open. Scrapbook them, print them in online albums or create a great photo collage of the memorable, meaningful pictures you love.
What are your best tips for organizing your photos?
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