What Do I Do With All These Pictures?

If you are like me, you’ve often asked yourself this very question.  Its easy to get overwhelmed with tons of printed photos and struggle to figure out a way to organize them all.  If this is you, today is your lucky today!  One of my very good friends, Jennifer Burnham, is the owner of Pure and Simple Organizing and she is guest blogging here today!

Jennifer has an amazing talent for helping people get things in order and really make sense of their surroundings.  By taking all of the clutter that we accumulate and coming up with innovative ways to organize it, she is able to make our lives easier and create more space than we thought we had. I invited her to guest blog for me today because I thought this would be a wonderful topic for you all.  Today she is going to help us make sense of the tons of printed photos that we may have accumulated throughout the years.  If you like her advice, (which I’m sure you will!) you can head on over and check out her website to get more organizing tips and ideas!  You can also email her by clicking here.

As always, I can’t wait to read your comments below! Enjoy!

How many of you have photos scattered throughout your house — boxes in the attic, boxes in the garage, envelopes piled everywhere from where you had them developed but yet to do anything with?  Go ahead, you can raise your hand.  Photo storage and organization is one of the biggest challenges I face with each and every client.  Yes, I said each and every.  We all, myself included, have a photo storage dilemma!  What to do with all those pictures?

The first thing you should ask yourself, is what do I really want to do with my pictures?

  • Do I want to display them either in desktop frames or enlarged photo frames?  You could create a wall collage of images from over the years — decorative and functional.
  • Do you want to display the pictures in albums, labeled and categorized?   (My preferred method of storing and showcasing photos)
  • Do you want to display a few special pictures and store the rest in acid free boxes, labeled and categorized of course!

The answer to these questions will give you some guidance as you start this project.  Alright — now where to start!

  • Take the time to really tackle the project
    • Photo organization takes a lot of time, especially if there are a lot of photos
    • Spend a few hours each day until the project is completed
    • My recommendation:  2 hours every day or every other day
  • Gather all of the pictures from around the house
    • Go into the attic and garage to get the boxes.
    • All of the pictures should be in one location — makes the project much more efficient
  • Sort the pictures
    • By Year and Event (1999, Jennifer’’s 16th Birthday…or by…
    • Child, then event (Pile #1=Jennifer:  1st birthday, 1st Christmas, 3rd birthday…)
  • Throw away (yes, you can throw away pictures) any that are:
    • Blurry
    • Of people that you don’t know or cant remember who they are, where it was taken, and why
    • Unflattering of you or anyone else in your family
    • Of places that don’t have a specific emotional significance (the birds flying overhead during a beach vacation 10 years ago really isn’t special or important)
    • I highly suggest calling for backup.  Call your children if they are old enough to help.  They can help sort, purge, and categorize.
  • Pick the best 5-10 pictures from a particular occasion, like Christmas 2002, and either get rid of the rest or store them elsewhere.
    • This is especially helpful if you have pictures from before the times of digital cameras.
    • Example: my parents took 50 pictures of me opening presents on Christmas morning 1984.  Not every picture was cute and attractive, much less needed.  They took that many because instant review was not an option then!
  • Repeat the process of sorting and purging.  The second time around will be much easier and go by a lot faster!
  • If you plan to display the pictures, then map out the display and go shopping for frames!
  • If you plan to store in albums, then…
    • Purchase 10 or more albums in same size and color
      • Purchase more than you THINK you will need — it is easier to return unused albums, then it is to track down more of the same when they are needed
      • Categorize the albums either by year or child. (I prefer by year)
      • Within each album, categorize by event and label them
      • If you are crafty, then create attractive subdividers for each event
      • Make sure you label the albums!
  • If you plan to store in boxes or binders, then…
    • Label by year and divide by event.
    • Use acid free boxes, pens, and envelopes.

I know it is hard to imagine throwing away pictures, but if they are blurry or unflattering then do yourself a favor and toss.  The purpose of taking pictures is to relive your special moments years and years later.  Lying in boxes or envelopes off in the deep crevices of your home are not serving its purpose.  Why even bother taking pictures at all if you are not going to display them!  And, don’t get discouraged if you get sidetracked — memory lane is very distracting!

Thanks Jennifer! What do you think? Are you going to resolve to get through your old photos this year? Let us know in the comments!

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One thought on “What Do I Do With All These Pictures?

  1. Pingback: What To Do With All Those Photos? | pureandsimpleorganizing

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