Are you one of us lucky ducks who was around before digital photography? In our family, our oldest child has sweet paper photos of all of her early days and first year collected in a cute album. We have printed photos of our middle child too, but they never made it into an album. And the baby? Pretty much all digital, and equally unorganized!
If you have printed photos that have languished in boxes or envelopes for the past 16 years, or albums in poor condition or disarray, you’re not alone. It just seems like such an ordeal to sort through all of them, or at least that’s how I feel. But I’m ready to tackle that box of printed photos that’s haunted me for years! Professional Organizer Liz Perkinson gave me these tips, and I’m ready to get rolling:
The most important step is to start. Grab some index cards or post-it notes to make categories, and non-smearing pens to label the photos. If you have the space, you can sort photos into piles under their category card, or if you have a lot to sort, find some smaller boxes where you can “file” photos standing up behind the cards.
Go Easy With the Categories
The second (very important!) step is to give yourself a little latitude with your categories. You can sort photos into events like “Vacations” or “Christmas”, or group them chronologically. However, you’ll drive yourself crazy if you make strict chronology a goal. It’s fine to have a category called “toddler years” or, even “kids when little”. Isn’t this great? I may have to lump the entire first decade of this century into one group. Who’s going to stop me?
Keep Good Photos Only
Another tip is to throw bad photos or duplicates away. I know that my countless packs of prints straight from the drugstore photo department include tons of photos that are both bad and duplicate. Why are they still in there? And the negatives that came with them? Unnecessary.
Pick An Album, Any Album
Finally, after they are all sorted, what kind of album should you use? That’s really up to you. I just entered “photo album” into Amazon.com and it came back with 70,000 results. I can’t even begin to recommend one. But if you have a favorite, please let us know about it in the comments.
Label While You Still Remember What’s Going On in the Photos
Finally, Liz says it’s a mistake not to label the photos before you put them in an album or other storage of your choice. You can even write on the front! I didn’t know that was allowed but it made perfect sense when she said it.
We’ll save digital photos for another time, but I hope you’re inspired to drag out that box of paper photos or old albums you’ve been avoiding. Most of all, have fun with it! It’s probably one of the most fun downsizing chores there is.
Thanks to Liz Perkinson of Organizing Savvy for her tips!