It started with Lori - Over the course of the past year she has been in a constant state of decluttering. She followed along the lessons from the book below.
She inspired me to get my own photographs (and well, my life) better organized. So I've also been in the process of getting my own little house, a little less cluttered. With a two year old, their toys, and boxes of hand me down clothes piling up, things get more cluttered with every passing day. The struggle is real.
In the end, the biggest hurdle for both of us has been what to do with the boxes of pictures that were scattered all over the house.
I am my family's historian. I know that as time passes, I will inherit even more photographs from family. And that's ok with me.
Except, I already had a ridiculous amount of old photo albums, most of which made no sense. When I was younger I would just take prints I had and stick them all in one book randomly. On the same page of a cheap plastic album, I would put my own baby pictures alongside high school pictures (bad fashion and all).
So clearly, there was work to do. Someday I'll be leaving all of my history in the hands of my son and I can't leave that it in shambles.
Here's some of what I did to cleanup and a few tips that might help you with your own photo organization:
- Gather. Start by collecting all of the pictures you find (from every room) and put them in one location.
- Get photo boxes. Or something that works for you. My preference was the basic storage boxes (like these) you find at any craft store.
- Start sorting. Use as simple or complex a timeline as you wish. Personally, I kept it simple as there were a lot of photos I couldn't be sure of their dates. So I sorted by "childhood, high school, college, etc."
- Consolidate. If you can. I did, mostly for space reasons. I removed photos from old torn apart albums with the sticky plastic pages, and sorted them into boxes. I discarded photos that were too blurry, duplicates, or if they were people I just didn't remember. I kept any family pictures, ones that held special memories, or told a story about who I was. My thought process was simple: If I can't explain why that photo is important to my son, is that particular image worth keeping?
- Don't dwell. So what happens if you just can't bring yourself to get rid of anything at all? Just organize them and move on. You'll drive yourself crazy wondering what to keep and what to toss. Don't let it get to that.
- In my world, done is most of the time better than perfect. My kids won't care if I was 11 or 12 or 14 in any particular series of photos. So if you can set aside any potential OCDs, it will go faster than you think.
My final tip? Take your time, take breaks and enjoy the process. I found that it was actually fun to go through them, reliving moments and fondly remembering days gone by.
So whatever your process is, enjoy it, because this is your life - literally.