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July 13, 2010

Where There's a Will....

No this blog post isn't about death records or wills. It's about not giving up.

My photo organization (or lack of!) has been uppermost on my mind lately. I've been stuck - bogged down in what seemed like a daunting overwhelming task. Organizing 40 plus years of my life? Phew! I have thousands of photos and slides to go through, to sort, to organize, to scan and to preserve for my children and grandchildren.

Don't get me wrong, I've started organizing my photos many times! I've always bogged down partway through. Then when I'd go back to it, I'd forget what I had been doing, what my plan was. Had I scanned this pile of photos? Had I printed off these? I had no idea!

Thanks to my readers, I was given some great ideas to help me over my personal hurdle. I felt motivated to start the process. I knew that one way to help me not give up partway through was to first create a space in my house where I could leave things partially completed.

I can get side-tracked very easily. Work and life gets in the way sometimes. So, I tried to be realistic. I can't change my personality or work methods or the fact that I know I'm going to get bored and want to work on something else before I'm done. So -- first step: choose a work area and make sure I can leave it for months if need be!

Up came the portable work table. Next step: Have hubby climb a ladder and drag down all the tubs full of photos. All of them. Gather all the photo albums that still have pictures in. All of them. Put every single tub and album out near or on the work table so I can see it. Take a big breath. Calm down and remember that I only have to sort ONE TUB AT A TIME.

Here's a photo of my sorting when I was part-way done. Many of the tubs are almost empty now. The piles of photos that I sorted are diminished (you can't see them in this picture but you will in the next!)

Next step as the photograph piles became taller, was to drag out a couple of accordion type containers and label the compartments with my sorting categories (Xmas, birthdays, Hallowe'en, T-baby, T-toddler, S-baby, S-toddler, Vacations, boating, camping, cottage, school pictures, and so on) There's no right or wrong for categories, it's whatever works for you. All the sorted photos went into the accordion container.

So now my task is to finish sorting (I'm almost done!) and storing the pictures in my accordion containers, then I will be ready to begin scanning. I already have a plan in my head for that part of the process and will talk about that as soon as I am ready to begin.

Meantime, I feel so great about my photos and I can see that there IS an end in sight! And if by chance I stumble on another tub or album of forgotten photos, I can easily sort and add them to the containers or to my soon-to-be scans.

So thank you to all my readers who took the time to share ideas with me and to help me leap the hurdle of my own apathy! Where there's a will, there's a way.


Sasha Mitchell said...

Good job! I know that's a good feeling after such a big (and important) project

Mary said...

GREAT job! I took on this task the first of January this year - it was my New Year's resolution. I worked about 8-10 hours a day for 4 months, and now just put in bits and pieces of time. I bought a 8gb flash drive and have a file for each year back to 1941 (when my parents married). Then I sorted by month within the year. I put all those before 1940 into one large file folder on the flash drive and then sorted those a little at a time. I'm down to less than 3 dozen pages to scan. All files are sorted by year and I've kept on the paper pics in the accordion file by year also. Each of my kids will get a CD of pics upon our death - the paper pics are theirs to fight over, but they all tell me that they will burn them. My niece has agreed to be the 'keeper of the pictures' of all the pre-1940 pictures. It's been A LOT of tiring work but it's almost done! You'll get yours done too!

Tex said...

Inspiring! Maybe it'll bet me off high-center.

Deb said...

Just be sure you scan at a high-enough resolution to 1) enable enlargement later if you wish, and 2) so that you can edit/retouch photos if you want to. If a photo is old and/or keepsake, and there is only one copy & no negative, it would be good to scan it at a very high resolution and save the raw scan for archival purposes, on a CD. Some of my scans of old family photos are 300 mb and larger in size.