Knee Deep in Organizing Photos

Two weekends ago, I had the bright idea to “once and for all” (yeah right!) organize all of my photos. And we’re talking years and years worth here, people! My ancestors, DH’s ancestors, my childhood/young adult photos, his childhood/young adult photos, our dating/engagement/wedding photos, our kids’ baby/toddler/childhood photos, vacation photos, … Okay, you totally get the idea, right? LOTS of photos!

NOT having them organized has been such a hindrance to my scrapbooking over the years, I really, really, REALLY want to get this done!

I’m Half LUDDITE … and it took me longer than most to convert from a point and shoot film camera to (gasp!) “going digital” several years ago. So I have more printed photos than the average bear. Plus, I’m probably older than you :P (I remember 45 records, rotary dial phones, and typewriters). (If you don’t understand these terms, e-mail me *wink*).

Here is the plan and progress so far:

1. Gather photos from all the nooks and crannies I have stashed them in over the years.
2. Add both leaves to the dining room table and put all photos in one place to work on.
3. Take Creative Memories Power Sort Boxes* out of packaging and assemble.
4. Put all negatives, CDs, index prints, and (now obsolete) Advantix cartridges in one box.
5. Sort photos into CM boxes by decade/year.
* I’ll take a photo of mine and post it later. Apparently, they no longer make the big ones like I have so I can’t find a photo online anywhere :(

I’m on Step 5 now. It’s taking a lot of time to get through all the photos and get them remotely in the right place. I know the biggest problem is that I love my photos so much, I feel the need to look at almost every single one. Which is a silly way to make any kind of progress, but I can’t help it. I *LOVE* my photos! The memories, the laughs, the tears, my beloved family and friends, good times, celebrations, sadness, missing my dad, seeing how my kids have changed and grown … ah, I love it all!

Now it’s about two weeks after I started this project, and I at least have my photos into their major categories. Now the plan is to go through each Power Sort Box and get those photos in the best order I can. Some of them are in pretty good shape already; I’ve made attempts at photo organization many, many times before … and made some actual progress each time. I just never seem to get the entire job done. Or something happens like my mom brings me a stack of old photos when she visits, or I find another box or album of pics somewhere.

When I took 35mm, I almost always got Twin Pix for, like, a dollar extra. I’m debating what to do with all my duplicate photos. Should I scrap one set and keep the other filed? Should I pass the duplicates on to other family (or trash them if they’re not wanted?). Should I pack them away and save them for my kids? I’m just not sure. What do you think?

I have a lot of work to do with my pre-marriage photos. There are SO many … all shapes and sizes … from those tiny wallet school pics that I exchanged with friends to 4×6 prints to portraits, etc. There’s my dad’s side of the family and my mom’s. Friends, school, sports … oh my! They’re going to be the biggest challenge because of the variety of sizes and also because they’re the hardest to place dates on and in get in some kind of chronological order.

I’m hoping that the next time my mom visits, we can go through the photos together and she can help me with times, places, and people … also any memories she has of the events. I figure I’ll put sticky notes on the back of the photos. Then someday when Martians land on earth and I actually get around to scrapping these photos, I’ll have some of the journaling ready to go.

So that’s what I’ve been up to! And you know what the absolute best part is??? As soon as I’m done getting my photos organized … I’m going to start on all my memorabilia ~ Yippee Skip! Decades of letters, awards, ticket stubs, programs, school papers, art, and all that other fun stuff. I’m sure that all of the fun memories will get me through that task, too :)

I can’t even contemplate the topic of COMPUTER photo organization. I’ve had a Mac for about 5 years and regularly download the photos from my iPhone and camera card to iPhoto. That program does a great job of organizing them by date and I’ve started tagging the ones I’ve scrapped but that’s about it. The thought of scanning old photos and negatives, assigning dates to them, keeping everything updated on my external hard drive, etc. is just too, too much. By then, I will have seen all the photos already so it will just be the sheer agonizing task of if all.

Aw crap.

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13 Comments on Knee Deep in Organizing Photos

  1. Delanie
    March 30, 2011 at 1:21 am (4 years ago)

    Wow – that sounds like a big project. Congratulations for starting, sounds like you are really organised, about the project even if your photos aren’t. ;)

    Reply
  2. Kerry
    March 30, 2011 at 3:06 am (4 years ago)

    I feel your pain.
    I “moved” all my photos and was thinking about organizing them, but I need a HUGE chunk of time to do it.
    I have 3 cropper hopper photo storage boxes full of family photos. It’s photos from mine and my dh’s childhood that need organizing.

    Reply
  3. Cindy Dale
    March 30, 2011 at 3:46 am (4 years ago)

    I loved reading this post. I remember 45’s, rotary dial phones and typewriters! I purchased the large power sort box when CM first got them and went through most of my pics…and for whatever reason I THREW out all my negatives! I could kick myself in the butt for that one! Why did I do that?!!!!! Thank God I have a scanner now!.
    As far as your duplicates I would keep them, scrap one set and file the second set and I’ll tell you why. I lost a son almost three years ago and having duplicate pics to give to his wife, his kids and other family members was important. You just never know when those duplicates will come in handy. I am working on the scraproom organization from Wookiemouse’s blog that I found on 2peas thanks to you. I haven’t gotten to the organizing the pictures yet. I’m like you…tons and tons of pics. Then I have some on a computer that we don’t use because it’s a dinosaur and need to get them on an external hard drive…many of my son that passed away. Good luck and thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  4. Kel
    March 30, 2011 at 4:27 am (4 years ago)

    I’m doing the same with organizing old boxes …and boxes…AND boxes of photos.. I pretty much just sort into events..get rid of all the dups along with paper envelopes they came in ..along with negatives. I then end up with a bunch of piles of events/themes. I then re-look.. keep some of the each event/theme from pile and toss any more I can. Then I got the page planners from CM and have taken pile by pile and then made pretty collage type pages of the different events. On pages i want to journal a lot, I just add a second matching page to make it a 2 page layout and journal on one whole side.

    Reply
  5. Shell
    March 30, 2011 at 5:17 am (4 years ago)

    now when you have finished yours, do you want to pop over and do mine!?? ;-)

    I sort of have mine semi sorted – but I keep being given photos!! I have a bunch from my elderly aunt and on my trip back home to NZ – I came back with another bunch of photos from my parents. Not counting the several boxes worth I left in NZ to sort out more the next time I am home!

    Reply
  6. Tammy
    March 30, 2011 at 6:45 am (4 years ago)

    Love how you are organizing and attacking the project. Sometimes its the best way to do it – to just do it all at once! I did something similar a few years ago and it does make scrapbooking and finding photos much easier

    Reply
  7. Vanessa
    March 30, 2011 at 6:57 am (4 years ago)

    Sounds like you’re moving along with your organization. Good luck! It will be worth it in the end. Most of my older photos are organized in albums, I don’t have the negaitives from them though…threw those out when I had them printed. A scanner is the next thing on my shopping list. Most of my recent ones are on the computer just organized by month and date. I need to get around to tagging though…

    Reply
  8. Alyssa
    March 30, 2011 at 9:01 am (4 years ago)

    I really relate to this. My own photo disorganization has been a problem for me, so I’m tackling this as well. Once I get it figured out, I’ll blog about it. :)

    Reply
  9. Andrea
    March 30, 2011 at 10:24 am (4 years ago)

    I had a Kodak Advantix camera, too – I loved the panorama shots. As a teen, I also had a Kodak Disc Camera. I have a shoebox full of the negative wheels. A couple of years ago, I looked into having them digitized – it was super expensive.

    Reply
  10. vicki
    March 30, 2011 at 2:08 pm (4 years ago)

    wow that is a HUGE job; massive. i love sorting through my photos –
    find it very inspiring!!! i hope you get it all done and i can’t wait to see
    some older photo on your blog xxxx

    Reply
  11. tracy
    March 30, 2011 at 9:07 pm (4 years ago)

    That is a big project, I did mine last year. And I was pretty organized to begin with.
    Good luck, sounds like you are doing great so far.

    Reply
  12. Smcl
    March 31, 2011 at 10:54 pm (4 years ago)

    Good for you–the joy you receive from looking through your photos helps to alleviate the pain of organizing!! Would suggest keeping your duplicate prints, I use thwm in different layouts over time, you’d be amazed how they will come inhandy. Also–check ebay for CM old style boxes or have a consultant do a search to find a consultant somewhere who has some. (Twice as big as the new ones at less than twicw the price!!)

    Reply
  13. Angie Akins
    April 4, 2011 at 8:01 pm (4 years ago)

    Great Blog….I need to organize photo’s really really bad

    Reply

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