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.