16 November 2013

Photo Organization Project: Part 3

 I am slowly working my way through box after box of photos I brought home from my parents' house. I know I'm not the only one working on a project like this, so I thought I would share my process in the event that it might work for someone else. (Here are links to the previous posts: Part 1 and Part 2) Of course, it helps to have a great assistant like Lily! :)

This week I started sorting through the "everyday" photos, snapshots of daily life. These photos fall into three categories, each with or without dates:
1) Loose photos
2) Photos in envelopes
3) Photos removed from old albums

My goal is to put them all into date order in the black photo boxes I use for storage. This is a challenge because many (most) of the photos are not dated. 

Sorting Process
 I cut some acid-free cardstock to 4.25x7 to fit in my photo boxes and labeled a card for each year. This is a quick and easy way to make dividers when you need a lot of them.  Behind each decade of pictures, I created a divider for "Undated photos from the the 1980's" (or 1990's, etc.). I can usually figure out what decade the photos are from, so any pictures I can't date go in that slot for the time being.

Loose Photos
I sorted through stacks of loose photos, separating the photos with dates from those without. Some undated photos were easy to figure out, as they were obviously taken at the same time as other photos with dates. I also sorted the photos with rounded corners from the photos with square corners. Why? Because they were obviously taken with different cameras at different times. Hopefully this will help me determine approximate dates at some point!

 Photos Removed from Albums
 Before the auction, I removed photos from perhaps 10 old photo albums. They were inexpensive photo albums with the slip-in type sleeves. Because they were bulky to store, I sold the albums at the auction and filed the photos (in order) in boxes so I could integrate them into my organization system. Since I'm the one who put them in the albums many moons ago, I'm hoping they are in relative order! We'll see about that as this project progresses. I have not yet tackled those boxes!

Photos in Envelopes
Other than the boxes of loose photos, my biggest task is sorting through the photos in developer envelopes -- simply because I have so many of them. The envelopes can be both a good and bad thing. From an organization standpoint, they are helpful since the photos are kept together. But from a preservation standpoint, you never want to keep photos in developer envelopes long-term, because the paper may not be acid free. So my goal is to remove the photos and put them in my chronologically dated photo boxes, separated by dividers made from acid-free cardstock.

 First I sorted the envelopes by subject, specifically separating out photos from my parents' winters in Arizona. I plan to make an album of some of those photos, so I decided to store them separately and not mix them in with our family photos. 
Some of the photos have those annoying little dates on the front -- something I normally don't like but am thankful for in this situation! Unfortunately my parents didn't know how to reset the date on their camera, and it often showed an obviously wrong year. So I can't always go by those dates! :)

Other photos are marked on the back with dates, or can be dated by an activity (such as a wedding) taking place in that year.  As I worked, I tried to get rid of some of the duplicate photos to reduce the bulk.

By the end of one long evening, I had gone through lots of photos and filed them into my photo boxes. I still have miles to go but have made a good start!
 Like any big project, getting started is the hardest part!

1 comment:

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Oh that top picture is the cutest!!!!