16 February 2015

Photo Organization: Paring Down Portrait Pics

Here's a profound thought for a Monday: If you never spend time working on something, you'll never get it done. 

That's pretty obvious, but that's where I've been for the past year or more: STUCK on my projects because I haven't had time (or inclination, or emotional fortitude, or whatever) to devote to them. As a result, I have boxes and boxes that are still right where they left them many moons ago.

I recently decided that ENOUGH is ENOUGH. Nobody is going to fix this problem for me. I am a person who needs order, and the chaos is really eating away at me. So I decided to tackle one big project this past weekend (one that has really been bothering me) and see if I could devote enough time to it to make a real dent in it. And I'm happy to report that I DID make a dent in it, although maybe I'm the only one who can see it! LOL

Here's where I started: A bunch of boxes of unsorted photos (this pictures shows just a portion of them) pretty much all labeled "miscellaneous".

Here's what I ended up with after a solid day of work: Boxes that contain somewhat organized photos, labeled so that I'll be able to access them when I'm ready to scrapbook them (or whatever I decide to do with them). You can't see it here, but I cleared out multiple boxes and tubs. Spouse commented that you can actually see the carpet now -- that is how bad it was!
Note: Rather than using photo boxes, for now I've left everything in plastic tubs so that the related framed items and small albums could all be kept together. Now the tubs are sorted and labeled in a way that makes sense to me.

I had two main areas to tackle this past weekend:
1) Continue working on my professional or portrait-type photos. I first posted about this project HERE.
 2) Finish up my daughter's portrait album, or at least gather the stuff to do that.

I also sorted through boxes of newspaper clippings, recipes, and other STUFF I brought home from my grandma's house. I knew at the time that much of it didn't need to be saved, but I still had to sort through it to verify that.

 1) Portrait OVERLOAD
I started with tubs of portrait pictures of me, my grandparents, my parents, and my daughter. Many were still in frames that I collected while clearing out my childhood home and my grandma's house. I also amassed a LOT of duplicate portraits. My goal was to eliminate most of the duplicates, pare down all the wallet photos (WHY did we keep so many?), and reduce the bulk of what I was storing.

Here's what I did:
* I took pictures out of the frames, unless the frame was one I wanted to keep. I put the frames in a box to donate. 
* I recycled most of the heavy cardboard-type "frames" on some of the older photos. They add a lot of unnecessary bulk to scrapbooks so I didn't see a need to keep them.
 * I sorted photos chronologically and put them in acid-free sleeves.
* I gathered related items and put them all together.

Here's an example, this one for my own photos. I gathered all of the professional-type photos of me (school, baby book, dance, etc.).

I sorted the photos into sleeves and added dates. Once they were sorted, I could easily remove duplicates. For convenience, I added rings to the sleeves. As I was doing that, I thought...Hey, this is starting to look like a scrapbook! :) It's obviously far from that, but it will be easy to transfer to one when I'm ready.

Now all the portrait-type pictures are in one bin, not scattered in several tubs. I created a separate bin with photos of my grandparents, my mom, and my dad.

2) Portrait Album
When Bailey graduated from high school, we made a portrait album which contained her professional baby/toddler photos as well as yearly school portraits. The idea of this type of project really appealed to me and, although there are some things I wish we'd done differently, I'm fairly happy with it overall. But there were quite a few additional portraits that never made it to this album, so one of my goals was to finish this project.

 Previously I had stored all of her wallet sized photos elsewhere. Spouse seemed available and somewhat cooperative :) so I had him sort and eliminate the duplicate wallet pictures. (I decided to keep 2 of each pose, just in case we need them for something else down the road.) Then I tucked them into new photo-safe sleeves and added them to the portrait album.

I did the same with the dance photos, although I'm not sure they'll stay in this album because it is getting pretty full. (Sorry for the sideways photo!)

I added several pages to the album and have just a few things to do to truly finish it up this time. YAY!

What I Learned:
I have found that with this sort of project, it may take several "passes" through it to really make a dent in it. I have also found that the passage of time makes it a little easier to deal with photos of loved ones who are gone. For the longest time, I could not even LOOK at the photos in the boxes. Now I can look at them and make decisions much more easily.

 So although it may be hard for anyone else to see, I feel good about the progress that I made this weekend and am motivated to keep going with it and other projects. If you've got similar projects languishing in the corners, I encourage you to set aside a day and jump in. You'll be pleased with what you can accomplish if you devote some focused time to it!


Kristina said...

That's a huge project and your feelings of accomplishment are well deserved!

Janet said...

Thank you, Kristina! It's just a start but I'm going to keep going until I get things back in order around here.

Kimberly Marie said...

I like your idea of realizing that it might take several "passes" though a project before it's complete. I need to keep that in mind. I generally tend to look at the big picture, and everything feels much more overwhelming when you look at it from that perspective! So, I don't know why I continue to!! You've done a great job with your sorting and organizing of the photos, and I've come away with some good ideas of how to tackle my own picture projects. Thanks for the encouragement! :)