1. First, a few don’ts:
2. Decide if you’ll accomplish more in a marathon organizing session or regularly scheduled mini sessions. If you opt for the marathon, plan breaks about every thirty minutes. Designate and clear a space where you can work comfortably. The kitchen table is usually good; it's a good height and you'll be able to spread everything out.
3. Albums or boxes? A photo box is the easiest option, but it’s more difficult to show your pictures when they’re in a box. Photo albums are more user-friendly and photos can be arranged along with those ticket stubs and handwritten notes, but putting an album together is more time consuming. Whichever you choose, make sure they have acid-free pages or lining to preserve the life of your photographs. Check out exposuresonline.com (800-222-4947) for stylish storage options and handcrafted leather albums and scrapbooks. PS: If you’re really ambitious and creative try scrapbooking, which involves details like stickers, artwork, and captions.
4. Throw away photos that are dark, blurry, or of people you don’t recognize. If you've got several photos of the same topic, choose one or two of the best and purge the rest. Put aside photos to frame or send to friends and family. PS: If you agonize over getting rid of dupes put them in a separate album and gift it to a friend/family member.
5. If you want to keep negatives check out mvconservation.com (646-645-1465) for envelopes, sleeves and storage boxes.
6. Figure out how you’d like to organize your photos. By event (all vacations in one album, all weddings in one box)? Chronologically? By person (Olivia’s Photo Box, Dad’s Photo Album)? Create a simple, uncomplicated system. Take the time to jot down a ballpark date and any quick memories or quotes that come to mind; photos will have more meaning if you know the story behind them. Sort into appropriate piles and start filling albums/boxes. PS: Use an acid-free photo pen.
7. That was easy! Not easy enough? If you simply don’t have the time or inclination to do it all yourself, photoworks.com (800-746-8696) will turn your photos into a professionally bound hardcover book.
8. Boxes and albums too mundane? Another way to showcase your precious photos is to use them to make mugs, calendars, t-shirts, tote bags, coasters, mouse pads, and just about anything else you never thought of. Turn a favorite photo into a deck of playing cards at kodakgallery.com (510-229-1200). Or put a photo on real U. S. postage stamps at stamps.com (888-434-0055). At photowow.com (800-453-9333) you can turn photos into large framed canvas prints, purses, ceramic tiles, or even end tables! Want a blanket, pillow, or towel emblazoned with your beloved’s visage? Go to treasureknit.com. Customize a lampshade or sterling silver pendant at maryjaneappel.com (202-363-4239).
Rosemary Chieppo has been a professional organizer, writer and speaker since 1999. The costs of not being organized are enormous: time, money and stress. Organizing is the greatest gift people can give themselves; it clears the path to life’s more important destinations! Visit Rosemary's website at http://www.borntoorganize.com