Okay, I put the photos together – now what?
What is your goal for your photo memorabilia? Will you make traditional albums? Are you adding important photos to frames around your space? Do you want to create digital photo books? For photo memorabilia management, set a goal for your project. Read the blog post on gathering your print photos into one spot and sorting them into workable categories. The next best step is to digitize your photos before you paste them into traditional albums or add them to frames. Once a photo is digitized, it can be used, reused and shared easily. Do you need to digitize a substantial number of photos? Then use an online digitizing company. There are many, many options for online photo scanning companies including Scandigital, Fotobridge, and DigitalPickle. Reluctant to ship your photos? Then search for a local company. Once you have your original print photos back along with a digital file copy, you’re ready to move on.
How can I use my print and digitized photos?
Is creating traditional print photo albums your goal? Again, there are lots of quality options available – just be sure to use lignin free and acid free paper and supplies. Creative Memories is a leader in this market and sells excellent products. Use those original prints in photo frames and collages. Display your memories! Put photos of special people and occasions out to be enjoyed today. Instead, are you looking for a less labor intensive project than a traditional photo album with print photos? Quickly create digital books with your digital photo files. Again, there are many companies that create this product. I’ve had success with Snapfish and Shutterfly and if you are a MAC user, Apple has software to create a digital photo book as well. All of these options allow you to enjoy your photos today. So take the time to share these photos with others through social media and photo sharing sights and double their impact.
Take the time to digitize your photo prints. While great, print photo uses are limited. Once an image is digitized, use it repeatedly. Share and enjoy your memories today.
Prints, prints everywhere….
Most people have a collection of photos – now both printed and digital – that they don’t know what to do with. With prints, it’s critical to store them in a dry, cool place away from excessive heat and moisture. Gather your prints into one place and purge, purge, purge! Throw out the blurry, cut off and simply bad photos. Also, did you find duplicates or ones you want to share? Send them with a card or take a photo and share it today. With the remaining photos, do a simple sort of “heritage” photos including your family of origin and put in large manila envelopes. Then use smaller envelopes to hold photos of childhood, school, family etc. in whatever categories that make sense to you. For this simple sort, use broad categories and don’t get bogged down in specifics – this can be very time consuming! For present day and more recent photos, use another large manila envelope and organize by event, person or year. Most of all, this project is a “quick sort” that will give you basic categories to work with.
What about my old albums?
If you have photos in the old style albums with sticky pages and plastic covers, remove them immediately. Because the glue on these pages is highly acidic, it is eating away at your photos which is why they appear yellowed. Do another sort with these photos and put them into the categories you used before. Then save only the best photos and let go of the rest. The reality is that you will never use ALL of the photos you have. Keep the best and get rid of the rest. Use this same process for photos in frames no longer on display. Junk the broken and mismatched frames and save the good and meaningful photos.
Once you have all of your photos together, store them in a plastic tub or box to protect them. Ultimately, you have many options on what to do with print photos. Prints can be scanned to digital, put into photo albums and added to frames but that’s a project for another day….
More space in my space
As a professional organizer, I help my clients find more space, more time and more joy in their lives. And no matter if the home is 1400 or 3400 square foot, many clients believe they need more space for our stuff. We need more space for the stuff we’ve purchased like the bedroom set we purchased when we got married. You inherited from your family the china set and the furniture from your childhood bedroom – where does it live? Where do I store the crystal wedding gift that still sits in the original box? So how do I find more space in my space? To find more space, you have to first let go of what you don’t need or love. If you need and love your bedroom set, keep it. If you no longer need the bunkbeds from your childhood, donate them if they are safe to use. Never used that crystal and you don’t live a “champagne life”? Sell it and find more space.
More space in my life
Keep in your space the things that you need and the things that you love. Anything we own comes with a cost. I purchase, maintain, repair and store my things. Even items that have been passed onto us or have been received as a gift have a cost in maintenance and storage. If I own an abundance of items, they are a burden if the items are unneeded and unused. The famous quote from the movie Fight Club (one of my sons’ favorite movies) is “The stuff you own ends up owning you.” Eliminating the items and their upkeep and repairs gains you time and money – limited and valuable commodities. If I did not have to spend time repairing my stuff, could I spend more time with family and friends and doing the things I love? Instead of buying stuff, I can use my money for travel and adventure.
Eliminate items that are unused and unneeded. You open up both the physical and the psychic space – thereby gaining more space in your space and in your life.
How do I find space and time in my life?
Finding more space and more time are the two most common challenges for many of us. How do I find space in my home and office for the things I really need and love? How do I open psychic space in my head and quiet all the noise? Finding and creating more time is a very common organizing goal for my clients as well. So how do I find space and time in my life? You will find more space, more time and more joy by letting go of the stuff that’s holding you down and holding you back. All of this includes stuff we’ve purchased, stuff we’ve been gifted, stuff we don’t need or use – it all takes up physical and psychic space. Caring for our stuff takes up a lot of time as well. Repairs, upkeep, moving and storing our stuff is time consuming. Purging our unwanted and unneeded items frees up that time to do things we really want to do.
How do I find more joy?
We find joy when we are truly in the moment and doing something we enjoy. In a space overcrowded with unneeded and unused items, we cannot find joy in our space. If we are spending our time and money buying, fixing, maintaining and trying to find our stuff, we lose time that could be better spent doing something we love. The average American spends 40 minutes a day trying to find something – a book, soccer cleats, an insurance policy. If we keep only those things that serve us and keep them organized, we won’t waste time looking for things. What do you want to spend your time and money on? An adventure? Travel? Time with family and friends? Clearing out the clutter and the noise in our lives gives us back that lost time.
Space, time and money are finite. Let go of the stuff and you’ll find more space, more time and more joy in your life.
What is this thing really worth?
For most of us, we have things that we value highly for a number of reasons – purchase price, sentimentality, rarity, etc. And because we treasure our things, our spaces are full of stuff – some of which we’ve purchased ourselves and some that has been gifted. I believe that you should have two things in your home – things you need and things you love. To get organized and stay organized, we need to keep things that truly work for us – the needed and the loved. So how do I determine the value of an item? How do I decide if this is worth keeping? And if I want to let it go, what is its sale price for resale?
Intrinsic vs market value
Especially with items that had a hefty price tag, we often want to recoup some of the expense. So how do I determine what it’s worth? There are two different kinds of value. Intrinsic worth is the value something has in itself; i.e. a mixer. 15 years ago you bought this mixer, you used it a lot and it was very helpful and handy at one point. This has a lot of intrinsic value to you. The market worth is different. The market price is what “the market” will pay for this item today, right now, in its current condition. With designer and electronic items especially, change and upgrading happens so rapidly items purchased just a couple of years ago loose significant value quickly as a “newer and better” model or two hits the market. If you are trying to determine an item’s market price, eBay is a great resource. eBay has the best pricing algorithm available due to the sheer volume of items for sale on its site.
If you loved and used an item, it has served its intrinsic value well. Find a list of resources to donate your unneeded and unused items. A item’s resale worth is likely going to be much less than what you paid but the outcome of opening up your space is absolutely greater.
How many screwdrivers do I really need?
One of the biggest challenges for many people when they are trying to get organized is “what do I do with all this stuff”? When we start organizing a space, the volume can be overwhelming. For most of us, when we can’t find what we are looking for, we purchase another. So gather all the soccer cleats, hammers, black sweaters, phone chargers, etc – whatever item you are organizing – and decide on how many you REALLY need to keep. Purging what you already have starts the process. Once you have the items you want to move out of your space, now what do I do with all this stuff? Donating is a wonderful choice. You get the space back and help someone else in the process. And donating your unneeded and used items couldn’t be easier – see the list of resources on how to donate just about anything.
How do I donate this thing-y??
Toys and books taking up space and gathering dust now that “the kids” are in college? Donate to Big Brothers/Big Sisters to be reused and re-loved. Old prom and bridesmaid dresses get to see the dance floor again and household items you’ll never use make a house a home for another family. Think also about specific people who might need an item. A niece moving into her first apartment? She’d love those extra pots and pans but get them to her right away. Holding onto items for “future” donations just adds to your volume and disorganization. Do you think your item still has real value? Slightly used electronics, designer clothes and high end home items fall in this category. Online yard sales and resellers (think eBay and other sources) can net you some cash if you have the time and inclination to resell your items. As you go through your purging process, put aside the items that you might want to resell vs. donate and focus first on your donations. Control your stuff, don’t let your stuff control you. Donate or resell your used and unneeded items and open up space in your home and your life.