So, you’re ready to tackle a photo organizing project. Good for you! Bring your photo albums to the dining table. Oh, wait, isn’t there a box you inherited from Great Aunt Hilda? Get that too. Don’t forget to grab the laptop with your digital photos. But you have pictures on your phone that haven’t been transferred to the laptop yet. What other photos are you forgetting?
The first step of really tackling any organizing project is to understand the full extent of what you have. Consider what might be lurking in every part of your house – and maybe someone else’s house – that should be part of your project. This is the time to put everything in order all at once.
Establish a spot to be your staging area for the project. Pick an unused room (or corner of a room) to hold all the print photos. Make sure this space is not in a garage, attic, or basement, because temperature and humidity fluctuations are not your photos’ friends. Then, rescue any photos you might have in the garage, attic, or basement.
In addition to photo albums and boxes full of photos, you need to think of less obvious places. Maybe someone gave you an envelope of photos you stuck in a drawer. You might have a display of framed photos on the wall that are your only copy of that photo. There could be loose photos in a “treasure” box of keepsakes. Go from room to room and really think about where there might be photos.
Then there’s the digital photos. Are there pictures on your camera you haven’t downloaded yet? How about on your phone? Have people e-mailed you pictures you’d like to keep, but you just haven’t saved the attachments? Do you have CDs or USB jump drives you filled with photos to make room on your laptop? Is there an external hard drive with photos that aren’t duplicated anywhere else?
Finally, if you are organizing photos with an end result in mind (display for an event, photo book, etc.), who else might have pictures you could use? This is the time to ask for print or digital photos from other people to include in your project or just to add to your collection. Having the photos at the start will make organizing easier as you go along.
It may seem overwhelming when you realize how many pictures you really have. Don’t be intimidated – it is important to see exactly what you have so you can make the best choices as you continue your organizing project. Take the time at the start to make sure you have everything, and the rest will fall into place.