People sometimes assume that as a professional organizer, every aspect of my existence must be, well, organized. A lot of it is, but life happens and things fall through the cracks, even for me.
Right before the holidays, hubby went to the cabinet that houses our photo albums – one album per year – and couldn’t find anything more recent than mid-2009. “That’s not possible!” is what I wanted to say, but the albums didn’t lie. I hadn’t printed any photos since June 2009; that’s…holy cow, four and a half years of photos that needed to be uploaded to the computer and organized into folders, then uploaded again to Shutterfly, the online photo storage and printing site I use.
Instead of letting the magnitude of the job overwhelm me, I tried to mentally break it down into manageable segments:
Part 1: upload everything from the camera and cell phone to the computer
Part 2: sort the uploaded photos into half-year folders for easier handling and identification
Part 3: upload the contents of those folders to Shutterfly
Part 4: order a copy of each photo (minus the duds that got deleted, of course!)
Right after the holidays, I got started. In less than a week, spending an hour or so at a time, I completed all four parts.
When the order arrived from Shutterfly, there were more than 500 pictures in one very fat envelope. BUT! Thankfully, they were in chronological order so we simply had to slide them into a slot in the appropriate photo album. Hubby and I tackled that job together as we watched Discovery Channel’s mini series, “Klondike.” A glass of wine, a roaring fire, an interesting TV show and a partner to work with turned what initially felt like a monumental undertaking into a fun project.
I just put the finishing touches on the albums, labeling each by year with my label maker. And now, taking my own advice about developing new habits to maintain something that’s recently been organized, I hope to tend to this task twice a year moving forward.
Many of my clients have good intentions of creating the perfect family photo archive by scrapbooking, which adds a whole other dimension to things. However, very few seem to get beyond the point where they spend hundreds of dollars on the scrapbooking supplies. My advice? If there’s a backlog of photos looming in your life, cut yourself a break and just get them organized into albums or boxes with some sort of identifier – either the year, the event, the person or place – and move on. Someday, perhaps you’ll go back and create the scrapbook of your dreams; until then, you’ll at least be able to enjoy the photos and the memories they invoke.
I will spare you the humorous horror of my online search results for an image of “a pile of photos” to use with this blog post. In its misguided eagerness to please, google gave me “photos of piles” – and when I say “piles” – think in medical terms.