The Great Photo Purge Challenge: Printed Photos | From Overwhelmed to Organized: The Great Photo Purge Challenge: Printed Photos

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Great Photo Purge Challenge: Printed Photos

It's September and that means it's time for part 2 of the Great Photo Purge Challenge!  July was all about digital photos.  And we took a break from the challenge in August.

If you missed any of the posts from earlier in this challenge, or want a quick refresher, here they are:

Ready to start?  September is all about purging and organizing printed photos!

Printed pictures are wonderful reminders of special times and precious people in our lives.  They are meant to be treasured.

But when we have too many pictures, we can't keep up with putting them in albums, scrapbooks, or photo boxes.  They end up in a disorganized mess and become overwhelming.

That's why this challenge is so important!  We want to take back control of our photos, rather than letting them control us.  Sound good?

Step One:  Gather ALL your photos in one place.  

That's right.  Dig out all those shoe boxes with photos.  Pull out the albums.  Find the envelopes of prints.  You need to have everything all together to know what you're dealing with.  Just like any organizing project.  Just like you did with the digital photos.

This step may take awhile.  If you're joining the challenge, I'm guessing you have lots of unorganized printed pictures like me.  Spend the next few days gathering pictures and then next week I'll share the next step with you.

Where I'm starting

I have a TON of printed photos.  I have 2 shelves of photo albums with pictures taken since I met my husband.  Pictures from our wedding and early years of marriage.  And LOTS of pictures of my kids.  

Those albums take up a lot of space don't they?  Our giant wedding album is usually on one of these shelves too but I had it out when I snapped this shot.  

And my son has way more albums than my daughter.  Despite the fact that everyone told me that would happen with my second child.... and I was determined not to let it be true for me!  I was so enthralled with motherhood (and my first digital camera) that I took pictures of every. thing. he. did.  

I know I have lots of pictures in those albums that are pretty much the same, but with a slightly different expression or pose.  Having just purged so many digital photos, I'm well aware that I really don't need this many pictures.  But these ones take up space on my shelves, not just on my hard drive. 

And sadly, we don't look through these albums very often.  Once in awhile (usually around birthdays), we'll flip back through the kids' albums.  Or I'll take a peek when I want to look up something, like what year we went somewhere for vacation.  

I need to do some purging so I can better appreciate the special photos and not be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of all the rest.  

You'd think that's a big enough challenge, but I also have a bin with albums from my childhood, high school and university years, and my adult years before my hubby came into my life (we started dating when I was 28 and were married when I was 29).

This bin is currently buried with other bins below our basement stairs. 

This is where we store things we don't need to access very often.  And since we're planning to move in the spring, I've started storing some things in here that I won't need to access before the move.  {Don't 'cha love my duct tape labels?!}

I have an inventory list so I can find specific bins if I need them.  Like now... when I started a challenge with photos and want to go through those albums.  Of course the bin I want is 3 rows back.  

So, I haven't dug out that bin yet.  Mainly because I have a lot of other photos that I need to purge and organize more urgently.  If I have time, I'll go through those albums later this month.  

Where are these other photos that I need to go through you ask?  In envelopes and boxes.  Check it out.

Some of these pictures are ones I'd printed and intended to put in albums, but never did.  Some are duplicates that I'd planned to give to other people.  And some are pictures I've been given over the last several years that I haven't done anything with.  Except to add them to this box.

The picture above was actually taken last summer before I made a small attempt to organize my photos.  I sorted some pictures and organized them by year.  And then I stopped.  I got busy with other projects and knew it would be awhile before I tackled this one again.  So I put everything into a bin to protect my photos against water damage.  

Here's what it looks like now.

Lots to do right?!

As if that's not enough, I also have a suitcase with unfinished photo projects.  Including my kids' baby books.  Yep... they're 9 and almost 7 now.  I started well and had great intentions.  But I was working full time, other things took priority, and I didn't keep up with the photos.  And then once they were "temporarily" put away I never got them back out.  That was about 4 years ago I think.  

They're in a suitcase because I packed them up to take them on vacation and work on them while I was away.  Didn't happen.  And they stayed in the suitcase.  I think that suitcase even came along on another vacation.  Still didn't open it and work on those projects.  I think it's time to let these projects go :)  Or at least have them take on a different (less cluttered and overwhelming) format.

OK, that's all my photos.  Yikes!  I've got my work cut out for me this month.

It's time to do something about it!

I'm not honouring these memories by keeping them in boxes or suitcases or bins.  And I'm not appreciating them when they are unorganized.  And it's so overwhelming having this many albums that I don't value the most special pictures.

So I'm ready for this challenge!  But I'll need the encouragement and accountability of you to help me :)

How I'm going to make this challenge not overwhelming

I don't have hours and hours every day to just go through photos.  I'm sure you don't either.  So, I'm going to do a bit at at time.  Just like I did with the digital photos and the email purging challenge.   I'll go through photos in the evenings.  A little bit here and there will add up to a less overwhelming mess of photos!

I'm not setting a weekly goal this time, although that worked well for me in previous challenges.  For me, this challenge involves so many different bits and pieces (loose pics, albums, projects, etc.) so each week will look a bit different.

Some people may want to set a goal of a certain number of printed photos purged each week.  Others may want to measure success by size of piles of purged pictures (e.g. 1 or 2 inch piles).  Or maybe you want to go through a specific number of pages or albums.  It's completely up to you!  Just don't make it unrealistic or it will become overwhelming... and that's definitely not the goal here :)

As in the other challenges, I'll be sharing lots of tips each week to help you.  Some will be lessons I've learned, and some will be advice from other blogs or articles.

Will you join me?

If you have lots of printed photos that you want to purge and organize, I hope you'll be part of this challenge!  Just follow along each week (or jump in and do it any way that works for you - we'll essentially be applying the same steps as I did for the digital photos in July).  

Comment on the blog or on Facebook or Google+ to let me know how you're doing.  That way we can encourage each other to keep at it!  And we can share tips along the way.  

Here are all the posts in the series.

How many printed photos do you have?  How do you organize them?  What struggles do you have keeping them organized?

Please comment if you're joining the challenge or share tips if you've got this digital pictures thing under control!

Happy organizing!

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