The Great Photo Purge Challenge: Series Wrap-Up and My Final Progress | From Overwhelmed to Organized: The Great Photo Purge Challenge: Series Wrap-Up and My Final Progress

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Great Photo Purge Challenge: Series Wrap-Up and My Final Progress

Welcome back to the Great Photo Purge Challenge!  This is the final post in this challenge.  Thank you to all of you who have hung in there with me the last few months!

If you're just joining in, or you want to review any of the posts from earlier in this challenge, here they are.

July was all about digital photos:

Yesterday I shared tips for digitizing your printed photos and today I'm wrapping up the series by showing you my progress.

My progress this week

I'm actually sharing 2 weeks of progress with you, since last week I shared my Mom's photo purging progress.  When I updated you two weeks ago, I had sorted through all my loose photos and purged nearly 1000 pictures.  Remember this "before" pic?

And this was my purge pile.

And my nearly empty photo box of pictures I wanted to keep.

I still love how many pictures I was able to purge that week!  

Once I was finished with my loose photos, I turned my attention to my albums.  Specifically, I wanted to tackle all my family photo albums.  These albums contain pictures from when my hubby and I started dating until around when our kids were born (at that point I started albums for each of my kids).  

Remember all the albums on my basement shelves?

The top shelf is all family photo albums.  And they mostly pre-dated digital pictures.  I hadn't looked through these albums in years, so I was eager to see what was in them, and what I could purge.  

And purge I did.  Check it out!

I know... it doesn't look much different than the last pile, except maybe stacked a bit neater.  I should have used a ruler or something beside it to give perspective.  

Regardless, it's still a big pile of purged pictures!  Nearly 700 this time.  Pretty good, considering I didn't think I'd be able to purge as many, since these are pre-digital camera photos.  

Here's my photo box now.

I was able to fit all the photos I wanted to keep into this one box!  I separated them with dividers for each year and sorted them more or less chronologically within each section.  

I had some cardboard labels in the albums, giving information about where or when pictures were taken, so I included some of those in the box as well.  I may go through some day and write that info on the back of the pictures, but for now, there's enough space in here to keep the labels with the pictures.  

At the back of the box I have some envelopes with negatives that correspond with these photos.  I will likely get rid of these at some point, especially if I scan my printed photos.  For now, there's space in this box to keep them.  In fact, I'm glad to have them in there because otherwise the photos would move around more in the box.  

Right now I'm not planning to scan these photos to digitize them.  I may do that at some point, but it's not as important to me as some other projects.

So after all that purging, check out the pile of albums that I can give away!

I was able to clear out 11 albums!  Most of them were small, but those 3 large ones had a LOT of photos in them.  

Want to see my shelves now?

Look at all that empty space where all those albums used to be!  Insert happy dance here :)

Beside the photo box, are a couple of albums we're keeping.  

That big fat burgundy one is from the cruise we went on in 2002.  It's the only cruise I've ever been on and it's kind of a combination photo album and scrapbook of that trip. Eventually, after I win the lottery and have been on tons of cruises, I will likely purge a lot of the things in this album and just keep a few special items.  

Beside the cruise album is my hubby's baby book.  And next to that is a small album with pictures of him growing up.  I still want to go through my bin with photo albums of my childhood and early adulthood at some point and when I do I'll have some things to add to this shelf.  {You may remember that I mentioned that bin at the beginning of the series - it's buried behind other bins under my basement stairs.  It's not super high on the project list right now, but I will do it after I finish a few more pressing projects!} 

I still need to go through the bottom shelf but those albums contain pictures of my kids when they were little and it's easier for them to flip through them in an album than in a box.  So I'm planning to keep them like this until they're older.  

What kinds of pictures I purged

I don't have many new categories of pictures to add here.  Mostly the same ones I've mentioned in previous posts (blurry, duplicates, scenic views, people I no longer see, etc.).  But here are a few new types of photos I purged:

  • Photos of people or places or things that I can't remember or don't recognize
  • Pictures I just don't like
  • Photos that are too dark or too bright to see what's in them clearly

Lessons learned this week

1.  I thought it might be more difficult to throw out very many of these photos because I didn't have digital copies to fall back on if I ever changed my mind (like I did with a lot of the loose photos I purged a few weeks ago).  But I found lots of pictures that I no longer wanted!  It was actually much easier than I expected.  Actually, there were a lot of pictures that made me wonder why I had even taken them! 
2.  I was dreading tackling my albums initially because the thought of all the picture rearranging I'd have to do after purging was very overwhelming.  But once I got going, and I realized how many photos I was able to purge, I knew it would be easier to pull all the "keep" pictures out of the albums and store them in the photo box that I'd already started for my loose photos.  I'm glad I forced myself to do it.  And I'm glad for the accountability of this challenge {or honestly I might not have done it!}. 
3.  Purging gets easier the more you do it.  Really. 
4.  Done is better than perfect.  I've said this before, but I'm sure I'll have to learn this lesson a few more times.  I wanted to make pretty labels for the dividers in the photo box, but it was more important to finish the project and move on to other ones.  I have decent printing and for me it's good enough.  Maybe not Pinterest perfect.  But it works.  And I'm done :) 
5.  I was in a lot more pictures before we had kids.  I'm not sure why... Maybe I just take more pictures now so I'm not in them as often. Or maybe I'm more self-conscious about my appearance since I became a mom and never lost all the "extra" pounds.  Or maybe when it was just the 2 of us we traded off the camera more.  But it made me realize that I want to be in more pictures with my kids.  So when they look back someday, they'll have memories of me with them, not just behind the camera.  It reminded me of a great blog post I read awhile ago about the importance of taking family photos and being in photos with your kids and your hubby.    
6.  Photo albums take up a TON of space!  I feel so much lighter and freer seeing that empty space on the shelf!  And it feels good knowing those 11 albums will be walking out my front door. 
7.  Going through old photos didn't take as long as I'd expected.  I thought I'd get caught up in reminiscing about the "old" days... or maybe feel old... or nostalgic.  It was nice to look back at these old pictures, and remember what our lives were like before we had kids.  But it just made me thankful for the family life I have now.  I want to enjoy my family more.  Which means I want less stuff crowding our lives.  And that made it easier to say goodbye to lots of photos.  And hello to this :)

Well, that brings us to the end of this challenge!  Thank you to all who have joined me in this challenge. Your encouragement has kept me going!

I hope you've found this series helpful.  I know this is a huge project to tackle for many people, and if you've been a little inspired by me and have started purging your photos, then it's totally been worth my while to share my progress!

Please share your progress in this challenge with me.  Even if you're not finished.  I'll give ya a big cheer for what you've done so far!  And encourage you to continue.  A bit at a time so it's not overwhelming.  You'll be glad you did.  I know I am.

Here are all the posts in the series.

Happy organizing!

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