My Family Photo Organizing Project

Last year, my mother and I consolidated all of the family photos into one huge pile so that we could find some pictures to use for my dad’s 70th birthday.  I wanted to put together a slideshow, and was delighted with the results from local media conversion service, Everpresent!  My dad loved it, and it’s great to have something digital to pass down to my kids.

Mom and I broke the photo review process into manageable chunks, and would work a couple hours at a time together to look through the pictures.  We also took the opportunity to label pictures from my mom/dad’s parents’ generation, since I didn’t know most of my great-grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins from that time period.  We also threw out blurry/dark/unidentifiable pictures, which is part of what my fellow organizer Gabby (our Living Peace photo organizing expert!) suggests as part of the process.

It took a few months but we found some great pictures, and had a better knowledge of what decades we had pictures from.  And then….Mom gave me all of the pictures.  All of them!  So it’s now my responsibility to curate the still huge pile into a manageable library.  I know many of my clients think that I must have everything well organized (which isn’t quite true except for a few select areas of my house!), but I was definitely overwhelmed with the prospect of this mountainous task.

My Family Photo Organizing Project2How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  Ok, I needed a place to set up a processing station so I could come and go and not have to worry about cleaning up in between sessions.  Thankfully we have a guest room that I could set up a table in.  Another great suggestion from Gabby is to divide photo years into decades or certain eras rather than try to put every photo in chronological order (especially since most of them don’t have dates on the picture, or the camera was not set correctly).  I had to guess on many of the ones from my youth, and one thing that helped me was the glasses I was wearing in each picture, haha!

Since the spring, I have been spending an hour here, two hours there organizing the pictures, and it is certainly tedious.  I’m about halfway through at this point, and have thrown away even more pictures.  This may be controversial, but I’ve decided that since my kids don’t know my aunts/uncles/cousins from other states, that I am going to consolidate those pictures down to a photo album that I will label so they will at least know their names/families.  I personally feel that it doesn’t make sense to keep hundreds of pictures of people they don’t know and expect them to treasure them; my only sibling doesn’t have children (although I am giving her quite a few of the photos).

The ones I am struggling with the most are of my own children, so I will have to keep you posted on how I consolidate those!  Please let us know in the comments if you’ve done your own photo organizing project, and how it went for you.

About Melissa Belliard

Melissa is committed to helping her clients find the organizing system that works for them, with compassion and creativity. She has been helping her friends and family get organized for years, and loves decluttering closets and cabinets, especially for empty nesters and folks who are downsizing. Melissa brings her 16 years of experience as a Human Resources professional to her work, including compassionate listening, leadership, and creative problem-solving skills. Melissa is also a part-time massage therapist, and has raised two great kids. She loves being out in nature, listening to music and dancing, as well as bringing women together in community.

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