Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Organizing Photographs

I mentioned yesterday that one of the things I had done over the weekend was to sort and organize a closet that had housed all of my husband's family photographs. When we moved into his parent's house back in 2002, I had so many other things to go through that I just left that closet untouched. I can tell you it is a unique experience to move into a home that is not empty and ready for the new family. I had many things to clean, sell, and well go through.

The picture below is after I had worked in it. 

There were many albums that had been put together in a very easy to follow order, but there were just boxes and boxes of pictures from all decades. There were some pictures that obviously date way back thrown in with pictures since I have been on the scene.

So, I set out to put some order to it. My hubby has two siblings so, I took loose pictures of them and made each of them a tub. I figure if and when either of them wants to take them and put them in albums they will be ready to go quickly. I then proceeded to take my hubby's loose ones and put them together.

Next up, I made three boxes...

#1 - one box ---with pictures of people I recognized that were post 1984 when I married in to the family. I figured I would be able to go back in my spare time and place those in albums or organize them into categories and label them.

#2 - a second box ---made with pictures of people I recognized, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends that was pre 1984. I figured at some point Hubby could help me with those. 

#3 - a third box contains the "I have no clue!" pictures. They are corralled and maybe one day between Hubby and his siblings they will be identified and labeled. 

Now, the closet is much more organized and at least my kids will have some knowledge of what is in those boxes. 

Now, what did I learn from all of this on photo organizing. Quite a bit actually...

1.  I learned that I am not the only one who had gaps in life where it obviously got the best of me and I let the task of putting pictures into albums get the best of me.

2.  I learned that I really do like pictures in albums. Here is why...  My mama is the queen of photo albums, and you can easily go into the room she stores them in and find any picture easily.

I know that she always kept our family photos that she took in albums and kept up with like you wouldn't believe. 

At some point in time, probably when she was about the same age I am now, she sorted through all of the loose photos of her family and my dad's family and put them into albums. She made an album with categories for example, one for each of her brothers and sisters. So, all those pictures of them in school that she inherited from being the oldest were organized and put into albums. When she passes on, I can hand each of those families an album.

Another thing she does is the when pictures are changed out from being on display in frames, they go into the albums and are labeled. I have far too many of those just in a tub with no date or label.
I am going to do better about that.

Bottom line, in an album or at least a small tub with names and dates and organization makes them much more enjoyable to look at!!!!

3.  My daughter got married in February of last year. In an attempt to not let that slip away too far, I started putting them in albums right away. I discovered the albums I like in this process. I actually did a lot of looking for albums and I found these black albums at Target. They are very sturdy three ring binders that you can use photo fillers or whole scrapbook sheets in.

I used two of them for her engagement and wedding photos. Here is the link for the brand at Target...
They are available on Amazon as well.

As for the sheets that hold the photographs, I started out with the ones I found at Target, but they had photos going in two different directions in one pack. That drove me nuts trying to find landscape vs portrait to go in them. I ending up just buying all one direction at Amazon. This is the link for them.

I found that I liked putting the pictures in one way and just turning the album if need be. I wanted them in there and organized by date.

Below is an example of what they look like in an album.

I loved these albums so much that I went on a tear back in June when I first retired and didn't feel like doing much else and put all our family photos in these albums. I had the old stick on kind for so many of them and had planned to take them out of those anyway. 

Now, I have all of our family's photos in one kind of album stored by time. Below is a picture of some of them. They are so easy to go grab and look at and I love the albums. It was costly to do this, but worth it to me. 

Back to the lessons I have learned....

4. I will take the time at the end of each month to upload the photos I want to keep and print and put them in the albums once a month. NO EXCUSES!!! I have been using Walgreen for the last few months. Easy to upload from my computer and phone and then I just run down the road to pick them up. 

As you can see from the photo below, I throw in a paper label with the date and names if needed. Nothing fancy, but it does the job.

My goal for the next year with photographs is stay on top of the family albums and eventually sort and label all of those tubs with pictures just thrown in.... and one more thing is to upload the photos that I care about to a back up drive that I purchased. It is called My Cloud and I got it at Best Buy. Here is the link for it...

I don't know enough about it to tell you whether I like it or not, but I have placed the wedding photos on there.

Well, that sums up my lessons learned about chronicling the history of the family with photos.

I  do know our family does like to browse through the albums and having them labeled makes it easy to pick one.

Blessings to you,

Linking up with....


  1. I'm guilty of storing my photos on the computer and not printing them out. I love seeing old photos and need to make a point of making a few books for my children to have. Digital is good and bad, but your closet is an inspiration!

    1. Thanks. I have been working on more of it a little at a time. I will share soon.


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