If a picture paints a thousand words…

What are your family pictures saying? If they are buried in boxes or floating in cyberspace, I’m guessing not much!  If you want to enjoy your photographs you have to do something with them! Leaving them in their original envelope or on your phone or computer is not an great option. I recommend putting those pictures in a place where you and your family will enjoy them.

Like all organizing it starts with a decision. In this case, decide how you want to keep your photos or how you like to look at them. Here are some options:

  •  Slip-In Photo Albums – These seem to be the easiest to maintain and therefore a good starting point for people who have their photos currently in big boxes or in the original drug store bag they came home in.
  • Corkboard wall – This is a great place at Holiday time when many people send out family pictures and you just don’t know where to put them all. If you fill this area up quickly, you’ll have to remember to update it seasonally.
  • Collages – If you find a lot of your pictures are not centered or close enough to the subject, you can cut out only the important people and important sites from a certain occasion and put them in a collage.
  • Photo boxes – Many stores carry decorative storage boxes now. If you choose to use these, decide how you want to keep them: all family pictures chronologically, or separated by each child. Make sure you label each box accordingly.
  • Scrapbooks – Scrapbooking has become a favorite pastime of many mothers. The end result is beautiful and meaningful, especially when you “journal” or write little stories about what was happening during a particular event. The challenge with scrapbooks is that they take a lot of time and creativity to put together, and it is a project — not an everyday process.
  • On your computer – If you have a digital camera, I assume you know how to set up files of pictures on your computer. Here are 5 steps for organizing and using your digital photos:
  1. Name your files simply. If you upload pictures from your camera once a month, name the file with the month and year (ex. MAY07), if you upload less frequently, name the files by season and year (ex. WINTER07). Or name them more specifically by event (Disney07)
  2. Create digital photo albums on Web sites that you use for developing like Ofoto.com® or Shutterfly.com®. With this option, your photos are stored remotely and are protected against a hard drive crash on your computer. The albums also store the photos in a chronological order.
  3. Save your photos on a CDR disk, which protects them from anything that might happen to your computer. CDR’s take up a lot less physical space than photo albums but the photos are not as accessible to look at.
  4. Email copies of your pictures to family and friends rather than mailing them.
  5. Create a unique screen saver on your computer with your personal pictures, and update it frequently or load your latest pictures to a digital photo frame.

 

Start Your System Today

Once you have decided how you want to store or display your photos, gather the items you need to carry out your plan and start with current photos. Purchase your storage boxes or photo album or corkboard now, and then you’ll have a process for storing all the pictures you develop from now on.

Gather Your Backlog of Photos

If you have an area where you can spread them out or at least store a box of photos until your project is done, then move them into that room.

Categorize and Purge

Group them by child, or time of year, or era. As you sort through, purge any pictures that are ruined or dark or blurry. In other words, only keep the good ones!

Arrange or Re-Arrange your photos

Now for the fun part – it’s time to get your photographs where you want them. If you created a pile of photos for framing, start framing! If you decided you want them in an album, take a stack and start putting them in albums. This is something the kids or your husband can help you with when you’re all watching TV. If you want to make it really fun, give each child a stack of photos and a page or an album and see who can get their pictures in first.

Do you have any unique ways you display photos in your home?

 

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