Sunday, May 31, 2009

Picture Organizing: What to keep

Thank you Blogger for working again! I apologize for the 2 week hiatus. Vista, iTunes, and Blogger have been arch enemies on my computer the past week or so. I think the problem has been remedied. Now back to the ranch……

As discussed in the previous post about pictures, we talked about the process of sorting pictures and pulling out the ones that we do not want to keep.

The definition of a "bad" picture varies. There are, of course the blurry, fuzzy, and mistakenly taken pictures that make sense to get rid of.

Other "bad" pictures are up to interpretation. We women are the worst for burning, ripping, and cutting our faces and bodies out of otherwise good pictures of everyone else. Whatever our size or station in life, the majority of us have at least done it once.

I myself have deleted or ripped up pictures I have loathed of me over the years. However, my perspective on this has dramatically is why:

One day last year as I was asked to find a "casual," family picture for something my son needed at school, as I scrambled to find a few pictures of us that I surely "thought," I had, it shocked me how little pictures there were of me at all. It was as if I had erased myself from the events, vacations, or special moments that were captured on film.

This also caused me to reflect back to my own childhood, I never cared whether my parents were fat or thin, had funky hair or crazy clothing. I just cared that they were there and enjoying the experiences with me. Without pictures we cannot possibly remember all that has transpired in the past.

After my personal "Ah, ha," I have deleted very few pictures of myself, especially when there are others in the picture and we are celebrating a special moment. They are a part of our life history that can never be repeated.

When I am 80 years old, I am not going to look back at what I looked like or didn't look like in a picture, I am going to look back and remember the life I lived and the experiences I had. And I am sure; I am going to wish that my younger self was not so hard on herself.

I know this blog post has little to do with organization, but all the same it is something to decide upon as you sort your pictures.

Therefore, in defense of preserving memories, rethink things before you delete them or throw them out.

And there is this little program called "Photo Shop" that can help us look our best!

Please,Send me your thoughts on your own picture woes!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Organizing Pictures, let's organize together!

Now that you know my greatest organizational weakness, let learn together how to organize them. Here is some information I've gathered about 35mm pictures, we all have them.


Photos that were taken by a 35mm camera with or without negatives.

"First discard any unwanted photos, organize them by year. Store in large envelopes marked by year, and when you go back to organize past vacations, you'll be able to find all the photos easily and quickly.

Don't overload yourself with such a large project right away. Work your way back through the years. Start with more recent photos first, and whenever you have extra time, start organizing other photos from past years.

Whenever you find an unlabeled photo, label it. Even if you are not going to put it into a book, label it to the best of your memory. Make sure to use an acid-free photo-safe pencil or pen (available at photo processors and art-supply stores.).

If you don't have time to immediately label each photo, label the outside of the envelope with the date and events that are on the photos inside.

Photos don't have to be organized in chronological order. It is only one of the logical ways you can do it. Consider categorizing photos by event, such as holidays or parties, or do it by person--an album for each child in your family.

Separate the negatives from the photos. Place them in envelopes, and label the outside with date and subject. You could even write on them where the photos can be found for quick reference."

Great! I'm ready to get started, how about you? Once I get my pictures organized (hopefully this week) I'll look into adding all of the 35mm's to a CD or thumb drive for safe keeping. Wish me luck!

Leave your comments here with your own tips! Let's do this together!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Just for the Record

Clarification is needed to those of you who "assume" that my home must be perfect all of the time, and so should yours.

My house is rarely in perfect order. I have a life, a child, a husband, and a crazy, hectic schedule like most of you. There are times where toys are in every room in the house, laundry piles up, bathrooms are dirty (they are dirty right now) floors need to be vacuumed, dishes are in the sink and so on and so forth. I am not so frigid that I walk behind my son and husband just to clean up after them.

With this in mind, you should also know that at any given time, we can tidy up the house in about 20 minutes to make it presentable for company or visitors. How do we accomplish this???? Virtually everything in our house has a home, a specific place where it is stored and can be put away. All the toys are labeled as well as anything that is containerized.

Did this just instantly happen over night? Of course not, my life is not a television show where "overnight" eveything is complelty put together. In general when I move into a new home, it usually takes me 4 to 6 months to get things organized in a system that works for us. It never ever happens overnight in "real" life.

Maintenance is the key to keeping a sense of order in your home. Just like everything else in life, it will not always stay perfect. You must make the effort to put things away and clean things up or no amount of organization with change your situation.

Life changes, situations change and things that once worked and stayed organized may need to be modified or re-organized altogether as life goes on. They key is to reorganize once the system no longer works. Ignoring the system breakdown and putting it off only makes the reorganization more painful and much more time consuming. I make the effort to try not to ever let myself get in that type of situation.

My worst problem area? My pictures! Granted, they are all in one place but not one is in an album. Even professional organizers have things they need to work on!

So as you look at whatever part of disorganization is plaguing you remember, start small, work one project all the way through until you are finished and then move on to something else.

Being and staying organized takes a lot of effort. BUT, it is FAR easier than being disorganized. This is why I have coined the term "organized chaos". When you have children and a busy life, it is simply unrealistic to expect a "perfect" house all the time. What can be achieved is a simple system or systems that make it easy to put things away and create order when needed.

Knowing this about me should help many of you feel better about the efforts you make in your homes and perhaps motivate you to better organize the problem areas in your home.

Below is a post about "chore charts". Hopefully it will give you ideas in your home.

Chore Lists

Here are a few samples of chore charts I have done for clients. First we identify what needs to be clean. We use words and phrases that are familiar to our children, we laminate the charts use super sticky Velcro to attach the dry erase marker to the chore chart. Lastly we hole punch the chore chart and attach it to an inconspicuous spot where it can easily be retrieved. The dry-erase marker is great if you need to add more jobs or temporary as needed. Here is the "sample" chart.

These lists below are for the "Morning Routine". Lamanating and adding the dry-erase marker as with the chore chart can apply to these as well.

Let me know if any of you are interested in your own similar chore lists! Enjoy!
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