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Guest Blog

by guest blogger, Janice Russell on 8/31/2017

While it's common to struggle with initially organizing physical and digital photos, for many there's also a challenge with what to do with the pictures once they are organized. Not to mention any memorabilia associated with the photos. Let's check out some of the options:

  • Original Format
    • Labeled in electronic files. Backed up off-site.
    • Labeled in archival quality containers. Keep in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment.
  • Photo album - a book of snapshots with minimal explanation. They are fairly easily done and a good way to put pictures into an easily viewable format
  • Scrapbook - an album that includes memorabilia such as tickets and pamphlets as well as notes about the photos. Scrapbooks may also include other artistic features.
  • Display - while an obvious choice, it is only viable if there is a limited number of photos or a very large space.

It is also possible to create a photo album or scrapbook digitally and then have it printed into a hardback or paperback version. This may involve scanning memorabilia if you want to include it.

There are five factors to consider when deciding the final format of your photos: cost, time, commitment, storage, and mindset. The chart below highlights aspects of cost and time.

Cost Time
Original Format: Electronic
  • Memory Cards
  • Computer Memory
  • Backup
  • Processing
Original Format: Physical
  • Developing
  • Storage Boxes
  • Shelving
  • Processing digital photos
  • Labeling and organizing physical photos
Photo Album
  • Album
  • Pages
  • Purchasing materials
  • Deciding chronology
  • Pages
  • Artistic features: stickers, colored cardstock, etc.
  • Shopping for supplies
  • Determining theme/design
  • Frames
  • Hardware to hang
  • Purchasing frames
  • Designating a picture for each frame
  • Choosing a location for each frame
  • Hanging or placing the photos

Commitment. In addition to money and time discussed above, there is the commitment to arrange your schedule so you can process pictures, shop for supplies, create albums, etc. Some people have elaborate plans for how they'll keep their pictures permanently. However, it's a different story when it comes to implementing these plans.

As such, it's crucial to gage your commitment level when making initial decisions about upkeep. Keep in mind, your effort level may change over time as life transitions may give you more or less time for hobbies.

Storage. Sturdy shelves are required to contain photos in a physical format. Scrapbooks and photo albums are sometimes larger than standard books, so they may require custom-shelving or at the very least, adjustable ones. With photo boxes, you only want to stack them two or three boxes high so that they are easy to access.

And just a reminder, these items can't go on shelves in the attic, basement, or garage!

Digital photos can require lots of space, so ensure that your electronic gadgets and your digital backups have adequate room.

Mindset. You may have all of your photos exactly the way you want them. Or you might be in a state of photo-overwhelm.

Years ago, most people were conservative when taking pictures due to the cost of film and developing. Now we can take photos on multiple gadgets without film. In five years, who knows what may have changed!

The bottom-line is to ask yourself: "Five, 10, or 20+ years from now, which photos will I be most likely to look at and how will I want to see them?" A related question is around who will want your photos when you pass on and what is their preferred format.

Many people decide to mix these options. I personally have photos in all of the formats mentioned above. Some of my pictures will remain in archival-safe photo boxes in categories with appropriate labels. I have just a few photo albums. However, I love using my creative side to design scrapbooks.

While creating scrapbooks requires time, money, and organization, I also use it as a social time. I gather with people for a day or even a long weekend and scrapbook while I chat with others.

There they are, the five factors to consider once your photos are organized: cost, time, commitment, storage, and mindset.

Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong way to contain or display your photos!

However, to stop photo-overwhelm , you have to take decide to move forward. What step will you take today?


Minding Your Matters Owner, Janice Russell

Bio: Organizing professional Janice Russell works with the "overwhelmed" to bring order to their personal and professional lives. Owner of Minding Your MattersĀ®, she helps inundated homeowners transform clutter into calm so they can find their stuff in a flash. Janice loves nothing better than to help someone organize their craft supplies! Thanks to her training and experience, Janice chooses to specialize in clients impacted by ADHD and chronic disorganization. When Janice isn't organizing, she travels the world and takes lots of photographs, which she then scrapbooks!

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