Clutter Conquest One: Photos

March 25, 2008

Since I have been making an effort to conquer my clutter, I decided it was well past time to begin to conquer a major area of clutter: photos. I went through my home, gathering up every photo album and homeless photos, as well as a box full of photos that I have been meaning to sort through. When I finished my rounup and had them piled into my favorite chairs, I found that I had 8 photo albums full, not counting the homeless photos or the ones saved digitally on my pc. Wow. That is well over 800 photos. I have been complaining about not haivng photos for the beautiful scrapbook layouts that I have created, when in reality I have enough photos to fill every scrapbook in a department store!!

It was obvious it was time for this to be dealt with. Since I am on this conquest to eliminate photo clutter, I wanted to share what I hope will be some helpful advice in how to conquer your photo clutter.

(1) Corral all albums and homeless photos into one central location.

(2) Create two sort piles: LOVE and OTHER. Use boxes, plastic containers or whatever you have lying around. Pull that big rectangle food storage container out of the top of the cabinet – it won’t hurt to use it for this for a little while.

(3) SORT with Honesty. Put duplicate, blury or plain bad photos into the OTHER piles. Put all photos that you truly love into the LOVE pile. Break the sorting up by going through a small stack at a time (such as during commercial breaks). If the process seems to emotional or overwhelming, recruit a friend or family member that will help you to sort through it with honesty.

(4) RESORT. Go through the LOVE pile this time with brutal honesty. Are there some of the photos that should be in your child’s baby book or would be a wonderful addition to a scrapbook page? Is so, place those in the OTHER pile. Don’t keep a photo that you do not honestly want to look at regularly. Ask yourself why are you keeping that particular photo. If you are just keeping it to keep it, it is time to let it go.

(5) Make decisions about the OTHER pile. Bad photos can be trashed or even donated to a local school or church for crafts. Photos that belong in scrapbooks/baby books/Other special books need to be placed into an envelop and labeled clearly, and dated with an estimated ‘due date’ to be dealt with. Duplicate photos can be mailed to grandparents, friends, or given to neighbors. Be sure to set a “due date” to deal with these photos and carry it out, or else you will find yourself with the same clutter problem. 

(6) Put the photos you LOVE into proper homes. Photo boxes make easy storage, and can be easily customized. The Photos you LOVE belong in a place where than can be enjoyed frequently, not stuck in a box under your bed. A walk through the photo frame isle of your local store may spark you to look at your photos in whole new ways (ie, Photo cubes). Whatever method of storage or display that you choose, think wisely as not to create more clutter.

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