We can focus our services on many different niches as Professional Organizers. One is photo organizing, both digital and print photos. Organizing one’s photographs can seem an unsurmountable task, and many people put it off because they don’t know where to begin or how to sort their memories. This is where you can help! If you want to add photo organizing to your repertoire of services, here is how you can approach the work with your clients or instruct them on the task by following the 5 Steps to Organizing method:
Step 1: Strategize – How to Begin
What are your goals?
- Why do you want to organize your photos?
- Do you want to create memory books for your children?
- Do you want to relive a memorable trip or event?
- Do you want to know what you have?
How do you want to preserve your photos?
- Do you want to create memory books (digital or print)?
- Do you want to scan them?
- Do you want to keep them in safe archival boxes?
- Schedule time on your calendar right now to start
- Work in incremental blocks of time, such as two hours every Sunday afternoon
- Work while doing something else, such as watching a TV show, listening to a podcast, or audiobook.
Create a workspace
- Find a space in your home for working on the project
- Gather all your photos together
- Gather materials:
- One or two folding tables
- Good lighting
- Recycle box
- Trash bag
- Photo safe pencil
- Boxes for sorting photos into
- Index cards and/or post-it notes for separating/labeling photos
Step 2: Prioritize
- As I suggest with any paper, start working with the most recent photos first.
- To avoid getting lost in the memories, work quickly. Do not spend time studying the photos at this point–just macro sort.
- Macro sort by decade or year, person, or event
- Separate the oversized photos
Within your macro-categories of year, person, or event, micro-sort the photos by:
- Photos for a memory book or album
- Photos for archive boxes
- Duplicates to give away
- Mystery photos to identify later
- Discard any duplicates or awful photos. If you find it difficult to discard pictures, give them to people who may appreciate them.
Steps 3 and 4: Localize and Containerize
- Choose the best photos for framing and where you would place them.
- Buy archival albums and boxes only when you are done prioritizing and editing, so you buy the right size and amount.
- Write on the back of loose photos information about the picture with a photo-safe pencil and contain it in temporary boxes to later be placed in memory books, archival boxes, or scanned.
- Store photos vertically and separately with an index card for each decade/year, person, or event.
- Contain negatives in acid-free archival envelopes. Write the date, name, and any other information on each envelope.
- Store all of your printed photos in a cool, dry location away from light
Step 5: Maximize
Think back to your goals for organizing your photos. What do you want to do with them now that they are prioritized and edited? Do you want to:
- Create memory books
- Scan and share with family and friends
- Contain and organize your photos in attractive archival boxes so you can thumb through and look at them when the mood strikes or pass them on to future generations.
- As you print new photos, get them into your archival system immediately
- Not printing photos anymore? Your physical archival system categories can be mirrored digitally.