Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2012 Resolve to Get Organized Series

Week 5 - A Plethora of Pictures - February 14, 2012

Due to technical difficulties, this segment will be added to the end of the challenge, but Tiffany posted a previous taping for those of us who wanted to stay on track. I have been so busy with this challenge that I hadn't had time to update my blog until now...

This week's lesson was to show us how to get our photos organized. I started out with over 12,000 pictures just on my external hard drive. I've been using the Adobe Photo Album Starter Edition for a while and I have tried Picasa. I like them both because:

-They are both free.
-They both show your photos in chronological order (provided your camera's date was correct, but those properties can also be edited within the program).
-They both allow you to tag or catagorize individually or by groups of photos.
-Photos can be optimized, edited, cropped, and collaged (is that even a word?).

When I first tried Picasa I liked the facial recognition feature, but ultimately found correcting it's auto tag feature to be exhausting, so I stopped using it.

Ok, so enough rambling...

This week’s challenge:

• Establish your Physical and computer filing systems.
• Sort 2 boxes/Piles/Drawers of photos. 
Add one additional box for each “family” helper you recruit.
• Sort one year of Digital Photos.
• Sort 1 container of other supplies into your 4 Section System.
• Sort 4” of paper
• Post on FB

Tiffany recommended using a photo sorting software, and a perpetual calender to help. I found a nice perpetual calendar for free on the microsoft website. Click here and it will open in a new window.

To start out with, I scrap-lifted (can I use that term here?) Tiffany's file folder and index pages into word documents and just printed them out on plain copy paper and folded them. I gotta say, they are awesome for journaling prompts, which is really my biggest weakness as a scrapbooker. This is what they look like in a binder, but I will be adding my unfinished layouts to this holding album next, and those are 12x12.  (The holding album and journaling challenge is next week.) I got caught up in this project and now have 20 planned layouts and 15 previously unfinished ones. I'm a bad Grandma...

In order for me to gather my physical photos, I had to organize an area of gloom or two. My desk and filing cabinet has so much storage that when I put something away it becomes lost for all time. I have a cabinet in my scraproom that ends up being a pile catch-all for unfinished layouts and "cool stuff" I want to hang onto.

I ended up gathering up 3 "old fashioned" photo albums, you know, the ones that have the sticky board and plastic sheet... several brag book type albums-the purse sized 4x6 ones. There were 4 of the 4x6 plastic photo organizers with some high school photos of me and some pictures taken when my current husband and I were dating. My mom had also sent me (several years ago) a bunch of family history stuff and my childhood photos in several of those 9x12 envelopes, so I have those to deal with too. I found some photo disks and envelopes with the negatives from Wal-mart strategically located on the top shelf in my linen closet (don't laugh). Unfortunately, I also found about 15 undeveloped rolls of 110 film from when my children were toddlers and preschool aged in an old purse in the bedroom closet. Great.

A few years ago I was "getting my affairs in order" before my unit deployed to Iraq (2008), and went on this organizing binge so that if something happened to me my husband would be able to lay hands on all of our important documents and photos. I bought one of those pioneer digital CD organizers on Amazon. They hold the picture CD's and index cards and it expands (post bound) so you can buy refill pages and the pages that hold negative strips too. So at least I already had that covered, and I will just add the newly found stuff to that. The pictures in the albums  and photo boxes are already in chronological order- -go figure. My oldest daughter wants me to scan those eventually, but I can't deal with that just yet.

And on to the digital pics. I am still not finished with that. Over the years, every time I have backed up my computer, apparently I ended up with a pictures folder that has somehow multiplied until I had 6 or 7 copies of every picture I have EVER taken. While sorting these pictures by year, then by month, then by event, I have actually deleted, so far over 2000 duplicate photos. I swore I wouldn't delete any unless Tiffany came to my house and put a gun to my head, but I actually managed to do it. The nice thing about organizing them this way is that I get reminded of events and the dates. I actually got about 10 years worth organized. This is also how I ended up with so many new holding folders! I still have 3 grandchildren's births, 2 years worth of birthdays, 4 weddings, 2 vacations, and several Christmas and Easter's to scrap! I guess I am going to have to look into that Power Layout thing! I was feeling pretty smug about getting 3 Halloween's and 2 high school graduations done a couple of weeks ago, but now I feel so much less overwhelmed! 


I ended up looking for the Microsoft Office Picture Manager on my computer - I never knew I had it. I really do like it because I has the folder list (or tree, if you prefer), on the side and I can just open up the folders by clicking on the plus sign next to the years and go down the list. When I use Explorer I have to back out to go to the next folder I want to look at. This is much easier, and I like that you can change the names of several photos at once. I hovered over the pics and could see the digital date stamp, so I just renamed them by their date XXXX_XX_XX and let the program sequentially number them 01, 02, 03 etc.


I am almost caught up with my containers of supplies (only 3 left!), and have organised all my colored cardstock & papers onto my paper shelves. I thought I might need to get another shelf unit for my patterned and themed papers, but I am also thinking about just using the up-cycled postal boxes I have emptied out for themes and patterns - simply because I don't want to expand any more. I really don't have THAT much themed paper. Now that I have holding albums I actually realize I need more of that, but at least I know now what I actually need, instead of just grabbing whatever (or specifically whatever is on sale). I have probably purged about 3 inches of patterned paper that came in those huge paper pads. Those pads are almost as bad as buying a whole music CD for one good song... You might get 10 gorgeous sheets and 15 hideous ones!

On a personal note:

I know we aren't done yet, but I really feel like this challenge has been a life changer for me. I didn't really realize that there was a problem - except that I was getting to be so disorganized. I just kept getting more containers!  I like this system better because everything is right in front of me and I can use all those baskets elsewhere around the house. So the benefits are spilling into other areas of my home and life. I actually used 6 of my matching baskets in the bathroom cabinet to organize stuff by category. When I was going through the cupboard I found and got rid of a whole shelf of expired medications and near empty bottles of lotions and stuff I don't use anymore anyway. I even found unopened stuff that I am always buying - so that saved me some money too. I consolidated 4 boxes of band-aids and 3 boxes of wax strips (battle of the mustache). Now when I look for something in a cupboard around here I have a better shot at finding it - and it really looks nice. Big time-saver too! I've always been a packrat, but it was starting to make me unhappy and feeling overwhelmed and cluttered in my mind too. I am finding that it doesn't bother me to throw things away like it used to. I can't give Tiffany all the credit, because I subscribe to malitose79 on YouTube, and she is awesome too. But both of them have helped me bring it all together in several areas! I've even noticed that I am starting to think this way automatically everytime I open a cabinet or drawer and take a couple of minutes to organize it. It is so nice to have a place for everything instead of feeling like every drawer was starting to become the "junk drawer".

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