Finding the Treasures

“This must seem mundane to you” said a client at the end of a recent session. The statement caught me off-guard because I would have described that past two and a half hours much differently!

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During her photo organizing session, we were sorting through her print collection; identifying the best and organizing them in preparation for digitizing. This phase in the process is a combination of a fact-finding mission and a treasure hunt. One of the treasures we uncovered was a newspaper clipping of her husband as a young adult during his days as a Golden Glove boxer! She was delighted to find it and couldn’t wait to share it with him. It was such a fun reminder that her retired seventy-something husband had once been a fierce competitor! And we knew he’d enjoy sharing this moment of his past with their grandchildren!

Photo organizing is so much more than the task at hand because it’s about understanding family relationships and the stories revealed through their photos. I’m the cheerleader for their stories.  I’m the person they count on to share the heart of the matter. And I’m not just searching for milestone events, celebrations and accomplishments. I also look for the everyday moments that connect the pieces of their life puzzle together.

Sitting side-by-side as we sorted her pictures was actually fun, rewarding and a reminder of the importance of cherishing those mementos (like a newspaper clipping) to tell the story.  If this story resonates with you and you would like some help sharing your photos and mementos, contact us. We make the process fun and easy.

Storytelling – Sharing Historical Moments

Where you you when…

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POW greeting family.

There are times when the events in the news become personal. Something happens in your community and how you internalize that event is an important story to share.

How did this affect you, change you? Document your friends/loved ones in the story. You may not have a photo to represent that moment in history but just a personal description/account can suffice. Newspaper clippings can be useful to document events like these.

 

Share the tough times along with the good ones.

So often as we look through photos of loved ones, there are those photos that bring up negative emotions – sadness, anger, regret. While difficult, they are part of your story and your family’s  history. Share how you overcame that challenge. If the details are too painful to share in words, the story can be told through pictures. Sometimes it’s ok to include the wedding picture of a since divorced couple. Keep in mind whose story is being told. When we come across these kinds of photos, we will ask our clients how they feel when they look them. If they still evoke positive emotions of a happy event then we recommend including them.  It’s a personal choice we encourage our clients to make.

No offense necessary.

However….if you are fighting the urge to literally cut someone out of your life (and out of your photos), that may be a sign to take another approach. You can choose to leave them alone, share them with someone who still cares about them or discard them. It truly depends upon your situation. Our motto is to err on the side of caution!

Storytelling is a necessary part of keeping our family legacy alive and authentic. Sharing the delicate topics can be tough but they are part of our story.  They help future generations see the resilience of those that came before them.

Our passion is to help our clients choose and tell the stories that have meaning to them. If you would like some guidance in this area, contact us. We make the process easy while helping you find the words to share stories from your personal perspective.

Print Organizing Part 3: Securing Your Photos

Once you have selected the prints you want to keep, they should be stored in archive quality, lignin free containers. They should also be kept in a location that’s temperate – not too dry or humid and with a moderate temperature – not too hot or too cold. Photos and memorabilia can deteriorate if not kept in the right conditions.

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When you are ready to scan, decide whether you’ll be doing the scanning or if you will be outsourcing it. If you’re going to outsource, it helps to communicate your preferences and system to the person or company doing the scanning. Then when you upload your digitized photos onto your computer, the system you’ve spent so much time creating is kept intact. You’ll want to ask your scanner to name the photos according to the categories you’ve created. You’ll sometimes be charged an extra fee for this but it will save you time in the future. For example if you have organized a year’s worth of photos into monthly divisions, give that information to your scanner so the photos are named accordingly.

With the sorting boxes and index divider system, photos are grouped and named according to each section. Some scanning companies prefer that you use envelopes or zip lock bags to keep photo groups sealed and separated from each other. Ask your scanning company for their preference so that you are getting the outcome you expect for your scanned images. If you are doing the scanning, then keep each category together and then name the images by the category. This will help to group your photos together.

Congratulations. Before you know it you’ll be enjoying and sharing those memories with family and friends.  To speed up the process, you can contact us to help you.  For more information on how we can help you secure your photos, go to our Services page.

 

Print Organizing Part 2: Selecting Your Favorites

As you think about which photos to keep, you’re likely thinking about sharing them with family and friends. While you can share the extra copies, we prefer sharing digital copies.  This means your prints will need to be digitized.  Since this is a bit of an investment, you have some things to consider: Scan now, select and organize later or Organize now and then scan the best ones. We like to organize before scanning because it’s easier to build upon this system and use it for all digital photos. And you avoid the cost of scanning photos you don’t want to keep – especially those duplicates and blurry shots.

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Organized stacks

Getting Picky – What’s Worth Keeping?

If you’re like most people, your photo collection includes some great shots, duplicates, a few blurry pictures and the ones that tell a story.  Using the ABC’S as our acronym, this will be our guide for how to select our favorites. The “A” photos are the ones you like the best – typically the ones that you liked so much you ordered reprints of them. You may even have them in an album. These are the ones you want to highlight, preserve and share with family and friends.

If you have photos in albums, you will need to consider whether to keep them in place or remove them from the album.  If the pages of the album are the old, magnetic sticky sheets, then it’s best to remove them from the album to avoid further deterioration.  Since someone spent the time to carefully group photos together, you’ll want to pay attention to this and keep them in the same sequence. However, if you cannot remove the photos from the album, they can be scanned while still adhered to the album.

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A treasured note from the teacher!

Memorabilia can and should be scanned for safe keeping.  Include this in your organizing system so that when the digital versions are uploaded to your computer, you can easily locate them following the same system.

The “B” photos are those shots that are close to the same quality as the Album-worthy shots, but you don’t think they are as important to showcase. You should still digitize these for safe keeping so include them in your “To be Scanned” box. An example of a “B” photo might be a look-alike version of a pose – might not be the best one but still good for preserving.

The “C” photos are usually an easy decision. These are the blurry or under/over exposed shots.  Or they may be photos of people you don’t remember! No need to scan a picture of a stranger – unless it’s an heirloom photo! Discard similar shots of the same view or pose. Then use a genealogist to help you identify it! If they are duplicates you can consider passing them along to family/friends or putting them aside to use for craft projects.

Telling the Story

Sometimes the story-worthy photos aren’t the best quality shots but the only copy you have to commemorate that event. You’ll want to keep this in mind as you select your photos to be digitized. As you think about how to group/categorize your photos, think about your preferences – chronological, themes, people and special events.

If you’re creating a life book or showcasing eras, organizing chronologically is typically the way to go. If you want to showcase interests, traditions or events then theme-based organizing works well. There’s no right or wrong way to group your photos – keep in mind how you remember events and traditions. Some folks are great at recalling dates, while others work better with themes!

As you find or recall important details such as the date, event name and location, document these on the index cards.  Or you can create a spreadsheet to list them in chronological order.  This is especially helpful when you are ready to put together a photo album or a slideshow.  Then the process of telling the story is easier because all the pieces are organized together.

Selecting photos can feel like a huge responsibility. If tackling this on your own seems daunting, send me an email. We have a keen eye for recognizing those important story telling details.

Next Step – Securing your Photos

Organizing Your Print Photos – Getting Started

Most of us have sizable collections of prints and memorabilia taking up space in our closets and storage rooms. Bringing them out of hiding and into our lives can seem like nothing more than a pipe dream. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In this 3-part series, you’ll learn the basics of getting started, selecting the best photos and ways to secure them.

Step One – Gather your photos.

With everything gathered and in the same place, you’ll be able to see what you’re working with.  Include the loose prints and the ones you have in albums. You likely have some artwork or memorabilia that are precious to you so include those as well.

Don’t worry if your collection isn’t neatly organized because with this system yours CAN be!!

Step Two – Set up your work space.

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Lots of room

You’ll need a work area so that you can spread out your collection to review and select your best ones. A large table or work surface works best.

Chairs can be useful if you need to spread out!

Pick a room that’s out of the way so you won’t have to worry about encroaching into the family activities! If you have a large collection it might be easiest (and less overwhelming) to work with a portion of it at a time.

Step Three – Supplies are Key

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Sorting Boxes

You’ll need some sorting boxes, some index cards, sticky notes (Post-its work great) to use as tab, a pencil to write on the tabs and a photo safe pen/pencil for storytelling. These will be used to label and record information on your photos.

Are you feeling empowered and ready to go?  You are ready to begin the next step – Selecting your Favorite Photos. If this sounds overwhelming, you might need some coaching to take the leap. Send me an email to schedule a 30 minute consultation. We can create a plan for you that will help to get things started.

Honoring Your Mother’s Day Treasures

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s save mementos and memorabilia – especially if they are Mother’s Day gifts from our children. As a former professional organizer, I know that saving every note and drawing this isn’t advisable, but come on! How can you throw away something that represents time your child spent on YOU?

Well actually you don’t really have to throw them all away but you should seek ways to honor your favorites. If it’s been ages, like years since you looked at them, are they really being treasured? Sometimes throwing them away may feel like we’re throwing away a piece of that relationship. But can you truly say that it’s honoring to keep these things tucked away, never to be looked at again?

When I look at a handwritten note or drawing from my children, they are lovely reminders of time they spent thinking about me.  As the mother of three grown children, they are a kind of report card of my success as their mom. So when a memento from your kiddos is a pleasant reminder of your relationship or it represents a significant moment in your past, then by all means save it. Those random non-emotional items, can be discarded (guilt-free) to make room for the treasures.  But I must encourage you to honor them.

How you ask?  By putting your favorites and in a place of honor.  There are lots of ideas.  You can frame them, put them in a decorative box or create an artwork album. For more ideas on memorabilia, check out our Pinterest page or blog post Giving Memorabilia for the Holidays.

And when it comes to mementos, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! One of my “treasures” from my youngest (then teenage) son is a Mother’s Day card – all in Spanish. While he was in a silly mood and thought it would be cute to confuse this non-Spanish speaking momma, he also carefully translated each word so I would also know how much he loves and appreciates me!

So the next time you pour over treasures from your offspring, don’t forget to send a note to your own momma!  And if she’s a saver like you, consider gifting her your time to help her create a special way to honor her treasures!

If this idea sounds appealing to you but you need some creative guidance, we love helping our clients with just this kind of project.  Send me an email to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.  Together we can brainstorm ideas to create a treasured gift for you or your momma!

Now go write that note to your mother!

Celebrating Your Graduate

It’s time to celebrate! Are you having a party or an open house? Yay!

Set up the party area.

IMG_1745-Make decorating easy! Use things you already have that feature your graduate.

-Place memorabilia such as trophies, awards, achievements around the party area.

-Did you make a senior tribute collage or project? Use the tribute at the party!

A slideshow that is on a continuous loop to play on your TV or computer display is always fun for the guests to watch

What’s the graduate’s next step?

Acknowledge their future plans such as college, military, travel or an internship. Most colleges have school logo items such as pennants, hats or clothing that you can put on a table to display their next step. If they have enlisted into the military a camouflage table cloth can work. For travel, use maps or travel guides as display items to highlight this milestone.

Are you ready? Or are you realizing you do not have the time to honor your graduate the way you want? I can help! From a celebration album to a beautiful slideshow, I’ll work alongside you to help you create meaningful gifts that also make great decorations at your party! Shoot me an email if you are interested in a free 30 minute consultation and I’ll help you with this milestone event.