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.

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

Sorting Box
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.

Three Simple Steps to Honor Your Graduate this Spring!

The school year is winding down. With every school request for a photo collage or tribute, you wonder how to personally honor your graduate.
You might be feeling discouraged by what you haven’t done so far.
Or overwhelmed about what to do with their memorabilia.

Don’t panic!

In this three part series, you’ll have the tools to honor your graduate in a way that works for you.

27430394_lStep One: What’s the goal?

Let’s assume you have dreamed about making your grateful graduate a photo book. This can be as inclusive as their whole life, from diapers to graduation. An album of this type is called a life book.

If that feels overwhelming, you can reduce the scope and create a theme book. Some easy themes are High School, Hobbies or Activities. Keep in mind: this book should be as unique as your graduate.

Step Two: Get Real

At this busy time you need think realistically about what you can accomplish. Is it truly possible to have this project completed in time for graduation? Would it be more realistic to wait until your graduate flies the coop in the fall?

Step Three: Availability

How much time can you devote? An hour, all day, or just a little here and there? This will help to determine the project scope: a life tribute which takes more time or a themed project. Once you’ve determined the scope of the project, it’s time to think about its contents.

Making an album for your graduate should be fun! If you are feeling overwhelmed, I’m here to help. Email me today and I’m happy to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.

This is Part One of the Honoring your Graduate series. Part Two covers Creating the Graduation Album Project.


9 Easy Steps to Designing a Themed Photo Album

Designing and creating a photo album can be a daunting task. There are ways to keep it simple and manageable. A themed album can help to keep it to a reasonable project and with this approach, you can get an album finished in no time.

Canvas album cover sampleStep One – Select your theme

What’s the topic or reason for this album? Keep the focus narrow such as Our Hawaii Vacation rather than Every Vacation I’ve Ever Taken in My Life.
If you try to do too much you will feel overwhelmed.
Then what felt easy becomes impossible.
You’ll find yourself devoting your efforts and attention to everything but completing the album!

Step Two – Choose the album type & size

Scrapbook or digital album? My preference is digital because it’s faster, you can duplicate your efforts and easier to achieve. Choosing the album size is an important decision at this point in the process because it is tied to the number of photos to be used. Some common sizes are 8×8, 11×8 and 12×12. There are many photo book sites where you can create and publish your own album. Some of our favorites are Picaboo & Mixbook. Pick the best quality album you can afford.

Step Three – Select the photos

If this is your first attempt, think small and manageable. The optimum quantity is about 100 photos. Plan on putting 4-5 photos onto a page. If you want to do a collage, we suggest no more than 9 photos on a page.
The more photos on a side, the smaller each will need to be. You want each photo to be noticed so the page doesn’t appear too busy. Look for photos that tell the story. Capture people looking their best – be kind!

Step Four – Layout

Use sub-themes to plan the sequencing of your album and its layout.
For example, if you were making a Christmas album, the main theme would be the year and sub-theme is the activity such as opening presents, dinner and decorations.

Step Five – Designing and Production

Drag photos into the pages using pre-designed templates. Don’t let perfectionism get hold. Just get pictures onto the pages. You will feel a huge sense of accomplishment from just getting this part done! Then you can tidy up the pages later.

Step Six – Captions and Stories

This is where you can get friends and family involved. You could have them email their stories to you.

Then just cut and paste the text into your album. Upload photos to a sharing site like Flickr so they can look at them and add comments. A caption can be as simple as just identifying the year, the person or the event. Or you can add a catchy phrase – but only if that’s your personality. If not, don’t fret about it. Remember this is your story and if writing isn’t your thing – just add quick captions and dates if you can!

Step Seven – Drafts

Plan to do this in drafts. Remember when you were in school and wrote drafts of that English paper? This is loads more fun – because it’s your story. You’ll be thanking yourself for doing that second pass through, especially when you inevitably find those typos you missed on the first one. Step back from this project for a bit and return to it after a few days. You’ll be surprised by what you find and the clarity you gain with some breathing room.

Step Eight – Pretty and Tidy

It’s time to take a look at some details. Once I’ve selected my favorite photos I can’t enjoy how they look on the album page if the margins aren’t neat and balanced. That’s my preference for a timeless design. But I’ll admit this is where my perfectionism can slow things down. If that’s not you (or you truly don’t care), then pay no attention to me! But if you have customized the page layouts and you’re picky, then you’ll be glad you spent the extra time to make it right. And in keeping with the clean and tidy concept, I prefer a background that’s simple so it doesn’t detract from the photos I’ve so carefully selected.

Step Nine – Place the Order!

Congrats! You’ve worked hard & now have a beautiful album to be enjoyed by generations. Consider ordering extra copies for family and friends. And if your album design software allows, save a copy on your computer and another copy on a backup drive. Then if something happens to the original copy you can order it again. This album style could be a template for future albums!

Making an album should be fun! If you are feeling overwhelmed, I’m here to help. Email me today and I’m happy to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.