A new year is a great time for fresh starts and getting organized.
If you’re facing a full Saturday of organization tasks, armed with new plastic bins, file folders, and labels, consider keeping your smartphone camera handy as well.
We all know photos help us tell stories and preserve memories, but we don’t usually consider adding photos into our toolbox of organizational equipment.
In this post, we suggest some ways that photos can help you get more organized as you head into 2020.
1. Taking photos of items inside your home gets you ready for special projects.
When you’re organizing your home, photos give you a tangible reference point and help you face various projects with efficiency. You can take photos of individual items, or snap shots of different areas of your home.
Photos of the inside of your home can help when you’re making interior decorating changes. We suggest taking photos of your Christmas decorations before you put them away so you’ll know what goes where next year.
It’s also a good idea to have photos of rooms in your home when you head out shopping for new furniture or home accessories. This can help you visualize what something new might look like in a particular space, or on a wall.
If a move is in your future, taking photos before you pack will help with unpacking in your new home. Sarah Gabriele with A Place for Everything, helps busy folks in the Denver area eliminate the chaos of moving. She says photos are a very important part of their move management process.
Sarah’s team takes photos of everything before a move – inside every closet and cabinet, every piece of furniture and art. Then they go to the new house and use the reference photos to choose a new home for everything as they unpack. “We have printed photos and an iPad while we unpack, so we can make sure to get the details correct,” she says.
2. Go a step further and create a full photo inventory of your home.
Insurance companies suggest making a list of everything in your home, especially your valuables. We think it’s wise to take the extra time to build that inventory with photos. You’ll be better prepared should you ever have to file an insurance claim.
We recommend taking general photos of everything in your home, including the insides of drawers or closets. It’s even more crucial to have detailed photos of high value items. In addition, consider snapping photos of receipts and appraisal records of those items.
If your home ever receives damage from hail, fire, or water, take pictures to document it. Then keep those photos so they can help tell the story of any home improvements or remodels.
This website features additional tips for taking photographs for insurance purposes.
3. Take photos of precious items and legal documents after a family member’s passing.
The days, weeks, and months after a loved one passes away are often filled with travel, family gatherings, and lots of emotions. When it’s time to settle an estate, photos can help bring order to the chaos.
Are there some items you’re trying to decide whether or not to keep? You might not have room, or want to save every memento from your loved one’s collection. Instead, you can take photos of those items, and the images can serve as a keepsake memory.
You may need legal documents for months or years down the road. Keeping a photo of each important document will protect you if anything is lost during a move, or if you can’t reach the family member who has the original.
4. Snapping photos and screenshots helps us with everyday tasks.
We recommend taking photos of the labels of items you frequently buy (e.g. nutritional supplements, grocery items, wines you like, etc.). This helps you remember the brand name and details when shopping. This also comes in handy if you need to share that photo with someone doing the shopping for you!
When entertaining, it’s helpful to snap a photo of your charcuterie tray, or your dinner table set for guests so you can replicate those ideas again. Photos or screenshots of recipes are often easier to reference than digging through cookbooks or heaps of recipe cards.
What should you do with those photos and screenshots?
A collection of random still shots and screenshots can get unwieldy when mixed among your photos of family memories.
We find that it’s helpful to first put those photos in one of two categories: Toss or Save.
Toss the photos of items you don’t need (for example, old recipes you never make, or photos of a sweater you decided not to buy).
It may be tempting to keep every photo, but having too many images creates chaos and takes up valuable space in your photo library. It’s a good idea to do a monthly check to purge photos that are no longer relevant.
Name the photos you want to save, then put them in a digital folder titled with a name like “Home Inventory,” or “Shopping.” Then be sure to back up all of your photos in a cloud storage service and on an external hard drive.
If your photo collection is stressing you out, we can help! Contact us for a free consultation, to see if hiring our team to help you manage your photos will help you get a kick start on the new year.