Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life June 2011 – Vol. 10 No. 5
If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it:


~ William Morris, 19 February 1880

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Organizing photographs There came a point in my life when I had to put a moratorium on taking photographs. “No more photographs until you start organizing the photographs you’ve got,” I said to myself.

Here’s how I got my photographs under control and my advice to you:

Work from today forward. Start a new album or photo box with your most recent photographs or the next roll you develop. Make it a habit to put new photographs in their place right away. Do this and all your photographs will be organized from today forward!

Following are eight more ideas to help you to organize your stash of photographs and manage

what may seem like an overwhelming project.

1) Go digital. If you really dislike organizing photos, you may prefer to take digital photos that you can store on your computer’s hard drive or a thumb drive – or in anyone of many photo storage and organizing programs that allow you to easily share and print photos.

2)Divide and conquer. If you have boxes and boxes of photographs to organize, start by dividing them into three to five broad categories.
Categories might include friends, family, children, grandchildren, places you’ve lived, or places you’ve visited. Or you can categorize by events (graduations) or by time frames (college days) or family members.

3)Start sorting. Once you’ve created categories, label one box for each category and sort all photographs into those boxes. Next, starting with one box, sort photographs into sub-categories.
For example, if your main category is “vacations,” sort photographs into separate vacations you’ve taken. A labeled shoebox or paper bag might work well for organizing these sub-categories.

5)Discard the bad and ugly. As you are sorting, throw away photographs that didn’t come out right or are very similar to other, better photographs.
Also throw out duplicates or, if you can’t bring yourself to do that, put them into a separate box labeled “Duplicates.”

6)Make it a priority. Schedule a regular time each week to sort and organize photographs until you are caught up to date. Write it into your appointment book and honor the appointment as you would honor any other appointment.

7)Turn negatives into positives. An easy storage system for negatives is to keep them in their original processing envelopes and then, as you put new photographs into an album, put the negatives into a large manila envelope at

the back of the album. Another idea is to file them in plastic sleeves designed for storage in a three-ring binder. This second idea works for recent and older negatives. Don’t worry too much about organizing the older negatives because you may never even need them.

8)Preserve your memories. Store photographs in the main area of your home, away from light, heat and humidity. To preserve photographs longer, use archival quality photo boxes or photo album pages.

Favorite organizing products and resources As a professional organizer for the last 10 years, I’ve used and recommended a lot of organizing products, services and resources.
Every month, in this column, I share my favorites.

This month, let’s talk about paper organizing. If you’re like most people, the reason you don’t get around to filing is because you don’t know a) what you need to keep and what you can toss and b) what to do with the papers you decide to keep.

For help with the first part, check out the “Keep or Toss” quiz at my website: http://www.unclutter.com/keep-or-toss

As for what to do with those papers you decide to keep, I highly the Freedom Filer* home filing system. I’ve tried a lot of systems and this one is my favorite. Watch a quick demo video here and you’ll see why I like it – and why it may be just what you need as well.

For a look at more of my organizing favorites, visit www.unclutter.com/favorites

Shameless promotion: There’s Netflix and then there’s. . .

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Either way, if you could use an extra paycheck every month, be sure to watch the opportunity video while you’re there. J

That’s all for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.