Easy Steps to an Organized Life in 31 Days: Photographs (Day 25)

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Easy Steps to an Organized Life in 31 Days: Photographs (Day 25) | 31Daily.com

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Day 25: Photographs

I have a staggering number for you.

Did you know that people worldwide take photos every 2 minutes? Per year — 657 billion photos according to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report. In 2015, she reports 3.5 million photos shared on social media, daily.

A lot of numbers to tell you something you already know. We take a lot of photos. And a lot of them sit on our devices for lack of knowing what to do with them.

How to manage and organize those photos are the topic today.

Monthly Digital Downloads

Step 1: Storage

Decide how you want to store digital photos.

The Guardian advises, “The best option for individuals is an external hard drive, connected to your PC via a USB or Thunderbolt port. Powered USB 3 drives are big, fast, reasonably priced, and generally reliable.” It also recommends that depending on the size of your photo archive, a 3TB size drive is best but anything between 2TB and 5TB. And most importantly, decide if you want to backup the media files on an additional external drive or an online cloud.

For more specific information and recommendations, read the article in The Guardian.

Step 2: Make Folders

Make a single folder labeled “Pictures.” Within that folder, you’ll have sub-folders. Most import software will automatically create folders by year and month. These specifications can be changed in the settings if desire.

Decide whether your want to organize photos chronologically by year and month, or by theme and event. My preference is a hybrid on the two – I always import by year and then by month. But I also add tags to define events, themes, etc.

Step 3: Download

Once a month at the minimum, download all photos from your camera or phone to a computer desktop photo management program like iPhoto for Mac, Photo App for Windows 10 or older Windows versions – Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Step 4: Review

Import the photos and review. Immediately delete images that are out of focus or duplicates of the same scene.

Step 5: Back Up

After each batch of uploaded photos, back up to either the backup external drive or a cloud service.

“The best backup is still a printed photo,” says Cathi Nelson, founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers. But many experts say don’t bother with a home printer — supplies are expensive and the quality rarely good. Instead, use an online service or a store kiosk. Nelson suggests trying a few stores to see which one churns out the best prints. And don’t discount the small, independent shops. “Your local photo lab wants your business so is usually a great source of help and info,” Nelson says.

Organize Print Photos

The easiest first step in organizing print photos is to first gather them to one location.

Purchase a photo storage box or boxes, depending on your volume. Be sure these are specifically designed archival photo boxes. Amazon.com has some as does the Container Store.

Secondarily, as time permits and part of a longer-term project, purchase archival albums to store special photos in with slide-in sleeves.

Step 1: Organization

Create organizational dividers. Similar to digital photos, organize into broad categories or time frames.

Step 2: Sort

Sort printed photos and notate on the back of each with an acid-free, photo-safe pencil or pen any relevant information, dates, locations, people in the photos and so on.

Step 3: Eliminate

One of the hardest parts is eliminating photos. Begin eliminating easy choices; like bad exposures, or blurry shots.

As you come across favorites, set them aside to put into photo albums you already have or create a gallery wall in your home.

Step 4: Negatives and Slides

Negatives are best stored flat, in specifically designed acid-free sleeves. You can find these on Amazon.com. Many experts advise to store them in a safe place like a safe deposit box or fire and waterproof safe.

Slides are also easily stored in archival sleeves for binders. You can also find these at Amazon.com.

Step 5: Label

Label everything possible. It will save you mountains of work in the years to come.

Protect Photos

To protect your precious photos, keep these points in mind from Better Homes and Gardens.

• Temperature, humidity, and light affect photos. Stash stored photos and photo albums away from sunlight in a cool, dry area.

• Hang framed photos on a wall that won’t get the direct sunlight, which fades photos quickly. Or use blinds and draperies to control the light.

• Avoid storing photos in basements or attics, where temperatures and humidity fluctuate.

• Oils on your fingers degrade photos and negatives, so handle them by the edges only. For additional protection, wear clean white cotton gloves.

• Paper clips, rubber bands, glue, and tape shouldn’t come in contact with photos, unless specifically designed as safe for photos.

• Plastic pages, bags, and boxes that aren’t acid-free might release harmful vapors that permanently damage photos. These plastic products are considered safe: polypropylene, polyethylene, mylar, Tyvek, and cellulose triacetate. Before you buy, check labels on photo boxes, mats, and albums to make sure they’re acid-free and photo-safe.

• Always frame photos using acid-free matting materials.

• Keep photos away from wood, plywood, chipboard, rubber cement, animal glue, shellac, contact cement, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), pressure-sensitive tape, and porous marking pens.

• Adhesives might chemically interact with images and ruin the photos if you try to remove them from an album at a later date. Use only specially made acid-free glue sticks, markers, and corners on your photos. (Available from exposuresonline.com, archivalmethods.com, orarchivalusa.com.)

• Never use so-called magnetic photo albums that have damaging glues on the photo pages.


Download Checklist


Objective: to create a photo archive, schedule a monthly download and begin a print photo archive.  

• Begin with digital photos. Download all photos onto chosen system; external drive, hard drive, etc.

Organize digital photos by chosen organizational strategy – chronological or by theme/event — or a combination.

• Review photos and eliminate easy choices like; blurry, duplicate, etc.

Backup photos.

• Print Photos: Create or purchase archival photo storage boxes or binders and label tabs or cards with broad dates and categories. These can be sub-divided at later dates.

Sort Prints: as you sort, eliminate easy choices like blurry, overexposed or duplicates (unless you want to give it to a family member). Set aside favorite photos to either place in an existing album or frame.

Organize Negatives and Slides: In the same way, organize negatives and slides into broad categories or dates. Store in specifically designed sleeves.

• Storage.  Determine location to store binders or photo boxes in a temperature controlled environment.


Books and Magazines


Easy Steps to an Organized Life in 31 Days or Less (Amazon.com)

Easy Steps to an Organized Life in 31 Days | 31Daily.com

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