Friday, February 18, 2011

59 February Challenge: Project Photography {step 4 - organize remaining prints}

Last week I shared how I was organizing my prints from "this year".  Meaning current... staying up to date with my printing and photo taking by using Project Life.  However, that didn't talk about that giant back log of photos I still had tucked away in a storage drawer in the basement.... You know, photos from growing up, high school, college days, weddings, events, travels and our new babies.  Yeah, ALL THOSE!  Talk about daunting.  And I only had two albums and a photo box full....



As you can see above, I was "somewhat" organized in the photo box, pictures had already been sorted down by "categories" and bound with cardstock to keep them separated.  The two albums contained vacation pictures in one, and favorite prints in the other {which ended about 5 years ago}.  I know that I don't have the backlog that some do, and started off in a pretty good situation, but I still had some work to do to make the system more effective.

I guess that's what years and years of no system can do!  But I knew that after working away at all those old prints, I would make my life much easier in the future to have a good system!  I had a couple of products on hand already, since I always had good intentions of getting this job done.  I had this case:

Large Photo Keeper with 12 Cases (Clear) (5.14" H x 9.71" W x 14.98" D)

And some new boxes I had picked up from Walmart for about $6 each:


What I absolutely LOVED about these boxes is that they were much larger than the standard photo box size.  Actually, the box itself was the same size as a standard sheet of printing paper.  8 1/2 by 11 inches.  That meant that I could store photo cards inside, from all those holiday greetings we have accumulated over the years!  SCORE!



Now, let's back up a bit.  I bought the plastic photo storage case a little prematurely.  I loved that it had a hard plastic case to protect my groupings of photos.  But now that I was finally getting around to doing it, I realized that I am kind of vein.  You may have already noticed this about me... but sometimes I get a solid reminder, like in times like this.  I didn't want to leave the plastic case out on my bookshelves for the world to see.  It wasn't "pretty" enough for me.  And it looked clunky vs. blending in with our decor.  So, goodbye plastic carrying case, hello new turquoise photo boxes!  I decided I would just place the individual plastic dividers into the photo box vs. the carrying case.


Time to sort.  I made a list of categories that I wanted to sort down to {this would definitely be different for everyone}, and whipped up some case labels in photoshop {I found a free template from this amazing website and then modified it in photoshop to be used as these labels}.


Then, I just sprawled the open cases around me and sorted from my stacks of photos accordingly.  I have to mention, I used the same methodology here as I do with my digital file sorting.  I only kept the photos that meant something or were of good quality.  The rest were tossed.




I quickly discovered that I still have a lot of photos that had no room in the plastic cases.  So I have done what I can, and will most likely invest in one more set of cases for the remainder of our prints, because so far, I am loving that they are sorted and protected and prints will be much easier to find and flip through than in previous days!


I am such a sap, doing this brought so many tears to my eyes.  It was so fun to look back at the kiddos baby pictures, pictures from their first days, pictures of the hubs and I growing up and dating.  Memories....

This also made me realize that I have a lot of precious prints from the past of my boys, that I haven't revisited in years.  I decided those needed to stay out on our coffee table.  For now anyway!



I also realized that I had a lot of awkward sized pictures and enlargements floating around, either removed from frames or that never even made it into one.  Those found a home in a scrapbook sized box.



And last but not least.  Greeting cards.  Holiday cards.  Photo party invites.  All those pictures from others that you just gotta hang on to over the years.  I always wondered what to do with those.... until I found that they fit perfectly into these new boxes!  WHOOP!!

The problem was that going through my stack from years past, I didn't do a great job labeling the year on them.  So it is really hard to know for sure.  So those got dumped into an "archived" category of sorts.  Then, I just prepared for the next ten years....

I used photoshop again to create dividers for the box....


Which I also matted on scrapbook paper for added strength...



Then, I just placed the holiday cards in their respective new homes!


I am so excited to have an easy place to pop cards going forward!  Another example how spending some time getting organized now, will be a huge time saver in the future!

So now that the photos have a place to call home within their boxes, the boxes all get popped onto a shelf on our TV stand...



Along with our Project Life album and previous years photo books....

So, still on the ol' "Project Photography" to do list:
  • Finish organizing remainder of prints into cases
  • Come up with a special way to organize vacation photos {since there seems to be an abundance of these specifically}
  • Potentially invest in a photo scanner to digitize my favorite prints from the past {since I have a fear of losing them, going digital would assist in my goal to store them safely off-site}.  I am looking at something like this to make this easier for me, does anyone have experience with a photo scanner?  Thoughts?
  • Spend at least 15 minutes per day on my digital file organizing, until it's caught up.
  • Burn digital files to disc and store in Safety Deposit box {this is the method we decided would be most cost effective for us.  We are also going to give an online back-up system a trial run as well before investing in that route.  It's important to weigh out all the options}
I realize that tackling photos within one month may not be realistic for everyone.  It definitely isn't for me, since I feel like I have an infinity amount of digital files to get through still and not as much free time as I wish I had.  But the point is to have a plan that's easy to stick to and realistic in achieving the long term goal.  It's OK to re-asses throughout a project.  And focusing on photography this month has already helped me achieve oodles and has not only gotten me motivated to keep at it, but is setting me up to succeed going forward! 

Now we get to play the "what works for you?" game.  How are you tackling all those old prints from the pre-digital days?  How are you storing them?  How about greeting cards and photos from family and friends?  Am I the only one that cries when sorting through these?  Such a softy!  How is "Project Photography" coming along in general?


I decided a little challenge would be fun! This month we are getting all those pictures in order!  Wanna join?  Take photos and blog about your awesomeness as you go!  I am hoping to do a giant, "We did it!" celebratory post where we can all link up our picture organizing success stories at the end of the month!

59 comments:

  1. I've been slowly plugging along at organizing my digital files. I will sort a few at a time whenever I have a few spare minutes. I did start the Project Life project on Monday and will go through Feb. 13, 2012. I decided that my year didn't have to go from Jan 1 to Dec 31. Next up is tackling my printed photos. I have envelopes and piles and boxes and albums, so this is going to take a while, but I'm inspired!

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  2. I have to say, thank you, thank you, thank you! Your motivation has given me the kick in the tush that I need. I am uber-organized since I began following your blog just a few weeks ago.

    Regarding this post, I backed up all of our family photos to disc and store them in a fire-proof safe in our home. Also, I made additional copies of the discs (yes, all of them) and store them at my mother's house (in her safe).

    I use my HP C4780 to scan older photos, it works just fine for my scanning and printing needs.

    Also, I am planning to start the Project Life project as well...on the first day of Spring!

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  3. yes, Thank you for the motivation and inspiration! I feel a weekend/winter break project coming on :-) PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE consider adding those photo shopped labels and dividers for cards to your Etsy Shop. I think I have the smae plastic cases but would LOVE pretty labels!

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  4. I love those cases! The boxes/cases together would be great to store the photos we print but don't necessarily need or use on a daily basis. However, it's great to have them set aside for those school projects that need quick little photos.

    Anyway - I was talking to my husband about doing the same thing - archiving our photos on CD then holding them in our safe deposit box (great minds think alike!). He suggested instead that I archive them on DVDs. He said they hold a ton more pictures, and with newer cameras (bigger files) it might be worth looking into. I haven't done the research on it yet, but thought I'd pass along the idea. Good luck! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  5. Those little plastic boxes for the photos are genius! and they fit perfectly in the patterned boxes? perfection!

    xoXOxo
    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

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  6. Wow, you are the organization queen! I aspire to be as organized (as style-y too) as you. :)

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  7. I keep greeting cards and photos from others in a photo binder (you know, with the "sticky" pages) that's separated by year. It's nothing fancy, but they're all in one place and it's funny to flip back through previous years to see how everyone has changed. Other than that my prints are just a disorganized mess. But I'm loving your ideas so far and will need to definitely give them a try!

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  8. You did an outstanding job and you have such great style! Do you think you can just buy the cases instead of the whole container? Also, are the cases good for preventing fading of the photos and such?

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    1. You can buy the cases alone.

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  9. love the greeting card idea. i have mine sitting on the tv stand in a pile just awaiting your tips.

    did you find any good ones of us? ;)

    while tossing old ones, can you recycle those? like, with your normal paper recycling?

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  10. OMG I love this idea of the plastic cases inside the pretty boxes. I'm going to look into that. Can you tell us what the exact size of those boxes are? I really like this idea. And those labels you made for the inside of the case...goregous!!! Can you tell us how you made them or what size you cut them to? That is a great way to put a "Cover" into each plastic case. You are really super organized. My house will be super organized one of these days when I can catch up with all of your great ideas. LOL! Thanks Jen, thanks for being so creative and sharing it with us. We will all be so organized because of you. xoxo

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  11. Hi Jen,

    Another great post. I was wondering what font you used on the card labels? I noticed you used it a lot and I love its look.

    Thanks
    Katheirne

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  12. I found just the plastic cases. 10 for $14.99. Each case holds 100 4x6 pictures. I think I'm buying these. IHeart Amazon!!! And IHeart Jen for showing these to us. xoxo

    http://www.amazon.com/Photo-Case-Set-Clear-1-2/dp/B003B6RH7E/ref=pd_sbs_k_4

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  13. YOu have solved my picture problem!!!!!!!!!!! We ahve been married for 43 years so I ahve ALOT of pictures. Alot of them are in albums but by now the albums are falling apart. I am going to get those clear small boxes and put the pictures I want to save in them and them into something PRETTY too! Thanks SOOOOOOOOOOOO much!!!! XO, Pinky

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  14. I love the paper you used, so cute! I'm going to organize our greeting cards. Thanks for the idea!

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  15. I found {and ordered} single plastic cases for the rest of my project from the Container Store: http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10025078&N=&Ntt=10048174 They are $1.99 each so I could pick how many I thought I would need. {Plus I googled around and found a coupon code!}.


    They are acid free, so and because they are meant to house photographs, I am hoping they are safe for long term storage.

    Heather, I did find some good photo cards from you :) You haven't aged at all over the years, how do you do it? And I can't find anything anywhere that says you CAN recycle photopaper {boo}.

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  16. I love this post. I am going to come back to it again and again. I hope to organize my photos soon, too. I am starting at much worse point then you. Cute boxes, with photos just thrown and packed in from our past. I noticed the link didn't work to the awesome site you got the front label from. I would love to explore it more. Thanks for everything, you just keep getting better and better!

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  17. Link has been updated! Hopefully it works now!

    Oh, and the font that I used is CK Alis Hand.

    xo!

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  18. I love how organised you are! I'm always in awe of what you come up with!

    I'm currently moving all our childhood photos from bad acidic albums into good albums. My younger sister has a box full of photos that Mum and I are going to tackle together.

    Thanks for the inspiration Jen :)

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  19. I am so thankful you do these monthly challenges. I did your January one at the beginning of February but now I am tracking right along with you for February. Thank you for the motivation!

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  20. i have so many old photographs that vary in size. i started putting my hub's in these magnetic albums from target that are simple and library style. but i just inherited so many more. do you suggest i just put them in boxes? it just seems they'll get stuck together over time if i place them down, one on top of the other. help??

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  21. So inspirational!! A few months ago I went through all of my photos and threw out the blurry/duplicate/bad shots and organized my prints into categories. I love what you did with the cases and really would like to do that with my prints too. I also love how you left some on your coffee table for your family to look at. I always get so much inspiration from your blog. Lol, I fear that at one point your house will be so organized that there won't be anything left to blog about. :)

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  22. I am going to start on the HUNDREDS of photos I have from back before my children were born 26 years ago. You inspired me. :o)

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  23. I have another question for you. How many of the photo cases fit into one of the blue boxes?

    Thanks
    Katherine

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  24. just discovered your blog and I'm in AWE of your skills!!! So excited to learn from such an adorable master!

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  25. Jen, Have you always had photoshop?

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  26. Awesome post!!! What do you do with your children's keepsakes and cards from significant events? Thanks!!!

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  27. Sooo...What is our March challenge going to be. I am almost done with my photos. I am looking forward to our next project!

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  28. This is REALLY inspiring. I went out today and got a purple photo box and the organizing will begin tomorrow morning!

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  29. CCSS Math, 9 total fit in the box! Great question!

    Emily, I have had photoshop for awhile, still learning on my own how in the world to navigate it!

    Not sure what's in store for March, suggestions?

    Children's keepsakes are currently kept in a storage bin in our storage room, my wheels are spinning on ways to make that better....

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  30. I like your system for organizing photos. Can you please share names you labeled each blue photo box? What categories did you use? Thanks.

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  31. Jen I LOVE the blue and green cards you used to label each photo case. I would definitely snatch some up if you posted them on your etsy site!!

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  32. This is so fantastic, and I cannot wait to start getting all our pics in order.

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  33. how do we get steps 1, 2 and 3?

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  34. I really like your blog but find it a little hard to find things. Is there a "project" tab that I'm not aware of. I'd like to view some previos projects. thanks.

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  35. Amazing! I need to do this. I have the boxes, but the pictures are just all thrown into the boxes. Not organized or labeled in any sort of way. How do you make the dividers in Photoshop? I'm still trying to figure out all that Photoshop business!

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  36. How did you do the little labels in the plaques on the boxes? Is that an address-sized label printed and placed on the cardboard label they came with?

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  37. Hi Meredith!

    I actually just created them on a blank Microsoft Excel template and printed them on cardstock and cut them down to the right size to slide into the holders.

    Slightly tedious but always worth it! :)

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  38. I found a great deal for the photo cases @ Target - 2 for $40! {That includes the 12 little boxes in each case, so 24 little photo boxes!}

    http://www.target.com/IRIS-Large-Photo-Keeper-Set/dp/B003KWH8OQ/ref=sc_qi_detailbutton

    And free shipping! I heart that! :)

    Thanks for the inspiration Jen!

    QUESTION - What can you use the storage case for? Does it have inserts for the photo boxes or is it flat inside?

    THANKS!!!! <3

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  39. I always mean to scrap book my vacation photos, but now I realize that a photobook is a wonderful idea and it's easy to do with iPhoto. Then just have it printed out as a book. Photobooks are quite popular here because there are quite a number of shops that do them. Thanks for such an inspiring post. I find the thought of digitizing old photos so daunting that I end up not doing it at all! =O

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  40. Do you have a suggestion for how to organize your media if you save them to discs? I thought about putting them in a plain ol'e cd case but I would love to hear of a creative (& cheap) way of organizing them so they won't get scratched!

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  41. @Rebakah, I would place the discs in pretty jewel cases and pop them into a basket on your desk or a shelf in your living room.

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  42. Wondering if you ever did try out that online photo backup? I'm considering doing this, it would be easier than burning dvds (or saving to portable hard-drive) and storing them off-site since it would be automatic. There are many out there to choose from. I want to be able to download full-size pics from the backup if I ever need them. Thanks!

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  43. @Sheryll,

    Nope, we never did. I remember we looked into it and decided that we couldn't find one that offered all of the features we were interested in. We decided that our external and burnt dvd's were enough for us at this time.

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  44. I love your blog! Which version of Adobe Photoshop do you use?

    -Kelly

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  45. @Kelly, I use Photoshop CS3. xoxo! Jen

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  46. Did you ever purchase the scanner? I see it is no longer available on Amazon & I love the idea of using this rather than the scanner that is on my printer... that takes forever! Do you have any other suggestions for fast scanners like the one you provided the link for?

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  47. Hi. I just found your blog and I am in love! you have so many great ideas!! I have to know, how did you make the dividers - the ones that look like file folders... did you use a special punch or something??
    Thanks for all the great inspiration.

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    Replies
    1. It was tedious, lol. I created the template in photoshop, printed it, cut it, pasted it onto decorative cardstock and cut it again. By hand. Worth it, but all hand made.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  48. This is such a great idea! I was inspired by your blog last night, so when I was at JoAnn's Fabrics today I looked in the photo storage section & was delighted to find these cases sold INDIVIDUALLY! At $3.00 a piece regular price I wouldn't have bought them, but they were 50% off this week! Not so bad! Thanks again, I can't wait to organize my pictures!

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  49. This is genius! I have so many photo albums, which at the time, I thought was the best option to preserve my pictures, but now they are just taking up wayyyy too much space. Did you just do away with all your albums?

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    Replies
    1. For the most part, I have a couple that are really event specific, but the rest of the photos live in the photo cases now. :)

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  50. Okay so I'm a little confused as to how you used the template from that website. I love the idea but I am not very good with computers :(

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  51. Where did you buy the clear plastic photo cases.?

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  52. I found a (NIB) photo scanner like you mentioned at a garage sale. The cost to me was minimal compared to retail. So far I have scanned some old (say, 75 years) photos and been satisfied with it. The real test will be when I attempt to print from a digital photo.

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  53. Wow! Thank You! This is a great method for photo organization. Would you be willing to tell us which RGB colors you used for the flower labels on the photo boxes?

    Nice work Jen!

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  54. Wow! Great inspirations here Jen! Something I've considered doing with my prints for some time now but have dreaded. Love all your great ideas; very creative! Especially loved the large scrapbook box you used for organizing both your enlarged prints and holiday cards. Definitely, something I will have to do myself. Thank you!

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  55. My greeting cards solution certainly isn't as pretty as yours! But I have a similar system. 1.) I cut those over-sized envelopes in half that we all get in the mail, (taping the one side shut, of course). 2.) I label some large clips w/ general labels, "Immediate Family: Misc.," "Extended Family: Misc," "Weddings," "Birthdays," "Valentine's Day," etc. 3.) I label my 1/2-envelopes w/ sub-categories that will be clipped together by my labeled clips. (Example: Imm. Family Misc. clip would hold envelopes labeled: "Mom", "Dad", "Miguel," "Ana". Valentine's Day clip would hold envelopes labeled: "To Miguel", "To Ana," etc.) 3.) I fill a medium to large shoe box (wrapped w/ pretty wrapping paper... always wrapping my greeting card shoe boxes with the same paper for easy recognition... I store that wrapping paper w/ my greeting card shoe boxes, so I can wrap more boxes as needed) w/ my 1/2-envelopes (clipped together by category) and spend the year filling the envelopes w/ cards received (labeling it with the year it began). Usually one shoe box will hold 1-5 years. I label a full shoe box with the date range. (On all 5 sides, so that it doesn't matter which way it's stored.)

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  56. I have been taking pictures of my old pictures with my Ipad and then editing them on Shutterfly. This has fixed the red eye and cropped them properly. I find it faster than scanning and I think safer. Now they are on a website I can access from any computer. I just made a poster out of some really old and delicate photos and am waiting to see the results. I'll keep you posted. Thanks for this site. I use it to get me motivated while I have my morning coffee:)

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