Friday, February 21, 2014

Making a Mess to Organize a Mess

For the past few months I have sadly neglected my photos project. And considering my age, I shouldn't do that--I have a lot of photos to get properly booked and cared for! Winter is usually a time when I get the blahs, and this winter I sank into them a little deeper than usual. I've had trouble getting myself in gear to do anything useful.

I have, however, read or listened to a lot of books and probably watched more TV than I should. The reading is good mental exercise, the TV not so much. Did those two things just cancel each other out?

The only place I have that I can spread things out to work on the photo project is my kitchen table. Since I live alone that isn't usually a problem. We do have family meals, birthday celebrations, and holiday get-togethers in my home. And when that happens I scoop everything up and put it on my bed, then return it to the table afterwards. With every "scooping" things get more mixed up. My carefully organized packets of photos are scrambled. The scrapbooking accessories, likewise. And I have a hard time getting motivated to unscramble once again. So the project lies untouched for a time--and then I find I have forgotten where I was in it. Yikes. It is easier to put it off than try to reconstruct where I was before both the project and I got scrambled.

And then I got access to some of the old family history photos that I hadn't had before. So that album that I thought I had finished, needed reorganized a bit to incorporate this new (to me) material. I have gotten myself to work on that this week, and almost have it done.

But the rest of the mess I have just started on. I'm trying to find better ways to organize the various types of materials so that even when I have to clear the table I don't lose my place, forget what materials I have, forget which photos I've already printed out (I find I have printed some more than once!), and become too discouraged to work the project because I have to spend too much time sorting.

Here's what my table looks like this morning.

That mess means I have actually been working on organizing. Step one was sorting out the scrapbooking accessories such as stick on accent materials. They started out in a box. Other stuff got added to the box. More stuff got tossed in to make it easier to carry everything off the table. Yesterday I dug the varied types of stuff out of that particular box, sorted out the accent materials, and put them in sleeves in a binder. Now I can flip through, see what I have, and easily pick out what I might want to use on a particular page. (I found some things I had forgotten I had.) There was even some stray stuff in that box that had nothing to do with the project and most of that went to the trash.

Now I need to go through the photos again. I have them sorted into baggies dated with the year they belong in. The problem is where I forgot and made duplicates of some pictures, and some had not yet made it into the proper baggie. When I get that sorted, I'll give the extras to my sister Grace.

This just takes me through the mid-1940s. Once these are properly booked I can begin the next phase. The photos from there on won't need as much work. From the later '40s on the prints tend to be larger and there will be fewer that I need to scan and enlarge. Of course, for me at this point, larger is a great help.

I probably won't be working at top speed, but I feel encouraged that with the organizing I'll be less discouraged and more excited about working on The Project. I still need to find a better way to organize some of these things, but any progress helps! I love photos, but they are worthless if they are not in an easily viewed format. Boxes full of photos tend to be just boxes of excess paper, stuck away somewhere and never seen.

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