Spring Organizing Challenge: Day 10

Today’s challenge has to do with your photos. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I take photos…..a lot of photos. My kids have pretty much every moment of their lives documented in photos. My oldest son’s friends tease him and say that I have a scrap book already made for him telling him what his future holds for him. (I don’t need to, as he is already dreaming big and knows what her wants to do. If you have a child who can dream big, they don’t need a parent to plan out their life for them!)

Back to the challenge, I have a lot of photos, and I have to store a lot of photos. So today I wanted to share my tips with you on how I store my photos.  I even took photos of how I store my photos…..how funny! I wanted to give you real photos of how I organize my photos. Would I love everything matchy/matchy? Of course I would. But when I started organizing my photos I did have a budget I had to stay within. I also found that companies changed colors and styles as the years went on. Could I buy all new organizers that are matchy/matchy? Of course I could, but I am too frugal so I won’t!

My photos are stored in 5 different areas. Use a combination of these methods for your photos to help you stay organized.

1. I first started using Tupperware photo storage boxes. They are airtight and water tight. The picture of the photos in the Tupperware is the one on the top. I have them numbered and have the time frame on a label on the outside of each of the boxes.

2.  Then I started using Creative Memories photo storage boxes, called Power Sort boxes. These boxes are in the middle number. They have changed the box style since I started using them. The new style can hold over 1,000 photos in each box. Each person has their own box. My husband and I share a box.

3. I store memorabilia in files in my filing cabinet. This is either organized by activity or year. You can see my filing cabinets in the top picture. Not pretty, but they are safe.

4. I do scrap book, more years ago and not so much now. My finished albums go in a bookcase in my basement. They are kept on the top shelf, so if our basement were to ever flood, they would be off the floor and kept dry.

5. External hard drive is where you will find the photos that I have taken in the last 8 years. Ever since I have gotten my digital camera, I print off fewer pictures. Since I don’t print off so many, I don’t need to store them. It is important to store them on an external hard drive and not your computer. If you computer ever crashes, you could loose all those photos. The chances of an external hard drive crashing is almost zero. They make hard drives now that are small, and can hold thousands of pictures. They cost less than $100 and are a good piece of mind!

So what should be your steps in getting your photos organized?

Step1: The most important thing is climate control. Make sure your photos are out of direct light, temperature fluctuations and humidity.

Step 2: Make sure all photos are stored in photo safe methods. This means not in magnetic albums. By this I mean those albums with the sticky pages that hold your photos into place. What makes those pages sticky is chemicals that are bad for your photos. If you have photos in those type of albums, remove them. Photos will fade much faster while in these type of photos. Some photos will not even come off of the pages. Photo safe methods are archival approved photo boxes. If you don’t have the money to buy archival boxes, any box is better than the magnetic albums.

Step 3: Gather all of your photos in one area of your home. Have a closet that they are all kept in. It is hard if they are in 10 different areas of your home, such as in drawers or under beds. My photos are scattered around my home due to storage constraints, but they are all organized in their different areas. I no longer have loose packets of photos scattered around my house. When someone gives me a photo they go in the power sort boxes. When my photos get downloaded from my camera, onto the hard drive they go.

I could blog about organizing photos forever! I would love to tell you about how my mom stores my photos from when I was a child. I will give you a hint….they are all organized!

Wondering what this challenge is all about?

Before you can tackle your Spring Cleaning you must first get your Spring Flinging done, or as I like to call it “Spring Green Fling”, because I want you to be green as you are getting rid of the items that no longer are going to be in your home. I am going to challenge my readers and followers on facebook to join me as we get organized before we start our Spring Cleaning. This challenge will last 10 days and will close at midnight CST on March 30, 2011. I even have a prize at the end of the challenge. The winner will receive one hour of my organizing services. Don’t live by me, no worries as we can chat on the phone or via Skype or even do your organizing through email.

To be entered in the challenge you need to post a comment on my blog or post a comment on my facebook page. Each comment you get one point. Each point will enter you in the drawing for the free organizing hour. Invite your friends and family to join and tell me you invited them and you will get 2 points! For example if you get 50 points, you get 50 chances to win!

Remember to share with your friends and family, as you know if you send this to your mother she will spam all her friends with this…..go ahead, they wont mind!

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com . Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com. For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you. It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.