Organizing Your Photos: Part Two – Sorting

Sorting your photos can be a difficult task. First you have to decide HOW you want to sort them, and then you have to actually figure out your time lines.

Here are some tips to make this just a bit easier.

  • If you have a huge backlog of unorganized pictures, you need to work slowly and take your time. Don’t rush, and try to start in an area where you don’t necessarily have to stop what you are doing and put it all away. Try to find a place when you start where you can leave them out until the chore is complete.
  • Sort and Stack the photos in chronological order by year, as I discussed earlier in Organizing Your Photos: Part One. This will probably be the most time consuming part of the job.
  • Don’t get caught up in all the memories right now. Grab some post-its and jot down some important dates, events or stories that go along with certain photos. Then just stick it to the back of the photo. It will make your scrapbook journaling easier later on.
  • Establish “landmarks” such as graduations, births, trip, holidays, seasons, different houses, different cities, states, etc. for sorting. Sometimes this makes sorting easier, by seeing the time line because of what is pictured in the photo.
  • Compare unknown photos with these landmarks. Use the size of children, hair styles, clothes, and other background clues to establish where the photo fits in order.
  • If you really have no idea when a photo was taken, make a wild guess and keep going. Spending too much time on one photo can make the process take forever. A completed album is much more important than an accurately sorted stack.
  • As you sort, toss out photos you know you are not going to use, or that would never go in the album. Anything blurry, unfocused, damaged, etc. This can minimize how much you have to sort.
  • If you are prone to getting doubles, and triples back from your developer, try removing those doubles and triples. You can repeat the steps again if you wish, but for now just pare it down to the single photos needed to scrapbook.
  • Once you have these stacks of photos, you might want to use an accordion file, photo box, envelopes or baggies. I started out with baggies and labeled them for each year. It was nice because they were all sealed together. I eventually switched to plastic storage boxes with lids and that is where I store them – stacked. I have labeled the outside with the year.
  • Be sure and store your memorabilia with the photos that it corresponds to. This makes it easier to find when scrapbooking and will ensure you don’t forget to include something and find out later you didn’t.

In the next article, Organizing Your Photos: Part Three – Selecting, we will tackle the issue of how to select the photos you wish to use.