Friday, February 15, 2008
The Mother of All Organizing Projects!
Do you remember when I posted this, on my three New Year's Resolutions? Probably not, but bottom line - #1 was get some sleep, which I'm still battling. #2 was take every single thing out of the basement storage room, go through it with the sort, sell, give away, burn, etc. We're well on our way. BE STILL MY HEART- the sheetrock is here, and tomorrow walls start going up between the storage room and the quilting/sewing/creative genius room. I'm so very excited, and will post photos of that as work progresses.

#3 was sheer madness on my part - go through all the thousands of photos, whether they're in boxes, on my computer, the camera, in frames that are outdated, or even in scrapbooks that were overdone and never finished. It's a massive, massive project. So big that I've been double-dared by one of my daughters who will remain unnamed that I will never get it done. Well, you know what a dare does to you - brings out the sassiness living just barely under the surface and By Gosh and Golly, you'll get it done no matter what, whether we go without meals or clean undies. I'm as tired of having this on my resolution list as that proverbial 'lose ten pounds".

So I've finally jumped in with both feet and arms too. Like many post-scrapbookers, who need to sign up for Scrapbookers Anonymous, I've got more supplies than I can shake a stick at, and they are not only unused, they're unusable because they're a horrendous unorganized mess.

So I started here. I'm blessed to have a six foot countertop installed at the end of my laundry room, with shelving above, carts below, a very pleasant place to scrapbook unless the cat has recently been in there. It had become a heap of everything you don't need to scrapbook.

I started by getting rid of tablecloths, chair pads, etc. The pegboard on the wall is for my sewing room, and still needs to be moved. After working all day, and creating some order amongst the havoc, I came down the next morning to see the progress. This is what I saw:

The second shelf came down, dumping everything onto the first shelf, the counter and the floor. Not a great way to start the morning. I didn't curse or cry, both considered both. After a bit of work, it now looks something like this:

Yes, still a work in progress, but if you look closely you can see little green baskets, marked for each scrapbook I want to do. The paper has been sorted by size, and color, so I can actually find what I'm looking for now. The stickers and doodads are in a drawer by category/event. There are files set up in one drawer, the cutting tools are in another. You can't see the little bowl of spring M&M's to keep me going. I also plan to get a small CD player/clock radio for a bit of entertainment while I'm working in here.

After looking online, dragging out some of the 'How to Get Your Scrapbooking Mess Organized" books, articles, etc., I realized I needed a plan. An article said to start by deciding what albums I want to make? That helped a lot. Here's my list:

Chronological Family album

Album for each kid - birth through high school

Wedding album for all three kid weddings

Album for birth to one year on each grandchild, all of them together

Girlz Rule album - my mom, sisters, daughters, girlfriends, etc.

Heritage album for mine and Don's family

Christmas album to put out each year

Vacation album

Homes album - every house we've lived in

Twelve albums - a lot, but just figuring that out helped when I began sorting the actual photos. As I sort photos, they go into storage containers for specific albums. When you're as far behind as I am, it helps that most of the albums have an end in sight. The heritage ones, the weddings, the grandchildren, once they're done they can be set aside, and even Christmas will only need to be updated once a year. Vacations and homes will be a now and then thing too, and eventually I should be able to concentrate on keeping up our chronoligical family album. Piece of cake, right?!

Next - crucial - I needed a Time Line, something I also found referenced online. Not one but actually four. One for our family, and then one for each of our kids because once the youngest is 25 you cannot remember when anyone graduated from high school or got married, or when each grandkid was born for that matter. If I add up our family album and the three kid albums that will cover the first 18 years it equals NINETY-NINE YEARS of scrapbooking to cover. A little overwhelming trying to keep track of events. A timeline was a great solution.

I grabbed a bunch of paper, three-hole punched it, put in four tabs and made time lines for our family as a whole and for each kid specifically, and threw it all in a small three-ring binder. As I go through photos I can make notes on the pages of the timeline, when someone had surgery, or made cheerleader, or broke their ankle, or started to drive, or got their first ticket, etc. The Time Line is so vital, it'll stay on my scrapbook table and will be referred to over and over.

The tabs say "Family", "Sarah", "Leslie" and "Daniel".

Writing on each side of the sheet, at the top the year, and on the side how old that kid was that particular year, what grade they were in, etc. For the Family one I'm making a list of events that year - where did we go on vacation, who got married, graduated, etc.

Then I dragged out the two boxes I paid $35 for (each) by Creative Memories, called a Power Sort Box. Each holds 2400 photos, comes with little dividers which I ordered more of. I mean, I have 99 years to cover!

Miah the cat is my scrapbooking helper. The sofa and the floor - covered with photos! Focus, deep breaths, baby steps.

One box is for our family album, and all photos will start there. I made the mistake of starting with kid albums way back when, and our family album never got done. So instead I'm going to start with the family album, and as I have extras of a photo I can stick that one in the kids' photo files. I outfitted each box with a divider for each year I was covering, so the family one starts with 1980 and runs to 2008. The kids files start with whatever year they were born, and there's a divider for each of the next 17 years.

I typed the labels for the card dividers so they were more uniform which makes them easier to read I think. TV watching is a good time to grab a pile of photos and sort them. Everything gets marked on the back with a year, and then goes into one of these two boxes or into the trash. I don't need six shots of a kid on the swings, just one for us and maybe one for their book. I really think I'll end up tossing about 75% of our photos when I go through them.

It's still a massive project, and I've yet to put a single photo in an album, but am almost ready to begin that. I'm starting with working on two albums at the same time, to get them out of the way, one is a single photo album of our three kids' weddings. And the Christmas album - most scrapbooking advice will tell you to start with current photos and since Christmas 2007 is so recent, I'm going to put those in albums and work backwards. Amazingly, I've found the photos for most of the past 27 Christmases! God is gracious!

If you've let your albums and photos and supplies gather layers and layers of dust, all the while feeling guilty about it, then hopefully this will encourage you. If I can tackle this mess, yours should seem easy. I'll post here now and then about the progress I'm making. It's my goal to have this project under control by year's end.

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  posted at 10:00 AM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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