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Blog: Organizing For The Physically Challenged

Managing Family Photographs By FRANCES DAMATO I received an inquiry from a woman who has had to deal with the recent loss of her Mom. She suddenly was in procession of her Grandmother's photographs along with her Mom's. Her question how do I begin to organize these collections? My Mom, who is now 86, handled the task of organizing her Mother's collection about thirty years ago. I'm still in awe of my mom's capability. She looked through the pictures and put them in chronological order. Easy when she could recognize pictures of herself and her siblings. Not so easy for the older relatives. She asked her three living siblings if they would like to help. At this point they were all retired and enjoyed coming together for lunch and a few hours of identifying photographs. They repeated the process a few times before they were able to go through most of the items. My Mom also gathered the pictures they couldn't identify and brought them to her Aunts and Uncles. More identities were discovered and dates were assigned. By this time the project was one of interest to her siblings as well as some of their children. So the next step was to also divide the photos into family remembrances. Now they were ready to begin putting the items in albums. Fortunately, they were able to make reproductions of some of the photos that included more than one family so the photo could be shared. They also had the number of items for each album so selecting an album was easier. There also was a culling process that each sibling undertook so only the best photos were put in the album. This whole process took many months so if you are beginning the program be sure to do the following: Have a large plastic file box with hanging files in it. Label the hanging files by 10-year intervals. Put 5 manila folders inside each hanging file for pictures for each two year time period. Then label other hanging files with your sibling's names on it. Put the appropriate manila folders in each. A word of warning label all photos with the date, names of people and place as soon as you develop them. This will make the task of organizing photos easier for you and your family members in the future. Of course with digital pictures and on line albums our children will have a much easier task. Enjoy the process by dividing all the tasks into two-hour time frames and put everything away till next time. Plan time for the project every week so you will not feel overwhelmed by the process. Also give yourself time to reminisce about the events in each photo. Let me know if this helped. Ccfld 8/1/09


posted on: 8/1/2009 12:30:00 PM by Frances D'Amato
category: Special Populations

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Discuss This Post

by roulett on 1/22/2010 11:15:49 AM:

Sometimes it's really that simple, isn't it? I feel a little stupid for not thinking of this myself/earlier, though.

by Frances D'Amato on 1/1/2011 10:50:58 AM:

Dear Roulett Yes doing is always much easier than thinking about the doing. Honor your memories and know that all the images are stored in your brain. Give yourself some meditation time and bring back what you'd like to remember.

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Organizing For The Physically Challenged

by Frances D'Amato

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About Frances:

Frances L. D'Amato, M.A. M.Ed. is an Organizational Psychologist as well as a working artist. She founded the Tree Group in 1981 and has been helping Organizations reduce clutter and streamline systems for more efficient management. About ten years ago she expanded her focus to include individuals who work at home and then individuals who need help decluttering their homes. Frances works with the individual to discover the meaning of clutter and develops a process to allow people to let go and live in a more clutter and stress free environment.

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