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You Are Here: Home - Newsletters - "Get Organized" - Article

Find Joy In Your Photos Again

Photographs are intended to bring us joy. Instead most people feel anything but joy when it comes to their photographs. Most people feel challenged, FRUSTRATED, and overwhelmed by their photographs! The average person has shoeboxes and dresser drawers full of photos that are a jumbled mess. Many people have years and years' worth of photos that have never even made it out of the film developer's envelopes! Even worse, some people have even stopped taking pictures because they feel so GUILTY about their already out-of-control photo "collection." If you're feeling overwhelmed by your photos, then start by taking these simple steps to find the joy in your photographs once again:

If you were to ask someone to name their most prized possessions, they would likely tell you that their photographs and keepsakes were most important. And yet, most people are unknowingly DAMAGING these very items that they consider most valuable! How about you? Are you damaging your precious photographs? If you have any photographs in shoeboxes, magnetic albums, manila folders, plastic baggies or standard film developing envelopes, then your answer is yes! If you have ever written on the back of your photographs with a ballpoint pen, then your answer is yes!

That is because all of these items expose your photographs to the three biggest hazards: ACID, LIGNIN, and PVC. All three will damage photographs! Whenever you purchase photo albums and scrapbooking supplies, be sure that they are free of these materials. You also need to protect your photographs from hazards in the environment, such as excessive heat, light and humidity. For ultimate safety, you should store your photo collection in a windowless closet away from water pipes and heat sources.

This may seem like extra work, but practicing photo safety should the first step in any of your photo organizing projects. The greatest organizing systems are useless if your photographs are DESTROYED in the process!

It's hard to organize your photographs if you don't know where they are! Having everything in one place will bring an immediate sense of peace, and it will make it EASIER for your family to enjoy your precious photographs. There's a security benefit, too! If the unthinkable happens and you need to evacuate your house, you will be able to quickly GATHER your treasured items.

If you're like most people, then just thinking about your massive photo collection is enough to DISCOURAGE you from taking action. You see years and years' worth of photos and think you could never get them all organized, so why bother? Get rid of that "all or nothing" mentality!

Set MINI-GOALS so that you can feel a sense of accomplishment. Focusing on one theme (such as holiday or vacation photos) will be a lot more manageable than trying to tackle the entire photo collection at one time. Don't sabotage yourself by thinking you need to set aside an entire day for your organizing. Take advantage of small BLOCKS of time -- even 15 minutes -- and take some action. Small progress is still progress!

Photographs hold so much meaning and significance for us, and most of us consider our photographs to be among our most prized possessions. Because of this, many of us would never dream of throwing away a photograph. It sounds dreadful doesn't it? But guess what? You don't have to keep EVERY picture! Don't be afraid to sift through your collection and free yourself of those photographs that

For starters, release anything that is dark, blurry, or otherwise UNATTRACTIVE. If you insist upon keeping every photograph, then your truly special photographs will be lost in the mass of other photographs. Keep those photos that INSPIRE you, and release the rest. Purging your photographs is one simple thing you can do to dramatically simplify your organizing.

We realize that you probably have oodles and oodles of older photographs that need organizing. So, you may think it odd that we're focusing on handling just-developed pictures. The simple reason for that is that you need to feel a sense of achievement, and this will give you an easy starting point. It may take you a while to go back and organize your older photographs, but at the very least you'll feel in control of your NEW pictures from here on out.

The system that you create should be SIMPLE, so that you'll use it every time. It could be as easy as having a basket that new photos go in and setting aside time once a week to put them into albums. Make a nice cup of tea, put on some music, and enjoy this as "me" time. Make sure to keep plenty of SUPPLIES (album or scrapbook pages, adhesive corners, embellishments) on hand and close by to encourage you to get the job done.

Your photographs will hold more meaning, for you and your loved ones, if they know the STORY behind them. Be sure to take the time to capture those magical moments in life. You know, those times in life when something wonderful happens and everything seems right with the world . . . or you're amazed by your child's words of wisdom. Capture those special moments as they happen by WRITING down a description of the event, a quote, or other memories related to each picture. You can either make notes on the photo page or on the back of the picture -- just be sure to use an archival quality pen that won't damage your pictures.

As you begin to get your photographs in order, you may be interested in discovering the joy of SCRAPBOOKING! Scrapbooking is the art of safely and creatively showcasing photos and memorabilia in albums using archival, acid-free albums and products. Pages are embellished with stickers, artwork, and journaling -- a great way to record those memories. Scrapbooking is truly a magical activity with immeasurable benefits. It allows you to record your family stories and reflect on life's greatest treasures.


Christine Sutton and her business partner, Tracey DuBois, have helped countless people organize, protect, and enjoy their precious photographs. After producing the acclaimed "Treasure Your Memories" video -- which is available with their other photo organizing products directly through -- Chris and Tracey co-founded, a website dedicated to helping people find the joy in their photos once again.

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