Sorting Things Out: How to Get Organised Before Starting (Part 3)

I wish I had left all of my sorting of old photos behind when I started with digital scrapbooking, but the reality is that I still have many old photographs I’d like to use in my current projects.  Here is how I might set out my boxes or bins when facing my remaining box of unsorted family and heritage prints:

1.  Current personal photos—the last five or ten years—or even the last six months to a year, if you are a prolific photographer.  Although I’m often tempted to leave sorting behind and start in on the larger heritage and family projects I have planned, I try to work backwards, completing albums using the most recent photos first.  These prints are often the easiest to find, remember details about, and journal in the photo book.  There is still some calling out to my spouse about when we did what, but there are less “I have no idea who this is” or “Did we ever even go there?” comments as we sort.

2.  One pile each for old family photos from each side of the family.  Use a photo-labelling pencil to number photos you have questions about or which feature “mystery” people or settings.  Jot the questions down in a notebook as you go.  This makes a good starting point if and when you are able to track down a family friend or family member to help identify and order the photographs chronologically.

3.  One box for the next project you want to undertake.  Really—only the next one—the one you’ll be starting on as soon as you can turn your back on sorting all these prints!  Limit yourself to one or two of these project boxes since otherwise (if you’re anything like me) you may get distracted by all the possibilities and your sorting session may meander its way into an hour or two of choosing photos for a number of projects you’d one day like to undertake.  Limiting yourself this way also means these photos are top priority to be scanned.  Even if you have to halt your sorting part-way through and put things back (so that a coffee table or part of a room can be used again, for example!) you will have this one pile on hand and no excuses not to get the photos for one specific project scanned so you can start a new photo book project right away.

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