Photography is one of the best ways to reflect back on our lives. Be prepared to feel an onslaught of emotions, and always accept these feelings with an open heart and mind.
While you’re sorting photos, either chronologically or by theme, you’ll want to consider curating the photos as you go. Categorizing photos will keep sorting manageable and you’ll feel less overwhelmed. Books of Life is a member of the Association of Professional Photo Organizers and their founder created a simple method named the “ABCs”. Here how it works:
Spend no more than 2-3 seconds looking at a photo and decide if it’s either an A, B or C photo...
A is for Album: These pictures are the best of the best, the ones that are “book worthy”. These images and memories are the ones that you would mourn if you lost. These are the photos that you’ll want to digitize, backup, share and display. You can separate them from the rest in a binder or add a sticky note to identify them.
B is for Box: These are the photos that support your “A” photos. They are the ones that you’re not ready to part with, but want to have access to at some point in the future. These photos should be archived for safekeeping in plastic sleeves or in a photo box.
C is for Can: Yes, you CAN repurpose these pictures or throw them in the trash can! Your collection is likely filled with doubles, triples, and some really unusable photos! If your photo doesn’t fall into one of the previous categories, then it’s a “C” photo. We encourage you to go with your gut. It’s ok to fill that garbage can!
Click here to check out this blog post from APPO (Association of Personal Photo Organizers) comparing organizing your photos chronologically versus by theme.
As you organize and sort your photos, you may come across old scrapbooks, magnetic albums, or our fav, the infamous puffy quilted album. Unfortunately, these albums are likely accelerating the deterioration of your photos. Our recommendation is to remove your photos from the albums and place them in archival plastic sleeves or photo boxes. The amount of extra closet and shelf space freed up will shock you! If they are stuck, leave them in the album, but be sure to have Books of Life scan those pages so you have a backup.
Don’t get discouraged if this process takes longer than anticipated. As Cathi Nelson, an expert photo organizer, nicely sums up, “You didn’t live and take all of those photos in a few days, and you won’t be able to sort through, identify, and organize them in a few days either. This is your life history, so it’s worth taking your time and committing to the process.” Be patient, trust the workflow, and you’ll be ready to archive, scan and feature photos and memorabilia into custom books in no time.
Photo Organizing Made Easy: Going from Overwhelmed to Overjoyed
by Cathi Nelson