Mama Says … What are you going to do with all of those photographs?

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I have a few things to blog about today; from photographs to donations to gratitude to freebies. Follow along with me, if you would please.

I came across a great way to tame the photograph monster that lurks in cabinets, drawers, closets, etc. I have always kept up with my photos putting them into photo albums or scrapbooks until the last 3 or 4 years. I am not sure what happened to my organization in this department, but I will say that the photograph monster has taken up 3 shelves in my hall cupboard. They are haphazardly placed. I hope they aren’t getting bent. And believe it or not disorganization and clutter drive me nuts.

     I confess there are dust bunnies lurking around my home and the bookshelves need polishing. Oh, by the way, the kitchen could stand a good mopping, too. But as far as my careful belief that every item has its place does not seem to extend to the pictures; until now. When I look at the mess, it seems so overwhelming. Where do I have unlimited time to go through envelopes and packets of photographs? Organizing the family photos has been a goal I have had for some time. But where to start?

     Thanks to my Organized Homemaker, Deniece Schofield, there is now a plan that sounds very manageable and simple. You are going to be amazed. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will all of the photos be organized all at once. The idea is to start and that is where this simple sorting plan comes in to play. Enough jibber jabber, here’s how.

     The Organized Homemaker says that sorting the photos is the key and she makes it a relative breeze. First collect all the loose photos you can find, wherever they may be stashed; hall closet, sock drawer, under the bed, etc. Once you have all the photographs in one place you are ready to start sorting.

     Figure out how you want the photos organized. Do you intend to give some of the pictures to specific people? Are you going to keep them all and put them in chronological order? What-ever categories you decide on get several file folders and label them accordingly. I have already started scrapbooks for my grandchildren. Daphne has done her own as have I. I need to make one for my son since he’s a manly man and not into girly stuff like scrapbooking. Something that might help is to use a dishpan and put the labeled file folders in the dishpan standing them up. I’ll keep mine sideways.

     Now go through your photos one packet/bunch at a time. By doing this you can decide how much time you have available and when you are available. It shouldn’t take too much time to go through one envelope of photos. You can work at this for 15 minutes or 2 hours. It is up to you. And because it is portable you can sort photos while watching TV, waiting for the baked potatoes to be done, waiting for the laundry timer, etc. When you need to quit just put your dishpan of photos away in a safe place. It’ll be ready for you the next time you have a few minutes.

     As an aside, think how fun it would be to sort photos with your family. You can share stories and reminisce together while deciding what goes where. Granted, it will take more time this way, but won’t it be time well spent? There doesn’t seem to be enough family together time, at least not for me. Wouldn’t the time be well spent bonding with your loved ones and strengthening the circle of love that binds you?

      Once the pictures are sorted by category you may wish to sort each folder by chronological order. But by the time you get to this step, it will be quick. Then you can either make scrapbooks to put them in or if not the crafty kind or don’t have the time, mount them in photo albums. A word of caution: use acid free paper, photo albums, ink, mounting supplies. Acid will eat up your treasured photos. Acid free items are available everywhere. They aren’t just for archivists any more.

     Ready, set, go… and have fun!

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Since we are in the de-clutter mode how about an idea that helps you clear out “stuff” and help another at the same time? There is no expense involved. Go through your closet and shoes assortment. Is there anything in there that you hope to fit someday but someday was 2 years ago? How about that jacket you bought on sale because it was so cute, on sale, and you just had to have it? Now when you see it in your closet you realize you have nothing to go with and it isn’t as cute as it looked on the store dummy? Have you just gotten the latest Air Nikes, but your old shoes are still in pretty good shape? Here’s a suggestion. Find a battered women’s shelter and donate your clothes to them. Sometimes they flee in the middle of the night in just their robes and nightgowns. Do you have a county hospital nearby that treats indigent patients? The staff would love to have clothes and shoes to put on their patients. I work for our country psych hospital and I can tell you we see a lot of homeless people and people of lower income. They come in with one set of clothes or in torn items that wouldn’t even make a good cleaning cloth. We have a closet for men’s and women’s clothes that is there because of generous donations. Think about it, will you? You be rid of excess “stuff” and you’ll feel good helping someone else. Sounds like a win-win to me.

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You know, it has been a long time since I have shared with you all some of the things I am grateful for. I think about my blessings every day, but I haven’t put them down in words of late.

3 things I am grateful for today: 1) The gift of hope. Even when things seem to be topsy-turvy, I believe hope helps us handle whatever we are called on to do or endure; 2) I am grateful that I will be switching to day shift in a couple of weeks from night shift. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the night shift and I think the folks I work with are good people, but this past year finding enough sleep to function has been really hard. I find myself planning when I next get to crawl into bed as I am getting out of bed for work; 3) The invention of the knitting loom which allows me to make beanies for people. I can even do it while watching the little TV that I do watch. I don’t feel so guilty sitting in front of the boob tube when I am doing something creative and constructive with my hands. (Daphne, it is your fault you got me invested in Ravenswood! Bad daughter, bad. 🙂 And of course since I like the show it gets canceled. Who’s bad idea was that? Bad network, bad. 🙂 )

     By the way, we still have a couple of hardcover journals available for jotting down what you are grateful for, as well as whatever crosses your mind. Please let us know if you would be interested in obtaining one. It’s free and we’ll pay the postage. We just want to spread some joy around.
Blog you later!

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