Thursday, August 12, 2010

postheadericon Sorting All Your Photos in a Day or Two.

Actually, it was more like 4 boxes including albums, candy boxes full of photos, and just piles of photos stuffed into the boxes.

They aren't mine but I offered to sort them.  His mother is one of two surviving siblings from 8 and these photos come from her mother, her oldest sister, and bachelor brother, all gone, now.  Since she is the oldest survivor, the boxes wound up in her garage.  She didn't even know they had been put there.
Monumental task!  Well, no, it wasn't.  Years ago when I started teaching a few classes for a paper scrapping store in Michigan, and another in Florida, I developed a method of diving into tasks just like this.  Those who signed up for the class were invited to bring in ALL of their unsorted photos.  Most of the time that involved paper bags and shoeboxes of old photos.  Also on the list were a box  of sandwich baggies, those tiny sticky notes and a photo safe pen.

The baggies are NOT photo safe and we only used them for temporary storage.  Now I use photosafe envelopes from Organized Photos .

Ready?  Here is the first step...find a huge table or other BIG work surface and dump all the photos into a big pile and turn every one face down.  Do not look at them!  Once you start looking you will be lost to reminiscing.

Now, pick up a handful, keep the backs toward you, tap them on each side and start sorting by size.  You will have many piles...square format, rectangular, tiny, huge, and many sizes between.  Each gets its own pile.  Keep at this until ALL of those photos are sorted.

Put each pile in a separate baggie.  Be picky...if there is even a LITTLE difference in size, separate into more piles.  Put the baggies in a box or something and bring out one baggie full at a time.  (This may be on another day and spread through a week or so.)

NO...you aren't to start looking at the fronts yet.  Spread this group out, still face down.  Look at the edges and corners.  Separate out the deckle edge photos and make a new pile.  Sort out the rounded-corner ones and make another pile. 

Now check out the printers' marks on the backs.  I put the numbered ones in order by the printed numbers on the back.  Handwritten numbered ones should go together, again, sorted by numbers.  Those must be REALLY old!  You may have only one from one batch number, but you may also have several that are from the same roll.  Grab some more baggies.  Put the ones with matching numbers in order and put into a baggie.  Same with the deckle-edge photos with numbers, and the cropped-corner ones.  Even roller-marks can indicate a batch that belongs together.

Look for dates, or other hand written notes on the back of a photo or two from a particular batch.  That should date the others.  If the photos match in size, shape, type, and printer, they probably are all from the same camera nearly the same time...thus from a particular family.

NOW turn this batch of photos over.  If even ONE was dated you may be able to date the rest.  Names on the back?  The same.  You may find a few where they are all dressed in the same clothes as the dated photo.  Same day, probably so go ahead and date those, too.  If you can identify some of the people, you may now be able to say the photos ALL belong to that family.  They are probably all from the same camera and photo printer (drug store, probably).

Take a sticky note and write the date, family, other information on the BACK of the sticky note and stick it to the INSIDE of the baggie.  If you are using photo-safe envelopes from Organized Photos you will have place to write dates, names, families, other info on the outside of the envelope.

Organize the finished baggies by date and as soon a possible get the photos into a photo-safe environment.  Again...I use envelopes and boxes specifically for this purpose.  You can also order negative envelopes from OrganizedPhotos.com.   I keep my negatives in a totally different place than my prints.  If yours are altogether, you will probably want to organize the negatives at the same time.

Now, get sorting.  Maybe you will find a treasure like I did!!!

5 comments:

Tora said...

This seems to be a lot of work but not boring work:) I really love this great idea you came up with:)

Judy said...

LL, this is wonderful. Have printed it off and plan to tackle this pile of old photos next week. Thanks for getting it written up so quickly.

jan said...

Wow, great idea LL! I have a box of old photos so I'll give this a try too. Thanks so much!

Diginan said...

Wonderful tips, LL, will definitely have to sort mine like this really soon. You are so organised, thank you:) LIZ aka MaryElizabeth@dsp

sammawow said...

I am going to try it this way! I have boxes downstairs that need sorting. Although I do have to organize my office first...

About Me

Forty Years of Scrapping

Long before it was popular, I was trying to decorate arrangements of photos and sentimental items. Here I want to share some of my personal history and more important, some ideas I have gleaned from more than 40 years of scrapping.

lauraloub

lauraloub
A granny with a camera and a computer

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