2017 Resolutions Update: Photo Organization

At the beginning of 2017, I outlined 3 New Year’s resolutions for myself. Resolution #1 was to keep a bullet journal. I ended up not staying with that format, but rather converting to a traditional planner and it has been great! I’ve been using my planner steadily since June. Resolution #3 was to send more physical cards this year to my family for birthdays, anniversaries and such. That flat out didn’t happen!

But, for Resolution #2 I have been much more successful, though slow going. My goal was to better organize my family photos. I haven’t finished, but I wanted to share my progress.

I now have all my pictures in one location in our apartment. They consist of three groupings.

a) photo albums I previously compiled. some of them are photo albums I put together during Kaleya’s first couple of years of life. Another is a collection of random family photos over a span of about 20 years.

my pre-existing albums


open album with dates and captions

b) binders I started this year.  This was my major goal – to organize my pictures in binders by year. I decided to do 3 groupings – Taneya’s Family (pictures of my side of the family and my childhood); Kalonji’s Family (pictures of his side of the family and his childhood), and Our Family (photos from the time I met Kalonji and of our nuclear family with our 5 kids).  Within each binder, I have dividers for decades (e.g., 1950s and earlier, 1960s-1970s, 1980s, 1990s). Within each year range, I have not tried to put the pictures in exact chronological order. The goal was just to get them in the right year span. Besides, there are many pictures for which I do not know the exact year. Once I get into the 2000s, I know my dividers will have to represent smaller year ranges because I tend to have increasing numbers of photos.

my new photo binders – grouped by family (my family, Kalonji’s family, and our joint nuclear family)
page excerpt – start of 1950s and earlier section

c) loose pictures. Yes, I still have loose pictures that I need to get into binders. But, I will continue to work on it!

loose pictures

So far, I am seeing great benefit from the organization. I can more easily find specific photos I am looking for as I know generally when the photo was taken. And, of course, I know which side of the family I should look, whether it be mine, Kalonji’s, or our nuclear family.

I have a few remaining considerations:

  • My earlier set of photo albums – do I deconstruct them and fit them into my new organization schema? I am not sure — I will hold off making a decision until I finish organizing all the loose pictures
  • I initially thought I would print out pictures from years which I wasn’t doing that. Do I want to really do that? That would make for a LOT of pictures! I’ve taken digital scrapbooking back up, so would I be best served by selectively scrapbooking events from these years? (namely 2006-2016). I am very close to finishing a 2017 Family Yearbook in a scrapbook format, so I already know I will not en masse print out pictures for 2017. I will be selective.
  • Once everything is organized, I’ll next consider how to properly store them in archival quality format. I’m on a mission to establish my own personal family archive and the materials I have them in now will not do long term. But, they will do for now.

I’ll continue my organization quest throughout the 2018 year. Having undergone this process for my physical photo collection, it has also impacted my genealogy digital organization. I’ll blog about that on my genealogy blog – stay tuned!