While working with clients over the years to declutter areas in their homes, we often came across boxes of photos, albums, and all sorts of memorabilia. We had a specific goal for each day, so the general response to organizing memories was, “Let’s do that later.”
In the back of my mind, I wondered, “When will ‘later’ come?”
As I transitioned to becoming a photo organizer, I’ve had many conversations with people who tell me, “Oh, that’s on my list. I need to get my photos organized.” But when? When will life allow you the time and space to sit with boxes and go through them at a pace that cherishes and respects their memories inside?
The sad truth is: there will never be a Right Time.
I believe there are three reasons for this.
First, life keeps going. Even with a multitude of “time-saving conveniences” to conquer our tasks, our days are busier than ever. Sitting down with our memories can seem like a luxury, something to do when everything else has been done.
Second, it’s going to take a lot of time. Every one of those pictures will need to be looked at, and it’s not a project you can complete in one sitting.
Finally, as much as we will enjoy looking back through the years, there are a lot of emotions behind it. Spending time remembering the good, special times can trigger feelings of regret or sadness for those we miss. You may not know exactly what you’ll find when you lift the lid, but you know that feelings will rise to the surface. It’s just plain easier to clean out the fridge or tackle organizing your coat closet.
Will 2021 be your year to get this project started?
Your photos and memories are stuffed away from view. All those smiles and happy times stay hidden until you make a decision to get them out and enjoy them.
Make the decision
OK, seems pretty basic, but most people stop at, “I really need to do that someday.” Making the decision to prioritize your photo project will lead you to take action. This is the reason a client will reach out to me. She made a decision but then needs help getting it done.
My first step with any client is to figure out exactly what we need to explore. Where are your boxes of photos hiding? Where are your old digital devices tucked away? It’s helpful to write out a list of all the containers and devices you need to go through. If it’s reasonable, consolidate them in one area of your home so everything is right there.
Make a plan!
Pacing yourself is key. You don’t know what you’re going to face until you start going through the collection. Figure out when you will block out time to work on your project. Decide on a time limit for how long you will spend with your photos. Is it for an hour every Sunday? Go through a select number of envelopes, albums, or a stack of photos at a time.
Going through your memories is a joy! I often hear that once they get started, people love looking back So enjoy the journey as much as you can. This will make it something to look forward to when you sit down with them again.
So, what do you think? Will 2021 be your year to enjoy your memories?