OK, I’ll admit it. I am not a very organised person. It is not something I am proud of. I am forever reading books on decluttering and getting organised. I buy even more books on the topic, but then they get put somewhere and I can’t find them! Urbandictionary.com defines organised as “a word used to describe people who are too lazy to look for things”. That might just be my favourite quote ever! Seriously, if I could bundle up the time I spend looking for things I could take a nice long holiday.
So you might be surprised to hear that when it comes to my photos, I am very organised. Well, my digital photos that is – won’t discuss my printed photos today, thanks. Last week I wrote a tip on using the “Search Vault” function in Memory Manager, and I have been asked to describe the way I have my photos sorted. So if you will indulge me, here it is. (Disclaimer: This is how I do it. I am not telling you this is how you should do it. If you are happy with your system, go with it. If your digital images are all over the place, you might pick up some useful tips here)
Memory Manager stores images in what it calls a vault. A vault is just a folder in your computer. I know some people have lots of vaults, but to me having all my photos in one Memory Vault is a key component of making MM work for you. The only separate vaults I have are for the two big overseas holidays I have taken in the last 5 years.
- Sort Boxes & Folders
I used to have lots of sort boxes, with folders cascading down 3 or 4 or more levels. I thought it was very clever, and very tidy. Trouble was I could never remember where all the folders were, and I was spending forever clicking on layers of folders trying to find photos. I would end up with whole folders for just a few images. Once I learned about using the Search Vault button, I turfed all my folders and started from scratch. Now I can find any photo in 2-3 clicks, and I can spend more time digi-scrapping, and less time tearing my hair out.
- My Sort Boxes
Everything in my life seems to fit under 6 headings. Not sure what that says about my life!!
I do also have a couple of “loose” folders. Things that don’t quite fit in those headings, but don’t need a sort box of their own. There is one for my Day2Day photos (which mostly are also in other folders, but I wanted to keep them all together). There is a folder called Odds & Ends for photos that just don’t fit anywhere.
Inside each Sort Box are my folders. I will show you just what I have, but obviously this reflects my family and my life, so each person’s would look quite different. (Some headings changed for privacy reasons)
|Weekends Away||New Year’s Eve||My family||Renovations||Major holidays||Cricket|
|At church||Weddings||(individual names)||Current home||Weekends Away||Footy|
|Special Events||Christmas||Siblings||Previous homes||Favourite Places||Swans|
|Family gatherings||Friends||My home town|
- Some explanations
The Family Sort Box is the only one that has a second level of sort boxes. So My Family, Siblings and Grandparents are Sort Boxes. My husband, my 2 sons and I all have our own folders, but the siblings and grandparents are listed by family unit. (Eg my sister & her husband and children are all in one folder). Zoos gets a folder of it’s own because zoo photography is a hobby of mine. The Swans are our favourite footy team (Australian Football), the Footy folder is photos of my son playing footy.
Any given photo will be in at least one but often two or more folders. An outing to the zoo with my sister-in-law, Helen and her boys would go in Zoos, family outings, and in Helen’s family folder. A school Christmas party with my children would go in school, Christmas and in each of my sons’ folders. (Probably not mine because I used to avoid getting my photo taken – but that might be the topic for another blog).
- Guiding Principals
- KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetheart. If my system takes more than a few minutes to set up, it is too complicated and I won’t use it.
- Keep on top of it. Label and folderise (is that a word?) your images as soon as you download them from your camera
- Start with your most recent photos. If your photos are not organised at all, this task may seem overwhelming. But if you start with your current photos, you will never get any further behind, and you can catch up on the older photos as you find time.
- Just do it.