I hope by now you’ve started sorting your boxes from grandma’s attic and have a bit of calm for the chaos. You may not have an office to devote to your project but you should carve out a spot that won’t be disturbed. It’s fine if your Sorting space looks more like this.
Carve out a space to work undisturbed. You don't want to resort pictures after the house helper has his way!
Reminder** this is not the time to reminisce when looking at the photos. Just a quick look to decide what box to sort them into.
It’s your choice whether you want to make the first pass over a small section or the entire 67 boxes. This is just the FIRST pass. I suggest using major categories at first. Some of these could be:
Sort by family
Sort by event
Sort by date
I do suggest if you have pictures and negatives together in those printers envelopes or boxes KEEP THEM TOGETHER. Otherwise I separate loose slides, negatives and photos into their own box.
A note about photo albums. Since a majority of photo albums are already arranged by family or event, I would simply put them aside and concentrate on the loose items.
Now might be a good time to invest in archival storage bins and sleeves. When you finally pack away your originals you want to make sure they are correctly preserved.
When you’re ready, grab a box of sorted photos and make a second pass. It’s a good idea to get several packets of the small sticky notes (link to example) so you can label the photos. You can attach sticky notes to the back of photos without damage. Add as much information as you can using the 4 W questions; who, what, where, when.
This step will take the longest time up front but will make the digitizing more meaningful when you can add this information to the metadata that is attached to the digital image. Remember, anything is achievable when you break it down to smaller steps!
Sort into groups and label each group. Having the boxes labeled will help find the correct grouping. Don’t worry if you put photos into the wrong group or can’t find what group it belongs in. Digital pictures can easily be moved and edited.
Hope you’re having fun going through grandma’s boxes. Next you’ll be making some decisions about how you want to digitize those organized groups of photos.
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