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  • Lisa Haynes

Chaos to Order: Tips for Organizing Printed Photos

When Bridge Forward teams work with clients to downsize in preparation for a move to a smaller home, printed photos often present a challenge. In many cases, they are scattered in boxes, bins and closets throughout the house, coming in all sorts of odd shapes and sizes. Frequently clients are unsure how to bring order to this treasure-trove of memories.

Based on our client experience, here’s what we recommend:

1. Purchase or order acid-free photo storage boxes. These boxes, also referred to as archival safe, are reasonable priced available through Amazon or craft stores. The acid-free boxes are free from chemicals that speed photo deterioration.

2. Find a spot in your house that you can leave messy for a few days. A dining room table works well and may even provide motivation to get this project done in a few days so that you can have your table back.

3. Gather ALL your photos into this area. Check the garage, attic, drawers, boxes, bins, and anywhere else you might have photos stashed away.

4. Separate special portraits from snapshots so that you can store these separately.

5. Determine time period categories for your snapshot photos. (i.e. middle school, high school, college, early adulthood, after kids). Group your photos into these categories. Don’t worry about trying to get the photos in perfect chronological order. You don’t want to get bogged down or discouraged.

6. While you are sorting, throw away duplicates, pictures that are over or under exposed and any others that are no longer meaningful.

7. Your photo boxes likely arrived with acid-free envelopes. Organize your photos by event (i.e. Yellowstone vacation 2019), label the envelopes and file them in the boxes.

8. Store your newly organized photo boxes away from sunlight in a cool, dry area.

9. If you have some photos that you now would like to arrange in albums, acid-free, three-ring photo sleeves also are available through Amazon or craft stores. It’s easy then to organize the pages in three-ring binders.

10. And, it you have remaining organizational energy, make up a box or photo album for each of your children or other close relative who would enjoy sharing these memories.

A Bridge Forward is a Milwaukee based move management company helping seniors, busy families and singles downsize, pack and move. We do the hard work including basements and garages. Learn more:

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