34 Weeks of Clean: Cleaning and Organizing our Photographs

It’s hard to believe that we are close to halfway through the 34 Weeks of Clean challenge. Michele, at Family, Faith, and Fridays has been hosting this whole house cleaning challenge since January. I’ve kept up for the most part, and I’ve appreciated the encouragement to clean out some of the places in my home that often get overlooked. If you haven’t joined in yet, I’m sure it isn’t too late. (And there are even prizes involved now- the best part!)

This week’s 34 Weeks of Clean task was to organize and clean out the photos. As it turned out, we had lots of fun with this one as a family as well- although I’m not sure my youngest had as much fun…as you’ll see.

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Since we got our first digital camera- almost ten years ago now- most of our pictures are stored this way. And I’m a little obsessive careful about keeping them organized. I organize them by date and list events that are covered in that picture set. When I first got a smartphone and began snapping pictures all day every day, I began uploading the pictures each week. I upload them to folders labeled by date and content. So, for example, this week’s label was something like “4-3-15-school; Ashlynesbday; art.”

I use the Photo Transfer app to upload the pictures easily without having to connect my phone to the computer. And when I do want to print pictures- for family members, for special occasions, as gifts- I use Shutterfly (and look for online coupons!).

 Our printed photo albums from the days before digital cameras, were stacked haphazardly on the top three shelves of these built in bookcases in our living room. The kids like to pull them down every now and then to look through.

I started by pulling all of them down. I knew that the books and the shelves needed a good dusting.

There was lots of this going on from the girls who said they were “helping me.” While they read through the books, I dusted everything and dusted the shelves well.

Quite a lot of joking went on with my youngest (in the top picture). She’s never let me live down the fact that I have hardly any printed pictures of her. See, she’s the youngest of four children. With child one, I was “doing scrapbooking.” If you’ve ever “done scrapbooking” you know what I mean. I was in it hot and heavy. She was also the first grandchild on one side of the family and the first in ten years on the other side.

I took her regularly to the professional portrait shop. We had a frequent customer card. I made a huge, Creative Memories scrapbook for her. I saved everything. I mean everything. From scraps of her first haircut to a barrette that she pooped out after swallowing it. (I did wash it first!) I saved it all. I wrote down every tooth coming in, every word as she said it, every detail of her life.

With child two, my son, I still had a Creative Memories scrapbook, but it was a good bit smaller. I wrote down a few important events, but there are details missing. We visited the portrait studio less and less because wrangling two children under two into a professional studio while trying to make sure they were clean and not screaming was beginning to wear on me.

With child three, I had scrapped the whole scrapbooking thing. She had a store bought baby book that I stuck some pictures in. We had, maybe, one professional portrait shoot, and I was lucky to have recorded her birth date and weight.

By the time poor Rachel was born- my youngest- I had four children 6 and under. She had no baby book. (In my defense we got our digital camera when she was a few months old.) I think we may have had one family professional portrait visit. When did she say her first word? Your guess is as good as mine.

When she was about four or five, she noticed for the first time that she had no baby book. I was quick to remedy that by letting her pick out digital pictures that she wanted and buying a book and helping her arrange it. But she’ll never let me live it down.

Her words today as she found her brother’s infant cap in his baby book: “A hospital hat. You saved his hat. Did you keep my hat?” And later, when she found her oldest sister’s first haircut: “Hair! You saved her hair?!” Um, yes. Poor Rachel.

Here’s a beautiful example of the scrapbooking I did with child #1.

Child #1 had this lovely thick and detailed scrpabook.
And this is the little “scrapbook” that Kathryne made Rachel back when Rachel was first sad about her lack of pictures. It’s a few scrapbook pages stapled together with some pictures of Rachel that I had printed out. Kathryne even added some “journaling” to the pages.

This page says: “This is a book of when Rachel was born. We had lunchables.”  See there, we do have a scrapbook. And we remembered the important details…like lunchables.

So, when we had finished laughing and dusting, I arranged the books all pretty.

And that was the cleaning and organizing of the photos. Next week, arts and crafts clean out is coming. Maybe Rachel won’t be so traumatized.

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