Friday, February 3, 2012

Tips On How to Preserve Photographs

How and where do you store your photographs?  Rita Norton and Brina Bolanz asked this question at a recent National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Oregon Chapter meeting.  Yes, one of our answers was--shoeboxes--along with photo albums and plastic boxes; storage places mentioned were attics, basements, closets, drawers, and garages.  
       Rita is a training specialist with the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO), and Brina is a photo archivist and personal historian who owns Restored StoriesBoth organize and showcase photographs (in different ways) for a living; their websites provide greater detail about organizing, storing, and preserving paper and digital photographs for future generations to enjoy.
       Rita and Brina shared several tips and a few are listed below to help you get started with your photo preservation project:
Rita Recommends:
1.  Gather all your photographs into one place and sort them into these categories:
  • Photographs that tell a story and are photo-album worthy
  • Photographs you want to keep, but not necessarily share
  • Photographs destined for the trash container as family members are unable to recognize faces and places and because they are unlabeled. 
2.  Scan your photographs into your computer, then use a free program such as Picasa, an image organizer and viewer, for organizing and editing your digital photographs.

3.  Back up your files!  Use one of these:
  • Gold DVDs, purported to last 100-300 years
  • External hard drive
  • Cloud storage: 
          - advertises:  "Access Your Files From Anywhere Anytime, From Any Device"                - advertises:  "Simple. Safe. Secure."
Brina Suggests:
1.  Proper storage is essential to preserve photographs.
  • Light, temperature extremes, water and humidity, and gases given off by chemicals in household products can cause degradation.
  • Use only materials that pass the Photographic Activity Test (P. A. T.), administered by American National Standards Institute (ANSI), rather than products labeled "Acid Free," a term not regulated by the Federal government.  These products may be purchased from photography stores, or online from:  
          - Archival Methods:
          - Gaylord Brothers:
          - Hollinger Metal Edge:
          - University Products:

2.  Label your photographs because they are not useful without identifying information:
  • Use a 4B (soft) graphite pencil for all-paper photos and write on a hard, flat surface, preferably glass, to avoid damaging the front of the photograph.
  • Write names, life dates, location, and event (if known) along the top or bottom edge of the back of the photograph.
  • Write women's maiden names in parentheses.
       Switch from shoebox to computer storage; back up your files and keep a second copy in your safe deposit box to avoid unforeseeable loss of treasured photographs due to damage and destruction by fires and floods.  Write down your parent's and family's genealogy information and label old family photographs...before photographs and memories' fade.  Once our WWII veterans (our parents for some of us)--and other family members pass, so too do the details of their lives.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Quick Steps Move You

       Do you make to-do lists to tidy your home and complete work projects?  I do.  Finishing one job and crossing it off this list inspires me to do another.  Each lined-off task moves me on to the next.   
       Some days...I don't make a list and would rather "shut the door" on an untidy room...and nothing more.  Does that happen to you?  If it does, my friend and fellow organizer Jill Viglione, owner of Embrace Your Space, suggests we:  Take ten tiny actions.  These may be as minute as turning off a light in an unused room; putting away a pot holder in a kitchen drawer; or rinsing off one dirty dish.  Finish one, cross it off your mental list, and then complete another little chore...until you've reached your goal of ten. Taking care of each little job is a reward in itself; and it might inspire you to bring order to an entire room.  If others live with you, invite them to join in the fun and share in the maintenance of your home.
       You can use this method on any space, room, or for paper pileups. Try it! It's fast and it gets you moving!