Geralin Thomas

Article Summary:

How to organize your holiday photographs.

Organize Your Holiday Photos

Organizing seems to be taking the place of dieting as the subject du jour. Walk into any bookstore or turn on the television and it seems the topic is being written, lectured, and chatted about in excess. The good news is that like dieting, organizing can help you lose weight. Tis the season that professional organizers help people shed pounds and pounds - of clutter.

Regardless of which holiday you celebrate - Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah, there will likely be lots of photos taken. We all seem to have dozens (or hundreds) of family photos. Photographs, like other mementos, can be overwhelming. As a pre-holiday "homework" assignment I encourage clients to declutter their photos. One of the easiest ways to do this is to try my pre-holiday exercise routine called "prepare to give and receive."

Prepare to give
Holiday greeting cards are a wonderful tradition but they are expensive and time consuming. One option is to take a family snapshot to a Kodak kiosk - found in drug stores or go at, and create a sticker from the photo. Attach it to a postcard sized piece of card stock (found at craft stores), write a brief message on the back, sign it, stamp it, and mail it. No envelope necessary--saving time and money.

Become Generous
Duplicate photos should be given away. Your 'give-away' system can be as simple and economical as envelopes or Ziplock baggies labeled "Grandmother" or "School*". (In contrast, photos become a lavish gift when presented in a leather photo envelope or inserted into glass bookends. A nice gift for grandparents is to insert a photo into a pre-matted frame and let little ones sign their names on the mat.)

*The school envelope is for that time of the year when your child is "star student" of the week and you need to glue pictures to a poster board and write up interesting tidbits about your child, family, pets, sports, etc.

Prepare to Recieve

Eliminate the Excess
- Get rid of blurry, out of focus photos.

- Do not keep several copies of the exact same subject matter.

- Pick the best and get rid of the rest.

Categorize Your Photos
- This can be done by season (Fall 2004), or by topic (Holidays 2003) (Vacations), (Gracie's Birthdays).

- Write on the back of each photo with a pigma pen; the ink is acid-free, and won't fade. Pigma pens are found at craft stores.

Handle With Care
- Have a place to keep photos; invest in an archival-quality photo box - one that is acid-free and lignin-free. These are sold at scrapbooking stores, craft and hobby shops, or on line at

- Store the box in a cool, dry place - not the basement, attic, or garage.

Be a Show Off
- Scrapbooking is the ultimate act of love for family photos, but if it is too time consuming (or expensive) try displaying photos under tabletop glass, or in frames.

- Transfer photos onto fabric or paper and make a gift for someone (this is cute with pets too).

- Last but not least, place only your favorite photos into albums. After clearing out the "clutter photos," you'll look and feel thinner (or at least your photo collection will)!

Geralin Thomas of METROPOLITAN Organizing is experienced in both residential and home office organizing. She always considers the lifestyle, budget, and personality of each client. Geralin works with homeowners, designers, builders, architects, and businesses creating organized environments and enhancing client's lives. Metropolitan Organizing is located in Cary, NC and can be reached at (919) 380-7718 or via website at: Metropolitan

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