By Tracie Utter
This is a real question from a website I used to be responsible for: “I took my vacation to clean out my basement store room and need to know what to do with three large boxes of 30 years of hundreds of photos. Help me, please.”
First, do you really want to use vacation time to organize? While many of you may think…Absolutely Not!…you would be surprised to know how many would say…Absolutely!. Being organized is the foundation for our daily routine. Without it, our routine gets wacky. A wacky routine is unsettling & stressful and at some point problems will surface: missed appointments, irritation, rising blood pressure, trouble focusing, and possibly worse.
But hey, I am not saying if you are unorganized, you are going to have to go on blood pressure medicine. I am saying that living unorganized is one piece of a puzzle. The puzzle represents your lifestyle. Too many pieces being out of place causes a lot trouble. So, to many, yes ,organizing is worth taking vacation time. The feeling of control can be priceless.
To those of you who do not understand my rational, organizing probably comes naturally to you or you don’t care. You might want to be more organized but vacation time is not worthy. Vacation time is for vacations. And, more power to you if you can live a happy life without letting disorganization bother you.
Next, decide how important the photos are to you. In other words, are you willing to commit time & money to keeping up with them? No? Then get rid of them, quickly, don’t look back. Years ago, I stopped taking so many pictures deciding to enjoy the moment instead of obsessing over documenting the moment, which organizers can easily do. It was freeing. I did not go cold turkey, still have pictures of my kids growing up but a reasonable amount. The pictures still need to be organized (my kids are still young) but I am okay with that.
If yes (or maybe), then determine how you would like them stored: in digital format, in photo albums, in scrapbooks, in boxes, or the latest method being marketed. Then decide the order you want them stored in: by date, by event, etc. Then decide who will do the organizing and who will get them into the format you select. Once you have made these decisions, you are ready to start. Even if you do not have all decisions made, photos will wait for you (assuming they are protected against disaster…fire, hard drive crashes, theft). When you are ready, they are there for you; no rush.
Replace the word “photo” with your collection: dolls, books, games, paper clips, whatever. If the commitment is worth it to you then yes, you may use your vacation to get organized. Then again, if the circumstances are right, manage your time better so that you don’t have to use vacation. Or, hire an organizer to help.