The Visible and Non-Visible Forms of Clutter and a Process for Organizing Your Digital Photos
Did you know it’s National Get Organized Month? Yes indeed…each January we have an opportunity to celebrate the many benefits of being organized and living an organized life.
When I talk to clients about their goals for “getting organized” I explain that their definition of being organized may be different from my definition and from the next person. Instead, it is important to understand what your vision and goals are for your home, life and even at work. Having a vision and goals will help you to accomplish your objectives – and provide you with the feeling of accomplishment, sense of peace and feeling of being in control of life and your surroundings.
A second component of being organized is to recognize that clutter and disorganization comes in two forms: the ‘visible’ and the ‘non-visible.’ I bet you are easily able to conjure up images of the ‘visible’ forms of clutter; however have you ever considered what the ‘non-visible’ forms of clutter are?
Let me give you some ideas of the non-visible forms of clutter and you can see if you can relate to any of these:
- Schedules that are too full for you, your children and your significant other – that keeps you running from one place to the next with no time to catch-up, enjoy life or maintain an organized home.
- Absence of good time-management practices to help facilitate accomplishing every-day tasks so they don’t pile up over time.
- The chaos that ensues when your computer crashes because there is no back-up system in place and you are wondering how you will ever be able to retrieve precious photos, digital music library or financial information – just to name a few?
- How frustrating it can be to know you have a document or piece of information located somewhere on your computer or desktop but can’t put your fingers on it when you need it.
With the holidays just behind us, chances are a lot of photos were taken that need to be preserved and saved for years of enjoyment to come. One all too often complaint I hear from clients is that they have lost their digital photos. While money can certainly replace a stolen or ruined computer, it can’t replace the memories the photos bring.
Here are some ideas to help preserve those memories for the years to come:
- Invest in a backup system. We recommend Mozy. (Note: I am not compensated to promote this service, but it is one of the best off-site, simple back-up systems to use – for just about $50/year).
- Download pictures from an event ASAP – just in case something happens to the camera – the pictures are not lost.
- Establish a designated file for your photos on your computer and create your photo filing structure that you can easily add to. Think about how you want to categorize your pictures and that will help you build this structure. For example, some of your categories may include: vacations, events, birthdays, people, weddings, household inventory and more.
- Create a folder for each vacation, event, wedding, etc…and then select those pictures from your camera to download directly to that folder. Most programs will allow you to create a file name – which you can do so along with a date and then each photo is incrementally increased by 1. This gives a bit more of a descriptive name to each photo, rather than saving the photos with the pre-numbered photo name the camera provides.
- Eliminate photos that are blurry or out-of range, those with closed eyes, or heaven forbid a picture you wouldn’t want someone to see! You may even want to eliminate photos that are very similar and keep those that are the favorites.
Spending a few minutes on this activity each time you download pictures will help keep your photos organized and manageable – so that when you want to create an album or an online slide show, you can quickly navigate to the photos you need for your project.
Here are some of the things I do with my photos over the years to make it easier to create a digital photo book:
- I keep one folder for all of my pictures – called Laura’s Pictures.
- I use descriptive and consistent naming conventions on the files, so I can quickly locate a group of pictures. (See the screen capture of my photo filing system.)
- I make a temporary folder to place “copies” of those pictures I will use to create my digital photo album. For example – Mozart’s Album – Copies. I always include the word “copies” in the folder name, to remind myself that I still have the original digital images in other various folders. This way, I can quickly upload all of the pictures in the temporary file to create my album and then I can delete the temporary folder on my computer – because I have copies of these pictures.
- If I care about the order of the photos when I create the album, I include a number of each picture in the file name before I upload them. This way I can quickly drop and drag photos onto the pages to create my album without having to sort through them in the online photo application I’m using.
By doing these few simple things, it make it much easier for me to quickly create an album and not spend so much time searching for pictures I want to include.
At the end of the year, I like to make albums based on specific events; such as a wedding or highlights of our vacations. This year, in additional to our vacation highlights, I am making a special album of Mozart’s life – from the time he was a puppy, until we had to say “good-bye” in 2010. It’s a fun year-end project that I enjoy spending time on over the holidays. This year, I look forward to making several special wedding albums after my upcoming wedding in the fall.
Wishing you an organized 2011 with many happy memories.
Happy Get Organized Month!
Eliminate Chaos Public Seminars
Back by popular demand - public classes held in the Eliminate Chaos office near Mill Creek, WA
Organizing with Laura - Real Life Strategies and Techniques: February 9, 2011
Organizing Your Workday Using Microsoft Outlook 2007: February 10, 2011
Eliminate Paper Chaos: February 12, 2011
Class sizes are limited - so be sure to register soon to guarantee your space in class.
If you live outside the greater Seattle area, give us a call and see how we can bring one of our programs to you - or complete this quick online form.
We also have Microsoft Outlook How-To DVD's available for purchase from our website. Each of these DVD's is a live Outlook 2007 demonstration by Laura Leist.
E-mail Productivity Solutions for Microsoft Outlook 2007 - $69 for 1.5 hours of instruction
Organizing Your Workday Using Microsoft Outlook 2007 - $79 for 2.25 hours of instruction
FREE Organizing Seminar with Laura Leist at California Closets
Do you have too much chaos in your home? Do you have trouble finding things when you need them? Do you purchase duplicate items because you can't find what you are looking for? If you can answer YES to any of these questions, then you won't want to miss this helpful seminar.
Through this interactive presentation and use of real-life examples, you will learn:
- Discover the three biggest organizing mistakes
- "It's Not About the Stuff(R)"
- Understand the 10-steps you need to know to organize any room in your home
- Simple changes you can apply immediately in your home
Topic: Eliminate Chaos - The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life
Date: January 20, 2011
Place: California Closets Showroom - Bellevue, WA
This seminar will be a great way for you to kick-start your 2011 organizing projects.
Laura Leist, CPO, is the author of the best-selling book; Eliminate Chaos: The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life.
Announcing the Upcoming Release of my latest Book:
Eliminate the Chaos at Work: 25 Techniques to Increase Productivity
In March, my latest book will make its debut!
Eliminate the Chaos at Work is divided into four sections:
- Time Management
- Paper Management
- Electronic Information Management
- Organizing the Stuff
Each chapter contains practical, easy-to-implement advice you can use immediately in your office to increase your productivity and help you be more organized at work.
Each 'technique" is explained in detail and provides suggestions for implementation.
If this is a topic you are interested in, be sure to sign up for our new business newsletter where I will share these techniques over time.
You can also follow me on Twitter (@lauraleist) where I will be tweeting about business related organizing and productivity topics.
Announcing: The New Eliminate Chaos Business Newsletter
Beginning in January 2011 we will publish a quarterly electronic newsletter for those interested in business productivity topics and how to get organized at work.
This newsletter will coincide with the upcoming release of my new book:
Eliminate the Chaos at Work: 25 Techniques to Increase Productivity
If you receive this newsletter and would like to receive our new publication, click to update your profile. You will not automatically receive this publication unless you subscribe or update your profile.
In the News
In December, I was interviewed for an article in the Wall Street Journal for tips on how to get all of your shopping done for the holidays. While the holidays are past, there are some helpful tips you can use next year; such as:
- Giving gifts that disappear
- Giving experience or services
- Paring down your list
Wishing you an organized home and life in 2011,