by Jody Al-Saigh, Certified Personal Photo Organizer
A lot of people get daunted or overwhelmed by the process of organizing photos. It can be SCARY!! They don’t know how to get started. They don’t feel like they have the right tools or knowledge. In fact, organizing photos is the same as organizing your basement or garage. Getting your photos organized can protect your valuable memories from damage. YIKES! Properly displaying your photos means you can enjoy them rather than having them stuffed in a dark room or closet. SPOOKY!!
Regular maintenance makes photo organizing less MENACING.
Sometimes clients hire me just to have a regular appointment to keep. If they are paying me they know they don’t want to waste their money and time. Photo organizing is one of those tasks that, for many, can fall by the wayside in our busy lives. You can always put it aside for something “more important.”
But after a while the task gets too big to manage because you’ve put it off for so long. Often the bigger a project gets, the more money you end up throwing at it in order to solve the problem. I recommend setting an appointment with yourself once a month to download photos off your camera, sort them into folders on your computer, or even have them printed.
Watch out for CREEPY photo storage containers.
If you want to protect your photos, you should always find products that are classified “photo-safe” and “acid-free.” Archival storage for your precious memories can come at a price. Looking for sales at your local craft store can be one way to save money. Also, photos should never be stored in a garage or basement (because of temperature fluctuations) or anywhere there might be potential for leaks or floods. Great places for photo storage are in a guest room closet or under beds in sealed containers.
Too many photos can be FORBIDDING.
We all take far more photos than we actually need. The proliferation of smart phones, tablets and digital cameras allow us to take thousands of photos in a lifetime – yet nobody wants to sit and look through thousands of images. Sort and save your key memories, the truly beautiful shots, the true “gems” of your collection. This will keep your photos manageable as you aim to display or store them. As you take photos, be wary of taking too many “background” shots such as landscapes or buildings. Without a person in the photo, a personal connection to an emotion or a time, a photo of a landmark or mountain might as well be a postcard you bought in a gift shop. If you add personal relevance to the image, you will be more likely to save it for generations to come.Jody Al-Saigh has a background in photography and design and earned a B.S. in Photojournalism photography from Syracuse University. She worked for 10 years in print production and graphic design. Jody is a Certified Personal Photo Organizer with the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO). Her background in photography and design led to her specialization in photo and collection organizing.
After my last post on closet organizing, I had a few questions on hangers. Since, this is something that people use EVERY day it is worth investing in the right ones for your unique clothing needs.
STYLE: Always buy hangers that have a bottom cross bar also known as a “suit hanger”. This enables you to easily hang a scarf with a blouse that matches it. Or, you can fold a pair of pants over the cross bar. The crossbar also makes the hanger stronger and more durable.
COLOR: For a unified and coordinated look put everything on BLACK hangers, that way the hangers will always match when you buy new ones. (The white plastic ones tend to yellow.)
FLOCKED: My favorites are the thin flocked hangers also known as “huggable”. They are widely available but Costco wins for bargain prices, 35 for $9.99 (45.5 cm wide).
PLASTIC: The black plastic classic tubular hanger from the Container Store is the best. At 41 cm wide the style will always be consistent and the quality is excellent. Buy them by the case at 27 cents each.
WIRE: “NO wire hangers ever!” Actually, I am not as militant as Joan Crawford and will allow blouses and shirts that are back from the cleaners to stay on wire (that way you know that they are clean). But jackets must be switched ASAP. That bit of cardboard shaped like a wedge will not support a shoulder for very long.
MEN:Classic wooden hangers with a shoulder width of at least 1” are essential for hanging your suit jackets so that they retain their shape.
SLENDER SHOULDERS: Petite women will love the Okla Hangers from Container Store. These hangers are only 42 centimeters across and won’t stretch or pull the fabric the way a wider hanger can. They are not cheap at 3 for $3.99, but your expensive sweaters and work wear will thank you!
WIDER SHOULDERS: For men or plus-size ladies, use wider hangers so that your shirts can hang at the natural shoulder line. I like BrylaneHome Plus Size Hangers available on Amazon ($20 for 20 hangers that are 54 cm wide).
BACKWARD: When re-doing your closet or when your seasonal switch is over there is one last step! Go through and put all the hangers on the rail “backward” so that the tip is facing out. As you wear and wash your clothes then return garments “normally” to the rail. This simple cost-free idea makes it effortless for you to see what you have REALLY been wearing at the end of a season.
Professional Organizers provide ideas, information, products and assistance to help you meet your organizational goals. We also guide, encourage and educate our clients to maintain the solutions or systems that we help put into place. We offer support, focus and direction to help our clients lead more efficient, organized and peaceful lives.
Certification is the professional recognition of organizers who meet specific high standards, and who have proven themselves through an examination. Through extensive practical experience they have demonstrated that they possess the superior knowledge and skills needed in the field. The CPO® program promotes, fosters and safeguards industry standards, practices and ethics. You can trust that a CPO® has the highest attainable professional qualifications and will continue their education in new best practices, and I am proud to have earned this prestigious designation. Visit BCPO for more information.
It is my pleasure to announce that Simplify You is the proud winner of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Best Business Award for Home Based Businesses! I accepted the award at a wonderful event Tuesday, May 20. I am honored to be one of this year’s winners, along with an impressive group of fellow Chamber members.
I am also thrilled to invite you to visit Simply You’s new, improved website, where you can learn more about us, our staff, our services and other resources in the DC area for getting organized for a more calm, peaceful and organized life. Thank you for visiting!
This post initially appeared in the Arlington Chamber of Commerce Blog on May 7, 2014.
Finally, spring is here. Those heavy sweaters and thick wool suits are ready to get switched out. Here are some ideas for getting your closet ready for warmer weather.
DOES IT FIT? Really? Not “when I lose 10 pounds”, but right now? If you have space, you can keep one size on either side of what you are wearing (8, 10 & 12). But I think it is best to store the too-small items, don’t let yourself grow into the next size up! And the same rules apply to men.
DOES IT FLATTER? Does the color of the garment compliment your skin and hair? Or does it wash you out? Is the cut flattering for your body shape? Do you feel good in it? If the answer to any of these questions is not a whole-hearted “YES!” then ask if that item belongs in your wardrobe.
DOES IT PROJECT THE IMAGE I WANT? Different clothes work for different ages, stages, and situations. For example, the bright sequined top and flashy mini skirt that I wore to great applause at my engagement party in 1991 became (with the addition of go-go boots and 60’s eye makeup) my Halloween costume in 2001! Maybe the same could be said of your oversized leather bomber jacket.
WHEN DID I BUY THIS? If the answer starts with a “19” then chances are it is time to retire it. Anything from the last millennium should probably NOT be part of your day-to-day wardrobe! Exceptions: family heirlooms, classic fashion, Chanel couture, and christening and wedding gowns.
WHERE YOU ARE GOING = WHERE IT GOES: I do NOT recommend just putting all similar items together, i.e. the “like with like” method.
HANG: As much of your current clothing as you can, even the casual items. Tops first and then bottoms if you have room. Folded items in drawers get “hidden”; people tend to wear what is on the top layer.
ROLL NOT FOLD: Instead of folding jeans or tee shirts try rolling them and then laying the “logs” side by side in the drawer. By doing this you can see more of what you are storing. If you can’t see it, you won’t wear it!
CLEAN: Before storing any off-season items wash or dry-clean them! Food and sweat stains that do not show now can “mature” during storage months and ruin your clothes.
LONG TERM STORAGE: Use cotton garment bags for off-season hanging clothes, and lidded boxes for folded clothes. Put a linen bag in each storage container with plain white chalk to help absorb moisture. I also love Cedar Fresh, available at Bed Bath & Beyond. It is a natural moth deterrent with pleasant lavender and cedar scents.
SPACE BAGS: Do NOT put clothes you care about in space bags! I have seen too many impossible wrinkles and funny smelling items come out after a season in storage. (And if you have so much that you think you need a space bag, please see EDITING 101 below!)
Every time I organize a closet, I ask my client these four key questions:
Ideally, all the items you need for an occasion should be in one place. Ask yourself “where am I going?” If the answer is “to my job at the law firm” then all the business-appropriate clothing should be stored together. This would include only the long-sleeved shirts you would wear to the office. The others that you would only wear on the weekend belong in your “weekend wear” area. I suggest storing all your business suits and separates together, all the special occasion wear (with the accessories or underwear that match) together, all the fitness wear together, etc. If you’re “going to exercise” then it saves time to have all your workout wear together.
When your “seasonal switch” is over there is one last KEY step to do! Go through and put all the hangers on the rail “backward” so that the tip is facing out. After you wear and wash your clothes, you can then return them to the rail in the “normal” way. This simple cost-free idea makes it effortless for you to see what you’ve REALLY been wearing at the end of a season.
As for items in drawers, I use a small piece of painters tape to tape my garment “logs” closed. The same rules apply for use; wear it, wash it, and anything with tape on it at the end of a season becomes an excellent candidate for donation!
Hope you found these tips helpful!