© 2014 photobookgirl

Behind the Scenes – Cleaning Out My Closets



Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? At my good friend’s party this past New Year’s Eve, she came up with a clever photo booth idea. Each of us had a chance to write our new year’s resolutions on a mini chalkboard and took our picture with it. Some friends had a hard time figuring out what to write. I had no problem responding – “My 2014 resolution is to: “declutter & simplify”.new year's resolution 2014

So now that more than half the year is gone (can you believe it’s almost August?), I’m taking stock of my progress. I have been working on simplifying and decluttering all year – today I actually cleaned out a junk drawer that I transported “junk and all” from our old home. I literally dumped the contents of that drawer into a small paper bag and threw the bag into a box. We moved with just 3 weeks until my due date (I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone!) and towards the end of my pregnancy, there just wasn’t time to go through everything, so I just started dumping things into bags and boxes. Many of our things stayed packed away while we adjusted to having a new baby in the house. Fast forward three years, and I finally cleaned out that junk drawer! Yea – every small victory over clutter should be celebrated!

I also got rid of about 6 garbage bags full of clothes – some I donated and a good portion I gave to my niece who can wear that size I haven’t been able to fit into in years! (Now that my closet is more open, I can go out and buy more clothes – right?)

Another big project I’ve been working on is getting rid of miscellaneous papers, receipts and scraps of memorabilia I’ve been holding onto. To that end, I bought a color desktop scanner with a feeder. I did some research and ended up getting the Fujitsu Scan Snap ix500. I have more than one flatbed scanner, but flatbeds don’t lend themselves to quickly scanning documents – the feeder is the key. You know how crucial it is to minimize any barriers to completing a tedious task. This scanner has been awesome in helping me clean off my desk. It’s really fast and pretty compact and scans double-sided (ooh fancy!). Now I have a folder nearby where I put anything that I want to scan.

The scanner is also part of my plan to get rid of all my old photo albums. I’m sure many of you have at least a few slip-in photo albums and perhaps some magnetic albums with those sticky pages. If you do, then you know how heavy and bulky those suckers are! I have a whole closet full of old albums. IMG_9551While I want to keep the photos, I don’t want to keep the bulk. Plus, none of those photos are backed up like my digital ones are. (For my epic series on how to backup your photos, check this out.) So, I’m getting rid of nearly all of my old photo albums and putting the photos into archival photo boxes. Each standard box can fit about 5 albums worth of photos, so that’s a space saver in itself.

IMG_9550Photo Book GirlUsing the scanner’s feeder, I can scan a stack of photos without having to lay them all out on the glass. I can probably do some tweaking to the old pics that haven’t aged well, but I won’t do too much to them however cause I still like old photos to look old. Then after scanning them all, I will be all set to start making photo books of the oldies but goodies. These photo books will make nice presents for family who may have not seen these photos in a long time. My photo books are about 1/4 the size of my old albums and so lightweight when compared to the old curmudgeons. I am so excited to reclaim this closet space! As you can see, there’s a lot of new space that has opened up. I haven’t had time to rearrange the shelves, but you get the idea.

For more tips on scanning your old photos, check out this link. I’m hoping to have this scanning done by the end of the year. Just in time for a new resolution – though I have this feeling that my resolution will be the same next year!




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  1. Nat
    Posted July 28, 2014 at 12:19 pm | #

    Thanks for sharing which scanner you bought. I’ll be curious how well it works out, because I’d like to do the same thing with my old pictures. Thanks for all the great posts!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 11, 2014 at 11:47 pm | #

      Hi Nat,

      So far so good! I’ve scanned a few photos so far and given that the resolution of the photos is not great to start with, I’m sure it will do the job nicely and I don’t have to lay out all those photos one by one! The time savings is what appeals to me. I’ll do an update when I get to that part of my organizing! 🙂

  2. Nada
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 8:39 am | #

    Hi I have a biiiiggg dilemma and hoping you could help me.I am a little confused between doing yearly photobooks vs vacation photobooks. The great part about doing a yearly photobook is that all the events of that year are recorded in the same photobook. So fast forward 15 years, I have a documented catalog of each year. The disadvantage is that there is no “feel” of the photobook. For eg: I do a lot of trekking -vacations in the Himalayas. So clubbing the gorgeous Mt. Everest photos with some kiddies bday parties and Grandmas 90th bday party seems like such a pooper. Also fast forward 15 years, I might not even remember which year I traveled where, so making albums as per vacation seems a wise idea. Otherwise I might have to oull out 15 albums before I find the album where I have my Mount Kilimanjaro climb photos. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks 🙂

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 13, 2014 at 12:17 am | #

      Hi Nada,

      For larger vacations, I just do a single vacation book. I’m actually not a “year in review” photo book maker – I tend to have them for specific events. So even if I do a year in review type book where I pull photos from the past year, it’s usually all geared towards the person that I’m making the book for. If I were you I’d do a separate vacation book for each vacation and then do a separate year in review book that may contain a few spreads of the trip so that it gets a “place marker” in the year. 🙂

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