Day 18: What to Do With All of the Stuff

So, this is it.  For all of the writing on here all month long, what do we do to create tangible memories with all of the bits and pieces and photos we collect? 

Here's the first thing I'll tell you: DELETE IT and TRASH IT! 

No, not all of it.  But take a serious look at what you're saving.  Don't make it into a huge, complicated project that winds up with you spending more time deciding which boxes you'll go out and buy to transfer all of your stuff to a new container.  Go through your current container of memory stuff and get rid of a bunch.  If you have tons of photos on your camera, go through and delete a ton before you ever even upload them to your computer.  

Once you've deleted in your camera, upload your photos.  If you can, sort them into folders by year and month (i.e. Have one big 2013 Photos folder and within that folder, have January 2013, February 2013...etc.) If you can't remember the months, sort them by season within the year.  If you don't have enough to sort that way, CONGRATS! At least sort by year.  Once you upload your photos, delete some more. I *promise* you that unless you plan to do a huge wall display of 5 different facial expressions in the same setting, you don't need the 10 in a row photos you snapped. Pick one or two that you love the most of a series and delete the rest.  

Once you have your photos on your computer and sorted, you're ready to start to do something with them.  Here are a few of my favorites:  

Artifact Uprising: Their moto gets me every time, "Inspired by the disappearing beauty of the tangible."  Books with simple, clean design that's affordable and actually give you enough space for a LOT of photos for the money. While I want to do a Project Life album for this year, my bigger plan for the coming months is to make a hardcover book once a month for the recent years going back to when Mia was born to get all of our family photos in one spot. They even have specifically Instagram-friendly books that'll let you auto-fill and order quickly. 

The Collect AppThe has been such a great reminder to me to make sure I have a daily photo! If I miss a day, I don't sweat it, but it keeps me on my toes when the daily routine just keeps going and I need to pull myself into the present and look around for a little bit of goodness in the world.  Here's my collage from my September saves:
Project Life: Scrap-booking made easy.  I'm not a scrap book person, but the ease of this is just right for me.  All of the pieces flow and work together and you can customize to be as simple or fancy as you like. The pieces of this are my only real Christmas want this year.  I've made books in the past, but I'd love to do this with our photos from this year to make it a bit fun without feeling completely overwhelmed. 

Old-School Albums: Here's the thing.  If it's easy you're after, or if you just don't live life trying to attain Pinterest-worth status in everything you do, it doesn't get much easier than this and it's what I've been doing most often just to do *something.*  Old-school albums with a 50% off coupon at a craft store and every so often I get my favorite photos from the most recent months printed and add them to the album.  I label them (a la 1987) with the year and where we were and what we were doing and call it good.  I know it'll sound crazy, but I just said this in an email to a friend: Believe it or not, I don't have crazy high standards for my own photo printing.  I regularly do the Shutterfly or Snapfish awful quality "free" 101 prints just to have cheap prints.  I'm just always happy to have the photos in a physical form. Even when they're bad, I'm still glad just to have them in my hands! 

Journaling/Art Journaling: It's not entirely fair to just lump these into one category because they're so different, but I wanted to be sure to include them as a different way of documenting your days.  It's not my specialty, hence why I'm not talking about it for 31 days, but I'd be remiss not to mention.  There are some incredible resources for inspiration out there (Jenny is my favorite for art journaling!) and if this is more your style, you should definitely hunt around a bit to find some ideas.  

**Other sources if you'd like to make photo books (I make no guarantees on the quality here, but at least you'll have something!): Blurb, Picaboo, Shutterfly. Make sure you search a site like for a coupon before you order, you can score some great deals! 

p.s. PLEASE label and write on the books you buy. Seriously. There is nothing I love more than the labels and little notes I find on old photographs and I want my kids to see my real handwriting and my real thoughts about what was happening in our lives beyond just the photos and I'd be willing to bet money that yours will love to see the same some day.  

What are your favorite ways to physically document your memories? 

I'm spending 31 days writing and sharing a series about Documenting Your Everyday this month.
 Click here to see all of the posts as they're added and follow along.  

1 comment

  1. Oh, I'm going to have to check out artifact uprising-thanks so much for this!


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