Best Books On Organizing

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I love books.

 

I always have. I am a constant reader. I love nothing better than to curl up with a good book and my dog. I’m a simple woman.

I thought now would be a good time to share a small list of the organizing books that I turn to again and again. A few might be surprising…a personal finance book? Take a look at my list and brainstorm how one of these might help you get a little more organized. I’d love to get the titles of organizing books that you find helpful…or not helpful.

It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff
By Peter Walsh
Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul
By Ruth Soukup
The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life
By Francine Jay
The Automatic Millionaire, Expanded and Updated: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich
By David Bach
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
By Marie Kondo
AmazonAmazonAmazonAmazonAmazon
Why Read This Book? Why Read This Book? Why Read This Book? Why Read This Book? Why Read This Book?
Peter Walsh is brilliant at exposing the link between your stuff and your emotions.
This is especially important when organizing photos.
While not specifically a photo organizing book, the concepts he discusses are crucial to achieving peaceful organization.
What I love about this book is the discussion about living your life as your real self vs our idealized self. In photo organizing it is so easy to chuck any photo you don't like of yourself...but sometimes that's your best self.This book is one of my foundational books. For me minimalism is not about throwing everything away. Minimalism is about letting go of what does not matter to make space for what does.You might be surprised to find a personal finance book on my list of my favorite organizing books...but follow the money. If your finances are disorganized so is everything else. If you only read one book on this list...make it this one.What I love about this book is the idea that the objects in your house effect you emotionally. I was shocked when I did the exercise touching objects how clear my yes/no response was. To this day, I do not miss one thing I said "no" to.
I do the same with my photos...keep/toss. My heart knows the answer

Five Tips For Year-End Photo Clean Up

I don’t know about you, but I cannot believe we are chugging toward the end of the year. Before things get really crazy with the holidays, family visits, and all that goes on at the tail-end of the year. I wanted to take a minute to offer some quick tips on your year-end photo clean up.

I’m hoping you took lots of photos this year. I’m hoping you took my advice and tagged every photo. I hoping your photo library is organized and backed-up.

I’m hoping you did it because I sure as heck didn’t.

 

That’s the thing about being an organized person vs. a non-organized person.

It’s not that O.p. are always on it. God forbid. It’s that we do it. Sometimes at the last-minute. But by gosh we get it done.

 

For those of us who were busy, swamped, lazy, forgot, meant to do it, sounded like a good idea, thought about it, wanted to do it….yadda yadda yadda. Here is your five-step year-end list for cleaning up your photos and getting ready for a fresh start in the New Year:

  1. Set-up a folder on your computer with just the year. I want to believe you did this in January…but again I just did it a month ago…so no judgment if this is just getting done now.
  2. Get all your photos off your phones/SD cards/cameras. That’s right round-up those photos. Get your kid’s photo. Your spouse’s. All the family photos that were taken during the year. Download your family photos to the file you set up in step one.
  3. Delete/Edit. Go through your pictures and delete any of the not great ones. Fuzzy? Dark? Who is this? Why’d I take that photo? All reasons to delete. Also, take a minute to rotate, crop, edit. Last in this step. Rename your photos. Make sure that you have date/location/event in the title.
  4. Organize your photos by date. Your digital device should have embedded date/time/location information into the meta-data of the photo. If you have photos that are missing that information, now is the time to add it. This is also a great time to add those tags.
  5. Back it up. Now that your pictures are beautiful and organized let’s back up those beauties. If you don’t have a preferred method, read my post from last week for some ideas. But please do something.

That’s it. Your photos are organized.

 

I’m hoping that you take lots of holiday photos to add to your year-end library. It’s nice to know that you can move into the holidays with at least one less task swimming in the back of your brain. In the next few weeks, we’ll talk about how to use this newly organized photo file to make great gifts, holiday cards, and year-end photo books.

Photo Organizing for Teenage Girls

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If you are lucky enough to have a teenage girl in your life…you know she has a LOT of photos.

 

Today I want to talk about photo organizing for teens. As many of you know, young people today take more photos in an hour than past generations took in a lifetime. This is due to easy access to digital cameras and the huge role social media takes in our world.

While many of the concepts in organizing for teens are the same as organizing adult digital photos, there are a few unique quirks. Teenagers are much more technologically savvy than most of us, they take WAY more photos, they have a robust social media presence, and they are more vulnerable to digital exploitation and bullying.

I recently heard a mother lamenting that her daughter’s computer had crashed because of the HUGE amount of digital photos saved to the hard-drive. I’m guessing many of you can relate. The mother believed the daughter had over 20,000 pictures saved. That’s a lot. Digital photo files are HUGE. They eat up your space.

 

One solution is to make sure that you have a regular, scheduled digital copies deletion. What many of us forget, not just teens is that unless you are diligent every time you throw a filter on a photo or do a little editing the computer saves multiple copies of that image. When you consider how many photos the average teenage girl takes and then add all the edited photos on top…it can add up fast.

After making sure that all the duplicates are deleted, the next step is to get your photos off your teen’s hard-drive. That can be either through a family cloud sharing service or an external hard-drive. I use both. I use Forever for my cloud service. I’ve never found a better cloud service. Forever is top of the line in data protection, ease of use, and affordability. That being said, I also use an external hard-drive.    I back up my entire computer on a bi-monthly basis and keep my hard-drive in my fireproof safe. Both are great. What’s important is that you have an easy to use system…that your teen will use.

 

While your teenage girl is undoubtedly more tech-savvy than any adult you know, she may need some guidance on what types of photos she saves and publishes. A lot of teen photo organizing is acting as an advisor about what photos to save.

The world we live in is consumed with social media and branding. If it’s not on Facebook it didn’t happen. If you don’t have 1,000 followers on Instagram you’re doing something wrong. This emphasis on having a “hot brand” adds a lot of pressure to young people, especially young women to depict themselves on social media as more mature than they are. It also makes them vulnerable to people who would exploit their naiveté.

One of the hardest, most frustrating conversations you will ever have in your life is trying to convince a teenage girl that she’s not as socially savvy as she thinks she is.

 

I’d rather poke myself with a sharp stick but sometimes it needs to be done. My advice is to stick with the concept of branding.

If you focus on asking her if her photo library, especially the photos she posts, are the best reflection of her brand you will get much further than asking if she wants to send her father to an early grave….and never get into college…and end up flipping burgers…and…and…and….

Your daughter understands branding, she has a brand….you may have never thought of it but you have a brand. We all do. Mine is photo organizer, wife, beagle lover, family adorer and that brand is reflected on my Instagram account (@thehodgepodgegirl). You won’t see a lot of off-brand photos of me….no bikini pictures.

When you discuss with your teenager what she wants her brand to be, emphasize that this isn’t about being a phony or having a false image. It’s not about trying to be what you think will be popular. It’s about showcasing your true self. You want people to come away from looking at your photo library feeling like they know you a little better.

I’ve put together a Photo Organizing for Teens bundle that will help you to guide your teenage girl through organizing her own photo library.

[purchase_link id=”2121″ style=”button” color=”gray” text=”Add To Cart”]

 

As you work with her…think about your digital photos and social media presence…Are you on brand?

The Right Way To Organize Photos

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What is the right way to organize photos?

 

I know many people who move through life with ease get stuck on what to do with their family photos. It’s like there is a well-believed myth that there is a “right” way to organize photos and if you didn’t learn it, or instinctively know it, you’re somehow a lesser human.

Your mom, sister, best friend, mother-in-law tried to teach you, tell you, show you the right way to do it but you could just never get it right.

You hired someone to organize your photos and she told you how you “should” do it but alas you could never keep up with the system.

It all feels like a huge mess that you’ll just never get the gist of.

 

For the record: I’m a life-long organizer, a Certified Photo Organizer, and Queen of the bossy pants. Let me set you straight…ahem….THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY!!!

And anyone who tells you how you “should” do it is full of malarkey and you have my permission to say so.

Here’s the truth. There are many, many ways you could organize your photos. Some of the ways are easier, some more complicated but none of them is the way you SHOULD do it. If it doesn’t work with your photos, your life, your circumstance, the way you think, or the way you live it will NEVER work for you. It just won’t. Accept that and move on to what does work for you.

When I tell you how to organize your photos what I’m giving you is a framework, based on what we know now, about the best way to sort and protect your photos. These are industry norms. They work for most people and their photo organizing needs. A consistent system, a central location, and a reliable/flexible platform are really the basis of all photo organizing.

Does that mean it will work for you? No. I’d say it’s a good place to start.

 

All that being said, don’t be afraid to listen to advice. My goal main goal is to protect your photos for generations. I will always tell my clients to digitize their photos and store them in a cloud service. There are a lot of people who do not want to do that. They want to touch their photos, hold their photo albums, and think the cloud is a data mining conspiracy theory. Who is right?

All good organization starts with your organizing needs and incorporates your individual circumstances. Never be afraid to say what won’t work for you. There is no right way but there are better/easier ways. In the end, the right organizing system is the one you feel most comfortable with and only you can know that.

 

3 Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Photos

Has the spring cleaning bug hit you yet? Do you find yourself whistling as you reach for the toolbox? Are you spending more time perusing the cleaning supply aisles at target?

I like to think of myself as a minimalist so I’m always trying to reduce reduce reduce!!!

 

The result of this hobby is that both my husband and my dog get a little nervous when I start walking around the house with a plastic garbage bag and a look of determination. I promised this year that I wouldn’t “TOUCH THEIR STUFF!” OKAYYYYY….SHEESH…

That leaves me with more energy/ideas for helping you. How’s the photo library looking? Did you take lots and lots of photos over the holidays? New Years? And super fun ski vacations? Gosh, I hope so.

Now you may be experiencing a sense of feeling overwhelmed. You know you took some great shots of the kids but where the heck are they?

I’ve got a plan. It’s easy…three steps…and you’re done.

 

Let’s start with digital:

 

  1. Pick up your phone and get deleting. Don’t over think here. Just delete. A lot. Anything that doesn’t make you smile. Make sure you are deleting from the main photo library. Not off the cloud or in albums. Those are just copies and when they reappear you’ll be super confused. Been there.
  1. Put those beauties in albums. Hopefully, you’ve taken my previous advice and set up a framework for your digital photos (YEAR>CATEGORY>EVENT) If you haven’t it looks like this (2017>Ski Trips>Snowmass Trip). Don’t forget to use those tags (see reference list below).
  1. Get sharing! However, you share your photos make it a habit to just do it! Have a great photo of your girlfriend…share it with her! EVERYONE loves to get a photo of him or her with a note/text/email. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Just reach out.

Let’s get physical:

 

  1. Ready, set, go! Give yourself a time-limit (1-hour max), set a timer and see how many photos you can put in the shred pile. A few common themes: out of focus photos, too dark photos, oddly framed or… Who is this? Why soooo many pictures of this? I like to use a discard box as opposed to a bag, much easier to chuck stuff into.
  1. Research. Hop on google and do a little research of who scans photos in your area. The future is here and it’s digital. If you still want to keep your original print photos…right on. However….you want your photos digital. They are safer, easier to share, and SO much easier to store.
  1. Tag your it! Most photos taken digitally now are pre-packed with lots of information about the photo (location, date, weather, face-recognition, etc), photos we’ve scanned aren’t so lucky. They are a fresh, clean slate. If you don’t add any info about who, what, where, when it will be MUCH harder to find and use your photos when they are swooped up into the cloud. Do yourself a HUGE favor and update your scanned photos before you upload them to your storage service. If you need help deciding on keywords…here’s a reference list
Click to open printable

That’s it! Your photos are sparking! Now you’re ready for all the wonderful adventures of summer.

The Hodgepodge Girl: Five Tips For Overcoming Photo Organizing Stress

 

Let’s talk about the emotional side of photo organizing. I know…sounds scary but I’ve got some ideas to help avoid the feelings of dread and resentment that many of you have mentioned as your top feelings associated with organizing your family’s photos.

 

First, I want to make clear that organizing your photos is NOT like organizing your spice drawer.

I’ve never met anyone brought to tears by an old can of baking soda but a photo of you and grandma in her kitchen with flour on your cheeks…waterworks. Wait…I’m not the only one…right?

Photos are packed with emotion. That’s the point. That’s what makes them wonderful. I would argue that organizing your family photos is good for your mental health. That sorting through those emotions and memories is as liberating as years of therapy. Keep in mind I’m not a psychologist…But I have seen people experience profound joy by rediscovering forgotten memories and self-acceptance by embracing the goofy little child they once were…

When I talk to people about organizing their photos the most common emotion I run across are a combination of obligation and resentment. We feel obligated to do something with these slips of memories and deeply resentful that the task has landed on our plate. Why us? Why not cousin Emily? Because she’s a flake who doesn’t deserve the family photos…she can’t even…

Sound familiar? I’ve heard it. Families are complicated. We all have black sheep, flakes, nincompoops, and knuckleheads.

 

Here are five tips to help you embrace the experience of organizing your photos and also create an atmosphere of self-care:

 

  1. The set-up is everything.
    • Block out 4 hours of personal time. Be unavailable to everyone. This is your time.
    • Gather all the albums, shoeboxes, and random envelopes that you want to organize.
    • Get a BIG glass of water, treats, and a box of tissues.
    • Make sure you have acid-free boxes and photo albums for your organized photos.
  2. You are going to make a mess.
    • The biggest mistake that I see people make when they try to organize photos is they try to keep everything tidy through the whole process. That’s very hard. Allow yourself to make a huge mess. It’s easier and way more fun.
  3. You don’t have to save everything.
    • If you don’t like a photo of yourself…ditch it.
    • If you don’t know who is in a photo…ditch it.
    • If the photo is damaged, unflattering, or a subject you could care less about…ditch it. If you think someone else in the family would appreciate the picture…send it to them in a card “thought you’d like this!”  Boom…you’re a hero and the dang thing is OUT of your life.
  4. There is NO right way to organize photos.
    • A lot of people get stuck at this part. They want to do it “right” but don’t know what that means…so they get overwhelmed and don’t do anything.
    • How you organize your photos is your business. You can organize them by color if that makes you happy. You can organize them by emotion. You can organize them by location. You can alphabetize them if you’d like. They just need to make sense to you.
    • I like to organize by year and then season. I know boring.  It’s just easier for me. If you organize your photos by color will you send me a picture…cuz that sounds awesome!
  5. Keep them safe.
    • Now that you’ve sorted, tossed, and reviewed your photos…you know how special they are. Please make a plan to keep them safe.
    • My top tip…always…is to get them digitized. You can do it yourself if you have a scanner and a lot of patience/time or you can have them done professionally. I recommend having them done professionally. It’s relatively inexpensive and a HUGE time saver.
    • Once they are digitized back them up on your cloud or use a service like Forever. Avoid using photo printing services like shutter fly or snap fish as your back up. One, you lose your digital copyrights to the photos and two you cannot be sure how long they will be around.

Organizing your photos is an emotional process. I know.

 

When I organized my own family’s photos I had multiple “good” cries. It’s part of the process and it’s healing. Rather than run from the emotion, embrace it. The fact that you care is a great sign. It means the family picked the right person to be responsible; you were the hero they were waiting for…

Preserving Your Love Story

Sit back a let me tell you a real love story.

This story has it all: an interesting heroine, a dashing complicated hero, heartbreak, betrayal, redemption. It’s the love story of my great-grandparents, Edwin and Leonore, know as Ed & Leo. I never had a chance to meet them, they died long before I was born. Yet, I know their love story today better than many of my closet friends. I was lucky to discover an old photo album. I am here because of this love story. I know them because of old photographs and an even older scrapbook.

   The story begins with a dashing, witty young man who comes home from WWI a hero. That he lived when the survival rate of his unit was only 20% is a miracle in itself. A fellow soldier had a sister, Leonore, who he introduced to his friend.

  Leonore was dashing and witty herself. She worked during the war at a spark plug plant in Michigan and in her free-time was an outstanding photographer and poet…keep in mind this is 1918. She was quite the bohemian.

   They fell in love.

They had three beautiful children.        

They were not meant to last.

The hero was too damaged by the war to make a good husband. They divorced.Leonore died young of a broken heart. Ed died alone. His children never knowing him. Their love story was lost to the past.

Then one day, their great-granddaughter started organizing the family photo albums….and they were rediscovered.

They were reintroduced to a family who had lost them. They were loved and accepted, despite flaws and errors in judgment. A family wound was healed.

Your photos, your story matters. The only reason this story has an ending of redemption is that I was lucky enough to organize my family photos. I was lucky that I had a chance to know my past. These photos, these stories are my family’s legacy. I CHERISH them.

 

When you organize and preserve your photos you are creating a priceless gift for your family. This story cannot be told by anyone else. It must be told by you. Your old print pictures hiding in your attic, closet, shoeboxes are the foundation of your family. They tell amazing tales.They tell stories of heroes, heartbreaks, and amazing bohemian women.

For your family, please take the time to create your own love story book. Gather all of your photos that tell the unique and wonderful story of your romance. Then share those stories with your children and grandchildren. That love story is the beginning of your family. Do not let your unique history disappear among old takeout menus and junk mail. Take the time today to preserve your family’s legacy. Future generations will thank you for investing in their heritage.

I want to end with a poem that was written in the back of my great grandmother’s family photo album. I don’t know if she was thinking of Ed when she penned the words. I hope so. He listed himself as married long after they divorced and even after Leonore passed away. Their love story was dashing and complicated just like they were.

Save your photos, preserve your memories. A young girl in the distant future may come to cherish you and your story.

Preserve Your Love Story

 

 

Four Tips To Declutter and Organize Your Digital Photos

 

december-2016-facebook-photo-statistic
December 2016 Facebook Statistic

The above quote is from Facebook. They are a photo storage giant. 90 billion photos. Can you imagine?!

 

Here’s the thing…I bet you can. I bet you feel like you have nine billion photos on your phone alone. You probably have another 60 in the cloud…whatever that means? And 160 billion on your hard drive. Let’s face it…we have a lot of digital photos. A LOT. I find the Facebook statistic fascinating because, that’s a lot of photos, that statistic is JUST Facebook. It doesn’t even include Instagram (which Facebook owns) or Twitter or holy cow…Snapchat!! We are drowning in digital photos. I know I am. By my last count, I’m at 30,000. That’s unique images. Not to mention why must iPhoto do that weird face thing? Why?! Does anyone like it? I will say it does give me a chuckle when it picks out my dog’s face or I have one of the Mona Lisa who it thinks is a friend of mine…awesome.

Here are five tips that will help you to organize and declutter your part of the 200 million photos before they get uploaded to Facebook.

 

This first step is crucial. You have to get all your photos into one place. Please do not say “Hodgepodge Girl…they are ALL on my phone!” I will save my rant about leaving photos on your phone for another day. For now, download them to whatever photo service you use: iPhoto, Google photo, Amazon, Window’s photo gallery, Forever, Lightroom

 

 

  1. Delete Duplicates. I like to use Photo Sweeper for macs and Duplicate Photo Fixer Pro for PCs. DPFP is capable of doing both…I just prefer PS.
  2. Now that you have a good idea of how many original photos you have…you need to start deleting. This is usually the hardest part for people because keeping the image seems easier than deleting. It’s not. I’ve   even had clients who had no idea who people in the photo were…but were sure they should keep it. Why?! I might figure it out someday. Ahem…no you won’t.  No one is so bored they peruse old digital photos to see if they can remember people they forgot. It’s not going to happen. Delete.
  3. Your photo collection is now so clean and shiny. It’s time to start tagging. This is a step that is often overlooked because…it’s tedious. We all love the instant gratification of taking a photo, some even download them, but NO ONE wants to tag…before it lands on social media. The thing is tagging…before you upload to your Facebook is VERY, VERY important for you. It makes it really easy to find pictures later on if you should want to use them for gifts or slideshows or just quick trip down memory lane. I recommend tagging the following info: YEAR, EVENT, PERSON (2016, Park City Ski Trip, Danny) That way you can do really quick searches to pull up a great range of photos. Some fun ideas would be a year in review slideshow, a calendar for Danny, a photo album of ski trips. So get tagging!
  4. Now that you have your digital photo collection organized, decluttered, tagged it’s time to get it off your hard drive. There are a lot of great cloud services. I use Forever and I love it. I have an app on my phone and iPad so I can have all my photos handy and they don’t take up any of my storage space. I can make quick gifts and have them shipped. I can even share photo albums with my friends and family. Not to mention they are safe from technical glitches (dropping my phone) that can happen when your photos aren’t backed up.

I hope this has given you some great ideas on how to move digitally clutter free into the New Year. Happy 2017!!

 

5 Best Organizing Products For Your Photos

*This post may contain affiliate or referral links. Read more about this in our disclosure policy.

 

It’s crunch time. Not only are a few of the major holidays right around the corner we are fast approaching the end of the year. That’s right kids!! It’s time for New Year’s Resolutions!!! Here is a list of the 5 best products for organizing your photos.

 

top-new-years-resolutions
Courtesy of Statistic Brain

Honestly, I find the resolutions on this list kinda wonderful. I want all these things (except the quit smoking…I want my husband to quit smoking cigars but I don’t think you can make resolutions for others…can you?) It’s a great list! All of them totally achievable with a little bit of work and a lot of support.

 

Today’s post is going to center on the #2 goal “get organized” but hopefully it will help you to spend less (when you know what you have you don’t need more), learn something exciting, help others, spend more time with family, and (my favorite) enjoy life to the fullest.

To access more information on each item, click the image to be redirected.

  1.  Acid-Free Photo Storage Boxes

These are THE only way to store print photos that you are not using regularly. They protect your print photos from UV damage, bending, and are easy to store. Each box holds 1,100 4×6 photographs. That’s a lot of storage.

2.Acid-Free Photo Albums

These are for your very best/frequently viewed photos. The photos that deserve to be on the coffee table. These albums are beautiful and should be for your A-level photos. Switching to acid-free albums is a must to save and protect your family print photographs.

3.16GB Picture Keeper

This is a fantastic way to back up and protect your digital photos without committing to a cloud service. Works with both PC and Macs and could not be simpler to use. My only “extra” tip here would be to store this in your waterproof/fireproof safe. That way your images are triple protected from loss.

4.Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner

This little scanner is amazing. It runs on a battery which makes it easy to use anywhere. The resolution of the pictures scanned is as good as my super fancy scanner. This is perfect for when you come across a print photo that you want to save and share. I’d be lost without mine.

5.10.4 Inch Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame with Email

This is not your everyday digital photo frame. Not only does it show your digital photos in high-resolution, you, your friends, and family can email photos directly to the frame itself. You can also sync your iPhone directly to the device and skip your computer entirely.

These five items are my absolute must for photo organization. They each provide a layer of safety and preservation for your photos while also being easy to use. I am confident that with these few items you can completely reorganize and protect your family photos.

 

Hodgepodge Girl’s Seven Steps To Creating Unique Photo Books

*This post may contain affiliate or referral links. Read more about this in our disclosure statement. 

We all want to give gifts that mean something. I know this time of year it can get amazingly frustrating when the time is short, money is shorter, and the lines could not get any longer. I’m here to suggest a better gift than yet another gift card. Make your giftee a photo book!

“Well, that’s great Hodgepodge Girl…who. has. the. time. And…it sounds expensive and hard.”

Well…now that you mentioned it my bedraggled (don’t you love that word!) and overwhelmed holiday elf….it is not. Here are my seven easy steps to creating a gift that has meaning, will be loved, and won’t break the bank.

**The featured picture of this post is from one of the annual road trips I take with my brother, Wade. I’ll use this as my example and Wade as my giftee.

Step #1     Give your book a theme (a theme song is even better). For my book I’m choosing “Road Trippin” and my theme song is “On the road again…” By Mr. Willie Nelson

Step #2     Create a folder/album on your computer with the title of your photo book….example “Road Trippin”

Step #3     Look through all your photos and just pull any that you feel should show up in a book about road trips. Do not over think this part. It doesn’t matter if the person you’re giving the gift to was originally associated with the picture, as long as it references the theme. If I had an interesting picture of a gas pump, old car, or tire, I would add it to the folder. Next, you want to add pictures of the person you’re giving the gift to and pictures of you with the person. Get creative. Just keep adding photos. The more to choose from the better.

Some I would add to this book:

funphotobooksatthehodgepodgegirl
Route 66
hodgepodgegirl
Our road trippin parents

The pictures are connected by the theme of my brother, myself, and the road.

 

Step #4     Now that you’ve added a lot of pictures to your folder, go through and edit/delete. What I look for in keepers are: photos that fit the theme, are interesting/funny and emphasize the connection I want to share with the other person.

This isn’t a slam book so keep embarrassing pictures to a minimum and highlight your loved one having fun. A picture of my brother drooling all over while he sleeps would make me laugh but probably not him. This is a great time to break out those fantastic filters also. Get old-timey!

Step #5     Create that book! Since I moved all my photos to Forever for storage I’ve used them for everything. I’ve been very happy with the service. It’s a fantastic way to create unique photo books and even calendars. The other service I recommend is Shutterfly. They make it really easy to create personalized gifts. Both of these services have templates that you pick, upload the photos, and bam! Your all done. You can add quotes, song lyrics, your own comments as to why this theme is special.

As for price…a really nice photo book should run you about $15-40. I think that’s a great price for a unique holiday gift.

Step #6     Review! Review! Review! Take the time to go through your file/album and make sure that you didn’t miss any gems. I speak from experience when I’ve given the gift only to realize that I forgot the best picture! My advice is to double-check, triple-check.

Step #7     Give that present! And sit back in gift giving heaven. You created a unique, thoughtful gift. You were creative and generous with your time. You strengthen your connection with someone you care about. And you didn’t break the bank. All in all, I call photo books the perfect present.

thumb_family-who-hike-together_1024-1
Wade & I at the north rim of THE grand canyon…unforgettable!