Monday, October 1, 2012

October Challenge: Organize The Digital

I've decided to start setting myself monthly challenges to try to get a little more clean and organized in those aspects of my current life, where organization is lacking. I'll also be encouraging you to join me and share your own experiences and ideas. I am by no means an expert and I can use all the help I can get!!
One of these aspects that needs attacking is completely digital: my photo collection. Ever since I was given my Canon IXUS 80S about 4 years ago for Christmas I have just been snapping away, not thinking that maybe one day I'll run out of hard drive space. Well now, after a few years, that time is nearing which means it's also time to purge. All those blurry photos, 15 copies of the same shot, etc must be dealt with! Immediately!!

The fact that these Monthly Challenges are, well, "monthly" means I won't have to stress about getting them done too quickly. I'll have time to think up a project plan, buy the neccesary supplies (such as boxes or baskets), purge, donate, relocate, label, photograph and post the whole thing with a "little" less hassle (well, that's the plan anyway).

Soooooo back to digital photographs! You may think that dedicating a whole month to digital photos is a bit much, but you have no idea how many photos I have. It's a disgrace I even let it get to this! Haha.

The first step of this organization project is to PLAN. I (and you, if you wish) will have to answer a series of questions before I start: what do I want to achieve? How am I going to achieve it? What do I want it to look like? How much am I willing to spend? Do I need any help? Do I need to buy anything?
Planning also includes surfing the net and other blogs for tips and ideas, to make this process easier. I actually found some great tips over on IHeartOrganizing for renaming folders. 

This is what my Project Plan looks like so far:

What do I want to achieve?

- Mainly, I want to free up space on my external hard drive (where I currently keep all my documents, photos, videos, etc) for future photos.
- I would also like to know where to find each photo when I need it.
- And last, I would like the system to be easy to use, follow and mantain.

I decided I won't be tackling my blog photos this time around, but if this works, I'll try to get to them soon!

How am I going to achieve it? 

- Sorting the photos into folders by year and month, and in each month, by event.
- Backing photos up on CDs by year, in case hard drive crashes.
- Back up photos online (possibly)

How much am I willing to spend? Not a lot, under 10€

What do I need to buy? Blank CDs

Do I need help? I think I'll be fine on this one.

So, once I have my plan, the next thing on the list is to SORT into folders. The truth is that at the moment I have quite a good system, classifying photos by year and then, by month. And in each month, there's a folder for each event. If there's a photo that hasn't been taken at any particular event, it's left outside the folders.

The problem I find is that the months change order alphabetically. That's where a tip I found on IHeartOrganizing comes in handy: putting numbers in front of the months keeps them in order.
I also like to put the year after the month, in case I accidently drag the folder somewhere else, I know where to put it back.

Once the folders have been created and been put into order, it's time to PURGE. Delete, delete, delete!!

I went through every folder and every photo deleting those with the following problems:
- blurry
- have 5 or more copies of it already
- object not in the frame, i.e. pictures of walls, floors, doors that were not intentional
- just doesn't look right

These are the stats: external hard drive's properties before and after going through the 2010 folder, with just September-December 2010:

OK, four months = 300MB. And there are a LOT more folders. Lucky I've got all month!!

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