A new year, a fresh start. If you fall anywhere into the category of slightly-to-insanely-disorganized (I tend to lean toward the latter end of the scale), you are probably viewing this new year as a chance to repent and mend your ways! Instead of coming to the end of yet another year with a whole-lotta-nothing in my journal and a whole-lotta-mess in the photo organizing department I am making a plan to keep up with recording my life – and gosh darn it I’ll stick to it, I will!
So, instead of creating lofty goals for myself that often end in sighs and disappointment, I’ve set out a few easy (and fun!) things to do in order to document my year – and you can do it too!
Step 1. Admitting defeat. What with three children, a blog, piles of laundry attacking my bed, crafting and time perusing online fabric stores I know that by 9pm my journal will not be retrieved from the bedside table to be filled with thoughts and feelings from the day. Days, weeks – lets face it – months go by without pen touching paper, and then well, it’s just all too hard to start writing, isn’t it?
How about making one day a week your ‘journal day’ – if you pick Sundays, then carve out some time for yourself (even 10 minutes is good!) to flop on your bed and spontaneously write. Maybe the whole family could have quiet time or journal/drawing time to allow this to happen for you.
A family journal is also a great way to connect as a family and document life! If you have younger children a large blank book is great to be left out on the coffee table with crayons to be drawn in, or handy for you to reach and quickly write down the funny things being said or done in your home. For older children or teenagers you could leave the book by the phone or in the bathroom for doodling and writing messages to each other. You will cherish this in years to come, I am sure!
My 2010 journal had to be nice and simple, so I decided on a miniature daily journal. I’ve never kept a daily journal before (I tend to start out good then lose steam!). Think what joy you would have thumbing through small pages from a year in your ancestors life, seeing what little thing they chose to write about their day. It was something I had to do! So with children happily coloring beside me, I whipped up this little “Today I…” book that contains one blank line for each day this year – ready to be filled with some ditty from the day (“today I accidentally ran over my daughters bike – oops!” true story.).
Here’s how you can make a teeny today book of your own:
1. Cut 26 sheets of lined paper to the size you want your journal to be – I chose to just have one line for each day of the week.
2. Stamp or write M,T,W,T,F,S,S all ready for you to fill in the blanks!
3. Cut some thick cardstock to size for front and back covers.
4. Cover with something to ensure sturdiness as you carry this baby with you throughout the year. I covered each piece (front + back) with funky packing tape, and added rub-ons for a title.
5. Punch holes through covers and pages and secure with twine/ribbon etc.
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As for photo organization – I’m putting a reminder on my calendar for the last day of each month to spend some time on my photos!
I normally upload my photos from my card reader to the computer once or twice a week – but often leave it at that (shameful, I know!). My new plan is to delete blurry/unusable photos as I upload them and sort them into folders before the number of pictures on my computer becomes too overwhelming!
To be one step ahead of yourself if you struggle like I do – go ahead and create 12 folders on your computer – one for each month, so that you can slide your pictures across as you upload them. Folders can also be set up for each member of the family to pop their photos in also – as well as holidays, travel and more. When you have time create folders within the folders (such as ‘Ivy’s Birthday’, ‘Trip to the zoo’ etc).
On the last day of the month (a reminder on my calendar is needed!) I plan to go through the photos from that month – organizing them into the folders if I haven’t already, and choose some for printing. I’ll then back up the photos from that month onto disc, and every 3 months onto the external hard-drive. To go the extra-safe way in backing up your photos you may want to look into an online backup service such as Jungle or Mobile Me.
It’s fun to print favorite photos regularly to have out on display – cover your fridge with them, or make a simple display that can easily be changed up every few months like this:
All you need are 2 small nails, some twine and wooden clothespins – easy!
With a clean start I’m feeling excited at the possibility of staying on top of things this year – keeping it simple and having fun while I do it! Who knows, maybe I’ll even get around to organizing my pictures and writing some thoughts from the past few crazy years too…
Good luck and much love to you this new year!