Organize Your Photos: Photos of Belongings

    …a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away.

Ecclesiastes 3:6


As we near the end of the Organizing Your Photos series, it’s time we talk about one of the best things about photos:

Photos can replace bulkier stuff.

Do you have souvenirs from vacations that you’re ready to let go? Take pictures and put them in a vacation album.

Do you have 20 t-shirts from high school that you can’t throw away? Take pictures—or get pictures of you in them—and make a little high school album. (Or, yes, you can make a quilt.)

Do you have several tubs full of your kids’ school projects, papers, and Mother’s Day art? Take pictures, or shrink the art on a copier, and make an album for each child.

Do you have boxes and boxes of belongings that use to belong to a beloved relative?  Take pictures of the items that have deep meaning for you or for them, then place the pictures in an album and write a few sentences about each picture.  Then bless others with those things by giving them away.

To keep these kinds of projects from becoming overwhelming, determine to memorialize only the best of the best. Then think about the organizing and re-organizing you’ll be able to skip. Think about the space you’ll save—the relative size of a photo album compared to several tubs of memories.

Think about how often you might enjoy a photo album compared to how often you’ll look through those tubs. There’s no contest!

Those belongings aren’t blessings if you’re not enjoying them.  They’re cluttering your space with stuff, and cluttering your spirit with frustration or guilt.  You can clear out that physical and spiritual clutter with photos.


To show you what I mean, I’m going to share some examples of my kids’ school albums. They love looking at these (individual albums all about them, what could be better?), and I’m very much looking forward to displaying the albums at their high school graduation parties!

To keep it simple, I include only school-related photos and items. (Sport and activity photos go in an Interest Album.) I include only the best art and the most interesting projects. And I only do three to four pages for each school year, including first day of school photos, school events, field trips, and graduations.

But I do let my creativity flow, so these pages can get pretty complicated (scrapbooking wise). Remember, you can choose the simpler Interest Album or Portrait Album styles!

In order to include the kids’ artwork in their school albums, I’ve included shrunken copies of their drawings. I’ve also taken photos of the artwork itself, and taken photos of the kids holding the artwork:


For bulkier projects, I love to take photos of the kids holding the items (proud smiles are the best!):



In order to include samples of the kids’ writing, I’ve copied and shrunken actual handwriting samples. I’ve also typed out their original stories in an easy-to-read form. I include shrunken versions of the best and most interesting homework papers and projects:


And of course I include the special pictures, like the first day of school and field trips:


You can combine the Photos-of-Belongings idea with an Interest Album as well.  This is a great idea if your family’s particular interest comes with souvenirs and other bulkier items.  For example, my kids have all taken TaeKwonDo.  They have belts, large certificates, and medals aplenty!  I’ve taken photos, made smaller copies of certificates and programs, and replicated belts with ribbon in order to make TaeKwonDo albums:




The key is that I don’t feel the need to keep all these things in a tub… we have them in the albums, and we enjoy looking at them!


Take the Challenge:

What do you have that you could replace with a simple album? Perhaps…

  • Collections you’ve outgrown, or that have outgrown your space?
  • Sentimental items you’re having a hard time letting go?
  • Gifts you no longer need or want?
  • Souvenirs from vacations?
  • Items from your childhood?
  • Awards, degrees, accomplishments, or other items hidden away in memory boxes you’d like to enjoy?

How can you incorporate these things into albums?  This can be a huge step in the decluttering process… or just a way to enjoy what you have even more.

Remember to keep it simple, keep it joyful, and use it to glorify God with thankfulness!


For more about surrendering sentimental items, check out my second book, Building Your House.

Please share these decluttering ideas with other women!  Here’s a pin-friendly image:

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