13 years from when I graduated from high school to when I met Adam - the entire decade of my 20s plus a little extra. I cannot believe how many pictures I shot, and printed, and put in albums in those 13 years. I have 14 albums (I think), not including the hundreds of pictures in binder photo sleeves from my mission. I apparently saved Every. Single. Picture. that I took in those 13 years, including ones that are very dark, very distant and you can barely see the faces in them, out of focus ... you name it, it's in there. I'm dumbfounded at the amount of money all of this represents - 6 bucks for a roll of film, $8-12 for developing (depending on if I used 1-hour printing) ... and that was just for 24 shots. I have thousands of pictures.
And now I'm going to throw an awful lot of them in the recycle bin.
I recently found the Small Notebook blog, which I love. And it had these two posts this past week about dealing with a plethora of pictures, both digital and print.
Essential Tool to Organize Your Digital Photos
What to do with Boxes of Photos
And those posts got me brave enough to crack open the boxes that have been sitting under the stairs since my parents were here in May. One album from 1999-2000 was dated for a 9-month span and had over 500 pictures in it. Just that ONE album!!! Having the band Colors come to Oregon was really fun and a key moment in my life because it affected how I thought about myself ... but I don't need 50 pictures of that weekend. Really, I don't. A dozen will be just fine.
Sooooo ... I'm tackling the photo albums. I should take a picture of the pile of albums before I get too far into this project (I've gone through 2 of them), and then another of how many albums I have left when I get done rearranging everything. And a shot (which I will not print and stick in an album) of the pile of pictures that is getting dumped. So far, I'm just stacking them off to the side for the fun of seeing (and counting - about 250 so far) how many I'm getting rid of. Then I let SM attack them with her little scissors to cut me out of some of the shots to practice her cutting.
I'm doing pretty well at keeping the digital photos under control and I rarely print anything anymore (much to Adam's annoyance - the picture he has in his office of RG is when she was 18 months old and she's 3 now). But whoa. These boxes of albums. Crazy.
To be honest, this purging stems in part from this past spring, when I helped clean the house of an elderly couple when the husband died. The children all live out West in Idaho and Utah, and took the wife to live with one of them. Someone came out here and got their personal paperwork like geneology and journals and things like that, and the rest of the house was just left as is. The family asked someone in the ward to clean it out, dispose of everything, and get it ready to sell. I don't know what all happened with it because Jenna was born a couple of weeks later ... but I cleaned out ONE bathroom with FIVE full-size garbage bags. It was ... indescribable. And not in a good way.
So with my albums, I'm thinking - "What are my kids going to want to see when I'm dead? And what do I really truly want to haul all around the country as we move over the next 20-30 years?" And the answer is - Not nearly this much.
And now I will go through another album.