It's been two months now since I declared war on the storage facility formerly known as my garage


The lengthy delay in wrapping up the last few open items in our floor installation project has given me good reasons/excuses for not tackling the mess earlier, but in the past week or so, I've finally leaned hard into finally sorting things out. 
Category 1: Photographs
We've done a thorough job of capturing our family life on film, generating a substantial collection of slides and old school prints. 
As the years rolled along, I stayed on top of organizing the memories fairly well: 
The slides are one hundred percent labeled, organized, and properly stored. The best images have been curated into a series of photo albums, also well labeled and kept on a bookshelf in my family room. 
and this is a big but...
I have never come up with a good plan for dealing with thousands of leftover prints - those that did not make the cut into the photo albums.
Now these are still nice photos, and I've never had the heart to throw them away. All this time, I've been neatly stacking them into black storage boxes and telling myself that some day, I'll come up with a plan for them.

Well. Today is that day.
There on my table are seven of the eight boxes - one was full of our ancestors' family portraits that were patiently minding their own business so I left them well enough alone. My third-born and I have been sorting through the rest of them, one heaping and disorganized handful at a time, to establish a rough chronology.

We sort single photos into groups of related photos - fall and winter holidays of 1991, a hike at Mount Rainier, a backyard pool party with cousins - and then group the stacks by date. 

This is a slow, painstaking process, and one that leads to falling down rabbit holes of delicious memories. We stop each other to look, to remember, to talk about the people and places of our lives, to snap quick photos of the photos and send them off to the other sisters. 
This is a rich, rewarding process and as much as I'm overwhelmed by this mountain of mementos, I know it's time to find these gems a proper home. 

So I've ordered some new photo albums for my collection, and also decided to build albums for each of my daughters. There are more than enough wonderful photos to go around.
I have no illusions that this project will end soon. I fully expect to spend days, if not weeks, getting this grand mess properly sorted. But I can already taste the satisfaction and I'm determined to surf this crazy wave to the shore. 

And while I keep working away, Gracie naps nearby. I'm willing to bet she will be well caught up on her sleep by the time I finish decluttering our family photos. 
* * * * *
Read more about my journey to mindful consumption:
Reading Inspiration My Shopping Ban Rules My Decluttering Rules
The First Test Sometimes It's Okay To Hold On
Setting Myself Free
Armed And Dangerous
A Decluttering Update: Family Photos #MyHomeAndGarden

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