Organizing, as simple as cake

I love Kristin’s analogy. I’m going to try this the next time I feel overwhelmed. (It might even be tomorrow.)DOABLE Sidebar O


Organize Professionally

Some of my clients have a lot of difficulty visualizing how they are going to finish organizing because they feel overwhelmed and defeated.  I say let them eat cake!

Have you ever tried to bake a cake without a recipe?  Maybe those geniuses on Top Chef

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From Paper Piles to Digital Files

This was a great class at RootsTech 2013 about using technology to help organize all your family history stuff. Valerie Elkins has some really good ideas to not only help you get organized but to stay organized.

Ok, so I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but this video show the whole second day of RootsTech. The class I want to share starts at 6 hours and 30 minutes.

Here is a link for Valerie’s Class.

If anybody knows how to fix this problem please let me know.DOABLE Sidebar O

Organizing Family Papers

Here is a simple list of the important parts of organizing family papers (and other things too). This comes from Minnesota History Society. You can find the original info here.

Step One: Gather them together

  • Bring together those items that you want to keep permanently. Keep them together in a box or a file, and clearly label them as family papers and mementos.

Step Two: Identify them

  • Remember that this information is what will make the materials meaningful to younger family members and future generations.
  • Fully identify writers and recipients of letters. Either write this information (inpencil) on each letter, or write a separate note to accompany a group of letters.
  • Write onto the back of each photograph (in soft lead pencil) as much information as is known about it – who; where; date; event or other circumstance.
  • Medals and other memorabilia: write a note identifying the recipient, occasion, and date, and keep it with the object.
  • Write down other relevant information about the persons or events, particularly birth and death dates, parents’ and other family names, civilian or military service units or employment, dates and places of service, memorable experiences.

Step Three: Organize them

  • The goal is to keep them from becoming scattered or mis-identified in the future, and to help others follow what was happening at the time.
  • There are many options, depending on the number and types of documents. They may include: keep all of each person’s letters and other papers together; keep a single chronological run of all materials; keep one group of only letters, and another group of other materials; keep separate groups of each type of material.
  • If photos or other items were received with a letter, keep them with that letter.

Step Four: Put them in protective enclosures

  • The goals: protect them from wear and tear, from light and dust, from becoming scattered or lost, and from losing their identity.
  • Use good-quality boxes, file folders, and other supplies. Archival-quality (acid-free) is ideal but not essential.
  • Unfold folded items; remove letters from envelopes; place them in file folders.
  • Remove pins, brads, and metal paper clips.
  • Label each folder or other enclosure with an identification of its contents.
  • Use separate folders or boxes for diaries and other volumes, or medals and other artifacts; do not put them in a folder together with letters or photographs.
  • For some items – such as medals and other artifacts, groups of related photographs or post cards, books in poor condition – consider the use of specialty enclosures that are available from archival suppliers.

Step Five: Store them safely

  • The entire group of materials should have its own “home,” whether in a box or a file drawer.
  • Avoid extremes of temperature and humidity; keep them clean; protect them from mold and insects.DOABLE Sidebar O


Organize Family History Photos & Documents into Binders

Treasures in Chaos

Today I came across a good article on Squidoo about organizing documents and photos, so I’ll share the highlights with you. You can find the original article here.

The basic idea is to use three ring binders and sheet protectors. Then instead of sifting through boxes, everything is protected and easy to see.

  1. Sort papers and documents into family groups.
  2. Decide what to keep. (If in doubt, keep it)
  3. Sort loosely into chronological order.
  4. Place into protective sleeves.
  5. Put sleeves into binders (fixing order if necessary).
  6. Label binder and put it on a shelf.

Some hints from the article:

  • Buy sheet protectors in boxes of 100
  • Make sure they are acid free, archival, top-loading
  • Buy high quality binders that will last

My mom has done something like this when she was doing family histories. I think it is important to keep it simple and get it organized. Don’t be tempted do make it fancy. If you want to go back later you can.

What have you tried in organizing you papers, documents and photos?DOABLE Sidebar O