Tuesday, July 29, 2008

K.I.S.S: Step Three of Four

Announcements at the end.  Important... especially if you are from, live near, or have enough frequent flier miles to get yourself to Pennsylvania.

So little to talk about, so much time.  That's the way it goes with a keep sake system as easy as mine.  I'd talk about equipment, but there isn't any.  No fancy quilling paper ($5.49 per package); paper cutters ($48.99); paper punch sets ($26.99); storage systems ($24.99); stencils and templates ($2.99 each); or scrap booking organizers (129.99).  So... other than the plastic storage box from target ($6.99), the plastic folder ($.59 cents), and a couple other items, there's no equipment to speak of.

Got any good jokes?  We've got some time to kill.  Here's one...

A bear walks into a bar and says, "I want a bourbon and................. coke."
The bartender asks "what's with the huge pause?"
The bear says, "I've had them all my life."

It's my delivery.  It's off.  I'll stick with preserving keepsakes for the time being.  

A quick review of yesterday.  To begin the Claudia Beeny approach to "keepsaking" you'll need one plastic container and one plastic envelope for each year you intend to collect items.  That is Step #1 and Step #2.  This system, by the way, works not just for your kids.  It also works for grand kids, newly married couples, or individuals who are committed to leaving behind a modest, yet organized, paper trail (which your family will undoubtedly appreciate!).

Today we address the issue of photographs.  Let me preface this by saying I know there are avid picture-takers in the audience.  Naturally there's a continuum of how people deal with photographs - with one end of the extreme being my neighbor who has over 40,000 photographs on her computer (and backed up in multiple locations) and others who can barely scrape together the two childhood photos with crinkled edges, found stuck at the bottom of a cigar box in your family's guest room.  I fall somewhere in the middle.

Just to earn a little bit of credibility, let me share that my nickname during college was "Captain Kodak" AND.... when I came home from college, no matter the holiday, I would spend hours at my kitchen table cutting and pasting them into photo albums.  Now that you know, I am not a cold, heartless, thoughtless person, with no sense of sentimentality... I'll keep going. 

To complete Step #3 you will need a $1.00 photo album typically containing enough sleeves to hold 60 pictures.  Don't be an over achiever and think if a $1.00 album holding 60 pictures is good, then a $10.00 album holding 200 pictures must be even better.  False.  The $1.00 album is what you need.  It will hold plenty of pictures for our purposes and it will fit nicely (even when chock full of 60 pictures) in your .59 cent plastic folder.... which in turn will go in your $6.99 plastic tub.

Here's the trick.  Twelve months... 365 days... 60 picture sleeves.  That, my friends, is an average of a picture every 6.1 days.  That's plenty.  Really.  I know you think you need 47 pictures of your child in last year's Halloween costume, but really, ten years from now... heck, even three years from now, you will be perfectly satisfied with the one or two CHOICE pictures you decided to keep.  This is the beauty of a digital camera.  Embrace it.  I have a good friend and valued colleague who once made this very wise comment.  He said, "The average person takes far too few pictures, but keeps far too many pictures."  Darn.  I wish it was I who said that, because it is SO true.  We might like - and feel secure - with the 78 pictures we took of Christmas morning, but in the end it is really three or four of those pictures that perfectly encapsulates that year's festivities.

So here's what I do.  One 60 sleeve photo album per child, each with a label bearing his name and year on the cover.  I take pictures regularly.  Once a week I print the pictures I want and they go immediately into the boys' $1.00 albums.  Example... I take a picture of the three boys wrestling on the living room floor.  I think, "oohh, that's cute.  They'll like having that when they're older."  Print three copies.  One for each album.  Take a picture of Jack getting his first hair cut.  While Matthew and Ricky love him, they don't want or need that picture.  Print one copy.  In it goes to Jack's album.  No, not two copies... one for Jack and one for me 'cause, "I might want it one day."  One copy.  If I really want to see it, I'll visit his $1.00 album. 

When I find a picture I really like, I calculate in my head... one for each of the boy's albums; one for Grandma and Grandpa New York; one for Grandma and Grandpa Beeny; one for Dawn who I haven't written in a while; and on the list goes.  I only print pictures when I know EXACTLY where they are going to go (a family member, a frame, or the $1.00 album).  Few to no exceptions.  This eliminates those stacks of random pictures we consider too sacrilege to throw away, but for which we have no real need or plan.   

A few final notes.  I keep small white mailing labels in my drawer.  Before I put the photos in their $1.00 albums, I try to jot a note or two including date, names of people in the pic, etc....  That way, when the boys look at the pictures years from now, they will know who all the kids were huddled around their birthday cake ready to pounce.  Second.  I'm archaic.  To get prints of my pictures, I still take my digital card, get in the car, drive to Cosco, walk up to the machine, put my card in, select my pictures, and then do my shopping while they are being developed (ALWAYS in less than an hour).  There are readers looming the site at this very moment who use a much more streamlined and efficient process.  I will let them share their methods in the comment section.

This is doable.... even if your child is nine years old and you're thinking... "too late for me."  Wrong.  When it comes to preserving childhood memories... ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING.  Start now.  Do it until he or she is 18 and still you're presenting them with nine well organized years!  What a priceless gift.

Two announcements:  
  • Taste of USA:  Cheryl and I are trying to begin making plans.  In order to do so, we need those of you trying to attend to weigh in on a few things.  First, we cannot hold the event on Saturday, September 20.  Instead we are looking at September 6, or September 13.  Ideally the 6th.  Please let us know which weekend works best for you.  Second item related to our Taste of USA trip.  Viewers from THIRTY-FOUR cities have frequented the site in the last month, coming from all over the state.  We are considering trying to decide between a central PA location (ie. Lewisburg) or a major city (ie. Philly).  Tell us what you think.
  • Highlowaha Projects:  As you may know from last week... two sets of people volunteered to coordinate the projects suggested by our readers (I LOVE the emergent leadership!).  Here's what you need to know.  Book Club: Julie and Melanie will coordinate our Book Club.  In upcoming days/weeks they will communicate with the readers via the comment section to get an idea of what kind of book viewers might like to read... and other details.  Holiday Service Project: Sue, Maureen, and Brian will work on this.  Sue will serve as the primary coordinator (meaning we will communicate back and forth).  In the next few weeks you will hear more from them as they seek feedback from you and lay out a time line.
Enough.  Signing off until tomorrow...

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