Dealing with digital photo clutter by emailing my kiddo daily

emaildaily

At one point I had over 3000 images of Margs on my iPhone.  I had no idea how many I’d accumulated until one day I was faced with a storage problem that wouldn’t allow me to snap any new photos.

You see, weeks after Margs was born I realized I had hardly any photos of her with me. There were a ton of pictures of Mer and Margs but only a handful of pictures of me with my little girl. (Sadly, I don’t think I have any photos with her from when she was actually born) What ensued was a hormone raged argument meltdown initiated by me accusing Mer of not wanting to digitally document my relationship with Margs. Although I admit this was completely blown out of proportion (I blame the post partum hormones and the start of my post partum depression) the reality was that Mer just didn’t think to take photos of our growing little girl. Once I calmed down, I explained to Mer that it was extremely important to me that Margs grow up with photos of us with her at every stage of her life. Since then, my dear husband snaps photos on the regular and now, we’re faced with thousands of photos creating a sea of digital clutter that can get very overwhelming.

Mer and I have decided that once a year we’d look through the photos we’ve taken and go print the images at our local photo print shop (this will actually be part of her yearly birthday presents). Digital photos are awesome but I cannot tell you how disappointing it is to try and find photos from a certain event, holiday or get together only to find out that they’ve been deleted or lost somewhere within the folders of the computer. So, when it came to dealing with the zillions of photos we take of her we had to come up with a system because we did not want to lose any along the way. Printing them helps reduce  the volume but because we opt to print the “best” photos there are often a bunch of really awesome ones that don’t make the cut and I cannot bring myself to trash them.

Instead of deleting them we’ve decided to email them to Margs.

ducks

One of my recent emails contained an image of Margs with a fleet of rubber ducks explaining how the only way to get her to sit in the bath long enough to get bathed is to throw in 2 dozen rubber duckies.

Yup, my 14 month old has her own gmail address and she gets emails from me, her father and her bubbie on the regular.

I try to email her daily. Sometimes the emails are short, other times long. Most days, they include the photos I’ve snapped of her with a summary of what we’ve done that day and a description of any relevant news stories that I think are important (history buff in me) with a brief explanation of why I’ve included them for her.

We don’t open or read her email (other than to check that the emails were making their way through in the beginning). Our goal is to continue emailing her regularly to accumulate her digital story so that she can read and appreciate them at her own speed when she’s older.

Although I think technology can be extremely scary when it comes to children. I do think if used carefully it can be a wonderful resource. In our case, we’re using it to create a time stamped life story for our little girl that she can read when she’s old enough.

We haven’t decided when we’ll give her the password. 16, 18? We’ll see how it goes. (Hopefully gmail will still be around by then) But for now, we’re having an absolute blast sending her little notes and watching her inbox grow.

How do you deal with photo clutter in your house?

Save

Advertisements

Revisiting Kon Mari a Year Later.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the links to any of the products mentioned below.

Have you read Kon Mari? I’m sure most people who get here from visiting the #minimalism tag will know all about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. If not, the book basically describes Kon Mari’s method of tidying which is built on the premise that items that bring you joy remain while all the rest are discarded. It’s essentially a how-to guide for decluttering and organizing your home.

images

I first read it last year while on bed rest – I enjoyed it the first time around but didn’t necessarily agree with many of her beliefs (more about that another day, maybe.) Anyway, while sorting some books recently I came across it again and decided to give it a second read (ha! take that Kon Mari!).

This time, I read it and felt far more inspired and connected to her words. I still don’t really agree with some of her beliefs. Namely, her notions about objects of sentimental value, collections and photos.   But, I felt far more in touch with what she was saying and sort of had a lightbulb moment.

Maybe, just maybe I’ve been quasi Kon Maring my home and life without really knowing I was doing it. Maybe, just maybe her method allowed me to regain some control over my life – maybe, it’s helped me close a very dark chapter in my life.

Here’s what nearly through me off my chair.

“ when you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too”

I find it ironic that my need to simplify really peaked after Margs was born. I find it even more ironic that I’ve been feeling my best physically and emotionally since I’ve minimized the stuff in my life. Could it be that I’ve somehow managed to finally put the past behind me? Is it possible that Kon Mari subconsciously inspired me to declutter my life so that I could finally accept my heartbreak and move through the final stages of my grief?

I’ll never get over losing my babies. I’ll never forget nor will I every fully stop grieving for the future I should have had with them- perhaps though, I’ve minimized my life as a way to bring joy back into my life and finally find the peace I’ve been searching for for so long.

These last few months have involved holding, touching and looking at things that reminded me of my lost babies. One day it was a pair of maternity jeans I wore with the twins. Another it was a sonogram photo of our second set of lost twins. I’ve handled candle holders used for vigils to honor these lost little ones. I’ve been faced with dried flowers from their funerals and hospital bracelets from my numerous surgeries.

original

Maybe, just maybe, I’ve finally faced my past.

How I keep my kids clothing & toys under control

We had a lovely weekend. On Saturday, we were busy preparing for Margs’ small birthday party. Our guests arrived around 4pm and stayed late into the night. We had an amazing time celebrating this little girl. Delicious food (most of it was bought prepared) and even better company made for a really wonderful evening. Margs was surrounded by her favourite people and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

IMG_1689

Sunday was spent at home relaxing. Margs was exhausted from the previous nights excitement, so while she took extra long naps I got working on organizing her toys and clothing.

Margs received a bunch of lovely new outfits from her grandparents and fun new toys from her aunts and uncles. All this new stuff needed to be put away and to make room for it I had to sort what she already had.

I started with her toys.

IMG_1751

Margs doesn’t have that many toys really. I try to keep toy clutter to a minimum (purging every other month or so) by cycling out the toys that are broken (garbage) or no longer age appropriate (I send these to the consignment shop for store credit).

Pictured above is the contents of her toy box that sits in our living room. In all, there were 45 toys. I find that it helps immensely to lay them out this way. It helps you visually see what toy inventory you have so you can begin choosing which toys will remain and which ones will go. First, I removed all the toys that were broken or damaged. Then, from the lot I had left I removed any toys that were no longer age appropriate or that Margs shows no interest for. At this point I was left with nearly half what I started with. My final swoop involved choosing toys to keep that I know she enjoys and that provide her with positive stimulation.

IMG_1754

22 toys remained.

IMG_1757

I purposely store her toys in a medium sized cloth basket. (2 ft by 3ft and 1 ft high) Mer and I were going to buy her a wooden toy box but after some reflection we realized that the larger the capacity of the container the more likely we were to fill it with toys that really served no purpose. So, I purchased this smallish basket and it’s working out wonderfully. Its small size forces us to sort through her toys often. It also makes us conscious of what we do buy because we’ve got an unwritten rule that the box cannot overflow. We treat it like prime real estate around here so we are extra careful when adding to her toy collection.

I approach her clothing situation much the same way. Whenever new pieces arrive I make it a point to let go of items that are either unusable (stained, ripped) or too small. Kids grow at such an alarming rate that there is always something in their wardrobe that they are about to outgrow. To keep her wardrobe under control I’m constantly switching out items so that we’re not overwhelmed with a huge volume of baby clothes because they can accumulate incredibly quickly if you’re not keeping on top of it.

IMG_1675

Here is her one drawer of outfits. (Yup, she’s only got one drawer of clothes).

Margs’ clothes are folded such that each bundle includes a top and bottom. It makes changing her a breeze because each one is a set and I do not have to waste time or energy matching any of her clothes. I fold them this way fresh from the dryer and just pop the clothes back into their respective slots when I’m done.

We basically live by the “one in one out rule” around here when it comes to Margs. Babies Toddlers (waaaah!) have and need tons of stuff. To keep things as simple as possible we tend to get rid of the same number of items as we bring in. It really does help keep things simple, organized and manageable.

A peek in my closet & the perks of having a smaller wardrobe.

Here’s my closet.

IMG_1643

I currently own: 35 tops (some are not pictured here), 10 bottoms, 4 bags (including a back pack) and 6 pairs of shoes. To some it might seem like a ton of clothing but I’m coming from a place where I hoarded clothes so this is a huge step in the right direction for me. All these pieces fit correctly, are comfortable and most importantly are suitable for my current clothing needs as a stay at home mom. There are a few casual shirts that I’m considering doing away with but for now I’m not convinced that I’m better off without them – so I’m putting that on the back burner for now.

I organize it so that like items are together so my hanging clothes from front to back include cardigans, long sleeve bulky winter sweaters and knits. T-shirts and lounge wear are folded in an armoire along with tights and jogging pants.  On the wall shelf to the left, I have one shelf of shoes, a shelf of bottoms, one shelf of bags and a box that holds important mementos like photos. On the upper shelf there is an empty overnight bag, a small box that holds the deed to our home and other important documents and an umbrella.

Mer’s half of the closet is virtually identical. Here’s a partial shot of his shelf portion that I snapped while trying to get the best angle of my stuff. It’s organized much the same way.

IMG_1647

Mer and I donated another 80 or so items of clothing over the weekend (mostly his stuff – since my wardrobe has really been paired down to a minimum ). These items were just sitting in boxes waiting to be unpacked. He took one look at the stuff and decided that since he hasn’t used it in over six months we’d just donate the lot instead of cluttering up our limited closet space.

Living this way and adopting a more minimalistic approach to our wardrobe(our whole life really) is proving to have a few very clear advantages.

1/ Getting dressed is a breeze. I’d often spend a good 20 minutes ruffling through my messy closet or armoire hunting for something to wear. I’d try on various bottoms and tops and get frustrated when items didn’t fit correctly. I’d then lump them up and shove them wherever they fit to just be done with it. This led to chaos and a really disorganized closet space. Now, I know that everything fits well, I know exactly what I have and I grab the items I want for the day. A smaller amount of clothing makes the getting dressed portion of my day far less stressful.

2/ My daily outfits are more varied. Ironically,  I wear more items of clothing now than ever before. I assume it’s because I now know that every piece in my collection fits correctly and I don’t reach for “safe” choices anymore. I used to get so frustrated (See #1) that I’d just wear the same thing over and over again. Now, I mix and match more freely and feel far better about what I’m wearing.

3/ I take better care of my clothing. I now have the space to house my clothing and take care of it properly. I’m no longer dealing with too many clothes and a lack of space. Folding, hanging and organizing them is easy and I want to do it wheras before it was more of “shove it anywhere it fits” situation. The result is that my clothing is always organized and hopefully it’ll improve each items longevity.

4/ Doing laundry isn’t a hassle anymore. I used to hate laundry day because (See #1, #2,#3) it required I fold and find a home for clothes. I’d often leave clothing laying around because it was easier to just store it in Margs’ crib (she doesn’t sleep in there). Eventually, the clothing would pile up so much that I wouldn’t be able to find pieces of clothing I was looking for – our room also always looked like a tornado had gone through. Now, our laundry is simple because every item has a home – putting things away is simple and takes me less than five minutes.