Monday, December 24, 2012

Motivation Monday – Organization

Organization seems to be the bane of my existence.  Every few years I seem to try to organize my notes, photos, books, documentation and so on.  It lasts for a little while, then seems to completely fall apart.

Seeing the blogging prompt for Motivation Monday, I decided to make an attempt, once again, to get organized.

I started with my physical pile of “stuff”.

A couple of years ago I bought a bin to hold hanging folders.  I used it correctly for a while, then just starting putting things into it, without folders.  It became sort of a catch-all for my genealogical papers and books.  After a bit, the bin filled up, so I added a cardboard box to the system.  Then I started joining various genealogical organizations, which meant trying to organize magazines, newsletters, and mailings.

Last night I dragged all of this stuff, including books from my shelves, into my living room and sat down to organize.

My first step was to empty the boxes.  Next, I grabbed 26 hanging file folders and labeled them A to Z.  These I placed into the hanging bin.  The next step was to go through each pile, paper by paper and book by book, filing them in the folders by the first letter of the surname the item was associated with.  Some items didn’t fit a particular surname, or were too large to fit into the folders.  These I put aside into a “general” pile.

My next step was to grab the “A” folder, sort the items in it by individual surname, then put those piles into new folders that were then put back into the “A” folder.  Then I moved onto “B”, “C”, and so on.  My files and photos from my two boxes of “stuff” are now organized alphabetically by surname.

Finally, I organized my books and magazines.  While documentation and photos went into the hanging file, I placed the books and magazines in the cardboard box.  Later I’ll put these on a shelf where they’ll be easily accessible.

At some point I’ll need to tackle my digital files and photos.  These, unfortunately, are scattered across at least four different PCs, and have been organized (or disorganized) in various different ways over the years.  Ideally, I’d like to get these all on a single machine, and organized by surname like my physical files.

That job may need another Motivational Monday.


  1. I'm glad you were able to organize the physical stuff. Perhaps having a visually ordered genealogy filing system will be the motivation you need to organize the photos. My first suggestion, if I may, is to just get all the digital files on one computer. That's half the battle right there. Then you can move on to sorting the files. Good luck!

    1. Thanks! I actually started moving some files last week. First I organized what was already on my laptop, then I moved files (about 600 tombstone photos) from my oldest machine to the laptop. Now I just need to find the time to go through the photos, delete duplicates, and file them by surname.