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854 North Central Street
Knoxville, TN, 37917
United States

(865) 245-9080

Help You Dwell is a home and workspace organizing service based in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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Blog

organizing how to: printed photographs

Caroline Smith

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Unless you are exceptionally organized, chances are, you have boxes of photos somewhere in your home just waiting to be sorted and put into albums. Printed photos are one of the most commonly unorganized items in a home. You probably had every intention of getting to it before it all piled up over the years but life happened and now it's overwhelming. During the harsh heat and dog days of summer, this is the perfect project to work on inside!

Here is our guide to getting your photographs sorted, purged, and ready for albums!

1. Goals: Establish your desire for the photos.  Do you prefer a bound book like snapfish where you upload your pictures to be made into a book or do you like the old school hard copy photo albums? Would you prefer chronological albums or themed albums? Will your photo albums be somewhere that is easily accessible and often looked through? Would you like to frame pictures in your home? Once you have established your goal for your pictures you will have a more clear path forward.

2. Sorting: If you have boxes of undated pictures that seem to be in no particular order, it can be a daunting task to sort. We suggest beginning by writing down a timeline of life events. Births, marriages, graduations, family trips, special birthday parties, deaths, etc. This will help you date pictures along the way. Once you have a timeline to refer back to, grab some index cards and make an index card for each year that you have pictures from. (If you have old historical pictures of family from before you were born, we recommend setting those aside and making that a separate project. Lay out your index cards and start sorting. As you go, if you come across blurry, poorly cropped, or duplicate pictures, discard them along the way. The bulk of your time will be spent in this stage so give yourself time and space but set a deadline for yourself. Commit to sorting for 30 minutes a day for 2 weeks and see how far you get! You could even listen to a podcast or a book on audible while you sort. If you don't have the space to lay pictures out all over the floor, try an extra large accordion file instead.

*If your goal is themed albums rather than chronological, you can create index cards with event names rather than years.

3. Purging: Once you've sorted your pictures by year, go through each year and sort by event-- this will help you find more duplicates to eliminate. Take the time to think about the kinds of pictures you would enjoy having in an album. You probably don't need 12 pictures of Jim Bob's birthday cake from every possible angle. Pick out the best pictures and scrap the rest. We know it can feel hard to get rid of pictures but if we are being honest, unless pictures are displayed or put into albums they are rarely enjoyed and end up just taking up space.

4. Compiling: If you've opted for traditional photo albums, purchase a few and start from the beginning. If you are going in order or by event, it's easier for you or someone else to help you or for someone else to pick up where you left off if you don't end up finishing your project in a timely fashion.

5. Do the happy dance--- because you no longer have boxes of pictures taking up space in your closets--in fact, you now have beautiful records of you and your family that are easy to peruse whenever you'd like!

As always, if you'd like us to do the work for you-- we'd be glad to!

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Good intentions and Mothers Day thoughts

Caroline Smith

Well folks.... I had good intentions. I was going to blog about local mothers day specials and give-aways but then I gave my 7 month old a bath, put him to bed, made dinner, and had a 2 hour conversation with my husband about differences of opinions in parenting styles and here we are. It's 9:22pm on Wednesday night and the amount of time it would take me to research local specials feels exhausting. So instead, enjoy some pretty pictures of flowers and a few thoughts--because, why not?

Sunday will be my first mother's day as a mama and that feels strange and good. Most days I wake up still a little bit in shock that I'm responsible for a little human. It's rewarding and hard, a blessing and a challenge, humbling and inconvenient, tiring and invigorating. I'm so thankful for little Hank (hankypants, beetle, hankasaurus rex--take your pick) and so thankful for Andrew and the fact that he is such a hands on, involved, great dad and life partner! 

SO to all of you mama's out there, give yourself a break this week--- and when you are feeling like you are dropping the ball (like I do with this blog entry) just remember that a few months from now, honestly probably a few days from now, no one will remember that you didn't get dinner made and opted for taco bell, let the laundry build up to an obscene amount, didn't vacuum your living room for a month, or wrote a blog that wasn't informative or helpful in terms of organizing.  You are doing a great job and beating yourself up about the little things is just straight up not helpful. Go get yourself a glass of rose', drink it in bed, and remind yourself that the laundry and everything else can wait until tomorrow.

Cheers! and Grace and Peace to you all!

 

-Caroline

a tribute to the mom's behind HYD

Caroline Smith

 Taryn and her mom

Taryn and her mom

Sometimes I joke that Help You Dwell, for me, is a preparation for helping my own mom let go of so many of her treasures someday. There’s probably some truth to that. However, one of the biggest reasons I think I have such compassion for our clients and their things is because I learned from my mom how certain family heirlooms, gifts from loved ones, or items connected to a memory can be such important parts of who we are. My mom has such an incredible love and gift of making a home tell the story of one’s life. Growing up surrounded by family pieces, treasures from my mom’s antique business, handmade gifts from her dearest friends, and photos of people and places from past adventures gave me such a sense of what home is. I’m so thankful that my mother never jumped on the next home decor trend but instead, thoughtfully collected the items that told her story, our family’s story. Thanks so much mom for this legacy, for teaching me to treasure those things that are visible extensions of ourselves, our family, and the people we love. 

 Katie and her mom

Katie and her mom

When I came to realize that my mom had always been much more than a guide and a parent to me, I knew I was incredibly blessed. She's my dearest friend and the woman I hope to be like. My mom is the one I call when I need an honest answer, encouragement, or just a good laugh. She never misses an opportunity to cut up and crack a joke to lighten the mood. Even though we may talk over each other and throw some sass around, she communicates so much understanding and empathy to me in every situation. Her heart has room for everyone she meets, it must be bursting at the seems with all of the love she carries even for mere strangers who may be hurting. She is deeply affected by the world and people around her, and I think this is her greatest strength. There's nothing quite as good as the comforting back or head scratches my mom gave when I was sick or sad. Even though I don't still live in the same city or even state, her phone calls are the most necessary and comforting conversations I can think of. Mom, I hope to carry the joy and pain of everyone I meet, the same way you do. You are fragrant of Christ - with your lighthearted humor, kindness and deep compassion. Thanks for being my dearest friend and my sweet mama. 

 Caroline and her mom

Caroline and her mom

I have to admit that I come by my organizational habits honestly. My mom is exceptionally organized! One of the most valuable things I've learned from my mom about making a home, is to hold out for pieces that you love and pieces that are quality. Although she would say she holds out almost to a fault, her furniture decisions always last decades, have a timeless quality to them, and she has few regrets. You will never find my mom making an impulsive purchase. Although I am not as disciplined as she is, she instilled a thoughtful way of decorating that I am thankful for. Aside from her organizational and decorative tips, she has been my biggest cheerleader when it comes to Help You Dwell and my desire to bring peace and order to our clients homes. Mama, thanks for leading by example and always supporting me in my wild escapades! Love you!

Here are few more HYD'ers and their mom's, daughters, and grand daughters!

 Erin and her mom

Erin and her mom

 Cassie and her mama

Cassie and her mama

 Tammy and her girls

Tammy and her girls