Once upon a time, there were cameras. Cameras that used rolls of film that you would have to take to a photo lab to be developed. You never were sure how these pictures would turn out. It was always a surprise when you got the white envelope back with all 24 of your pictures in it. You had to buy these rolls of film. Then you had to pay for the images to be revealed. You had to be careful about which pictures you took, because you only had so many chances to get a good one. Nevertheless, those of us who are old enough to remember such bygone days still managed to rack up an astounding pile of pictures–that mean nothing. (Let’s not even talk about digital cameras! Actually, let’s talk about them–but next week).
I have pictures of mystery people at my wedding reception. These pictures are always very flattering. They are pictures of people chewing, their cheeks extended awkardly. They are pictures of peoples’ backs as they talk to my husband. There are blurry pictures of people working in the kitchen. Yep. These are all proudly displayed in a photo album.
And don’t even get me started about all the pictures stored in those awful acid picture-eating albums. I honestly don’t even know where those are. But I need to find them! If nothing else, to save the pictures that I DO love.
Many of us have stacks of pictures saved in boxes that we–I don’t know–intend to look at in our old age? It’s time to look at them NOW and put the ones we love into a non-acid picture-eating album.
What about the artwork on our walls? Do we have pictures that we put up just because we have them? How about those framed posters from the 80s that have faded in the sun? What about cute wooden hangings we made at church that say, “Believe in Yourself.” There’s nothing wrong with cute wooden hangings, as long as they bring us joy! But that is the key–if you don’t love them, get rid of them. The painting below is one that we bought soon after we were married. Several years later, I met the artist and started bawling because of how much the painting meant to me. I’m not saying you have to cry uncontrollably when deciding what artwork to retain, but you should at least feel something really good when you look at it.
This challenge will take some time. In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Mari Kondo recommends taking every picture out of every album, holding it in your hand, and deciding if it brings you joy. I honestly don’t need to take them all out and hold them. I can look at them and decide pretty-much immediately if I want to keep them or not. But if you have trouble deciding, then you should hold the picture(s) and see how you feel.
I suggest breaking this challenge into two parts. The easiest part will be going through your home, looking at the artwork on your walls (and also knick-knacks on your counters, mantles, coffee tables, etc.) and discarding or donating the ones you don’t love. Be sure to go through every room, keeping in mind that you are only to discard things that are yours (or that you are responsible for. There is some artwork that belongs to my husband that I would really like to get rid of, but I can’t). The second part will be going through all your physical photos, discarding those you don’t love, and organizing the rest.
Your assignments for this week are:
- Read pages 118-120 in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
- Discard all physical photos that don’t bring you joy.
- Discard or donate all artwork and knick knacks that don’t bring you joy.
- Don’t think about people being offended if you throw away their picture! Trust me, they will never know. If you have pictures with people in them and you can’t remember their names (or had no idea what their names were in the first place,) throw them out!
- When dealing with pictures from special events, like weddings or graduations (which are emotional events) only keep those pictures that give you joy right now. By throwing away pictures, you are not throwing away memories! You have fully lived that moment already.
This challenge is based on the KonMari method found in the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. If you are just joining us, be sure to start at the beginning! It’s very important to go in order! You can also visit my Transform Your Home, Transform Your Life page for all the previous posts in this series. Don’t feel like you have to catch up if you are just finding this challenge now! Just make sure to start doing the weekly challenges from the beginning, and you will be fine!