Back in NYC after years of working, now in need of organization help
August 30, 2014 7:13 PM   Subscribe

After four years of working for film festivals in various cities, and another few years living and working at a private school, I've come back to New York City to get my Master's while living at la maison famille. But nearly everything I own other than my clothes and my laptop is in boxes, either in my family's house or in storage. Some of those boxes haven't been opened since 2004. What I have now is a three part challenge, and if you can help with any part I'd be grateful.

(1) I am looking for a database or other record-keeping program (either Mac or platform-independent) that can help me keep track of the media I own -- books, music, movies or TV shows on DVDs and VHS (I'm old). Bonus points if it saves my typing fingers by using a scanner or phone camera to read barcodes on the product. Extra bonus points if the program allows me to add the titles that I only own digital versions of, and can let me note separate versions of each (ie. a vinyl album and the digital rip thereof (perfect for letting me know which ones I haven't ripped yet!) or a CD and the MP3 backup).

(2) I have a lot of memorabilia: leftover programs, ticket stubs, autographs from my film festival days, and a lot of other papers which evoke memories. I'd like to keep it all in some accessible way, I'm not sure if "scrapbooking" is the right word, but I want to be able to arrange it chronologically. This doesn't need an app so much as an organized approach. does anyone have any good pointers or links to resources on this front?

(3) Photos: Between my mother and myself, we have thousands and thousands of photos (mostly 3x5 or 4x6) of friends and relatives. My mom's much better at identifying these folks than I am, so what I'd want to do is scan hundreds of them each time I'm home, and give her some time to identify them all. I think iPhoto is sufficient for the "tagging" part, but I'm not looking forward to laying them all on a flatbed scanner and then dividing up the images, does anyone recommend a fast scanner or way to mass import them all?

Thanks for any pointers you can give. I'll share progress reports and opinions on how various methods are working out, if there's interest.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta to Home & Garden (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Digitize the lot of it.

Media should all go in the cloud and a hard drive and donate the physical copies to the library. If you need the actual item again, go to the library and check it out.

The paper stuff SHOULD be digitized. It's not like it has intrinsic value. Feel free to have a bonfire of the lot of it once it's in the web.

Burn discs and make web pages.

Same with the photos. You can pay people to do this for you if you don't like the thought of doing it yourself. Fotobridge for example.

Here's what professional organizers say about "sentimental value." Either it's given the proper respect in your home and it's displayed well, or it's trash in a box.

Not EVERYTHING can be saved. It just can't. Of the memorabilia, pick a few items and have them shadowboxed or framed professionally and give them a place of honor in your home. The rest can be put online. Perhaps scan a few things from a particular festival and write a blog post about your memories of the event.

If you feel you MUST keep it all, you can either scrapbook them yourself or hire someone to do it for you.

Andy Warhol never let got of ANYTHING. He kept his archives in shoe boxes arranged by dates. If you want to do this, ULINE offers clear plastic boxes in bulk.

We are so blessed to be in the age where to keep and enjoy our media we don't have to keep it around in actual containers around us, but we can have access to it anytime anywhere electronically.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:09 AM on August 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

For item 1, search the app store for "delicious monster". It is an amazing media library that can scan UPCs using your computer's camera.
posted by cCranium at 5:24 PM on August 31, 2014

a fast scanner or way to mass import them all?
Look at groupon type sites for a deal on a place that will scan them for you. Compare the rate they offer with how fast you can scan to see if it would really save you money to do them yourself. You can still do it in batches so it doesn't cost you a lot up front.
posted by soelo at 9:29 AM on September 3, 2014

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