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Take photos to get the real picture

Posted by frankie_in_zone_7 (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 10, 11 at 13:19

I have posted almost this same thing on the Kitchen forum, where folks have been posting photos of their beautiful rooms. But it was driven by some of my recent de-cluttering and spring re-organization energy spurt and so more related to organizing spaces and habits.
I have been doing my spring cleaning and re-arranging, especially bookshelves and counters/tabletops, and also was going through some recent family photos to pick some for framing. Naturally some are taken in our home at different times of year and over several years.

In these photos, the clutter or lack thereof, and the effect of "artful clutter" vs that which just looks bad and gives bad vibes, is so apparent, same for colors, contrasts, lighting and so forth. In different holiday photos I can also really see "successful" holiday decorating ideas vs. ones that didn't cut the mustard. In the photos the "good" things and the "bad" things really jump out at you and sometimes in this sequence of photos in one space you can compare, wow, I had this all just right (or wrong) here, and then when I re-arranged that it changed everything.

It has been very rainy and cloudy here the past week, but sun is on the way. Over the weekend I plan to take a series of photos (natural daylight helps a lot) of various rooms, shelves, table tops and so forth and see if I can compare them to what I thought I was achieving or trying to achieve. One example was I found some kitchen photos and while I thought at the time it was pretty cleaned up, in the photo there is just chaos. "Desired" effect can vary with room or area, such as, calming effect may be what I want in one area vs. interesting or exciting view or arrangement somewhere else. I have a lot of bookshelves and try to combine books with other objects and find photos especially useful to see what looks good.

Of course there is an effect of looking at a photo vs. being in the space yourself, in which you actually experience the room differently, so that, I believe, just as you might dress or make-up someone one way for TV and another way for live, photography may create both constraints and liberties not present in real life, but still, the photos can help in some ways. You can notice items and at least ask, is that necessary? Especially if there are things that are making life more complicated, or you're thinking you might toss or replace.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Take photos to get the real picture

My husband "shamed" me into cleaning up after Christmas by videotaping a walk thru all our rooms. Tree looked disgusting, empty gift boxes were stacked up, laundry room a jumble of clean and dirty clothes. I made him erase the tape after I was done straightening. Or as my Grandma used to say "picking up the house."

RE: Take photos to get the real picture

"My husband "shamed" me into cleaning up ..."

Gee, do you know how that sounds? I sure hope you two have a solid agreement that he does all of one kind work and you do all the housework. 15 minutes of videotaping could have been used stacking up some boxes or calling you to join him in a quick sprucing up.

RE: Take photos to get the real picture

No, it wasn't a major domestic battle. I just FELT ashamed after seeing my cluttery house live on tape! Hubby and I do both share domestic chores. He'll shop and cook and does auto maintenance and some outdoor work. Plus he cleans up after dinner and provides "muscle" when I can't open a jar lid! We do get along. Not like he said "NYA.NYA.NYA" to me.

RE: Take photos to get the real picture

Frankie, I agree that photos can be a bit of a wake-up-call and reality check, plus reminder of what worked and didn't. One of my examples that is probably shared by others is my fridge being a mess of school photos and other detritus that looks so familiar I don't even notice it, but on a photo is just a "yeesh, why do I have that?". One day my husband and son were both in the kitchen - such an unusual sight that I took a photo. That led me to both putting some OTHER nice pictures of my kids in frames in OTHER places in the house (have never previously been a pictures in frames kind of person) and also to getting a new fridge (OK, that was kind of an indirect result, but it got me ready to change).

Also, due to our funny house layout, I've rearranged the furniture more times than I care to remember as the kids have grown and our needs have changed - in fact, I don't remember several iterations. Some photos have me saying 'hey, that actually worked kind of well" or have prevented me from making the same mistake again :-)

When I want to sell some furniture, whether to post on craigslist or on consignment, it is amazing how hard it can be to actually make things fully presentable on a photo (not to mention to photograph the house for discussion on a forum). One issue for me is that the flash picks up every molecule of dust. But I see a lot of photos on craigslist where people don't take the trouble, and knowing how much trouble it is, I sympathize, but not enough to refrain from saying to the screen "would it have killed you to move that??"


RE: Take photos to get the real picture

Another reason to take the pictures is that it can help you a lot in preplanning your organizing. It reminds you of what stuff you actually have in the room, so you can start thinking about categorizing and how much space you will need to store various things.

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