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Post #5 – Photography Props & Organizational Storage!
Well in my first blog post I did say that I was going to get to my Photography Props & Organization Storage blog post up for you all to read, so here we go! To start I would like you to know that my organizational skills and having things in a neat and organized order started at a very young age. I received the Organizational Award at school in the fifth grade, lol. I also have my Masters Degree in Organizational Management, so just to be clear I like to ORGANIZE!
I think everything has a place, and should be kept as neat and organized as possible. Don’t get me wrong, life gets busy, we all get busy, but when things around me start to pile up (i.e, junk mail, new props coming in, boxes having to be recycled out, magazine subscriptions, etc) I try to deal with it quickly so that it is handled, put away, organized and neat… and as a side note: maybe one of my favorite days this year was when The Best of Martha Stewart Living Organizing Special Collectors Edition Magazine/Book was released, just saying.
When I started doing Photography Part Time in 2010 one of the first things I did was order in a lot of props — headbands, banners, hats, blankets, prop toys, wagons, barrels, baskets, baby beds, buckets, crates, and more! It was more like shop now, think later, ha! After a short while the props started to pile up, quickly. At one point they were taking up almost the entire spare bedroom. That didn’t really work for me, since that was a place for our guests. So early on I went through a small pop de-stash and decided to only use/re-use the ones that really worked for me. Next step cleaning out the guest bedroom and turing it back into a bedroom.
In order to do this the props made a slow migration into our 1/2 finished basement area. Which was great, because we got the guest room back, yay…BUT then we lost a lot of space in the basement finished area side. It was time to come up with a plan, one that would work to keep my house intact while also adding everything I needed for the business. My plan lead me to thinking it was finally time to finish the unfinished side of the basement, and to make a prop/storage specific area and go from there.
That whole room turned into somewhere I could store all my props in an organized fashion and manner things really came together and the other half of the basement was free from prop clutter. I needed a storage type system where I could keep everything together and cut the clutter, a rack system that would be able to handle all sorts of odd sized props, and my neatly stacked bins, here comes in Home Depot. They had exactly what I was looking for. Now everything is on a shelf, in clear containers (Thank you Container Store), and labeled for easy use and easy pulling. Was it easy? Heck no. Was it worth it, heck yes!
Steps For Prop Storage Success
1. Make a Plan
2. Take each day one day at a time. Move things as you have time, 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there, an afternoon, or on a weekend. It will all come together and remember Rome wasn’t built in a day.
3. Decide what type of storage system/labeling system works for you. Pick things in multiples like bins, baskets, etc for an organized look and feel. Color coordinate if you like as well.
4. Decide early on how easy you need this to be set up and how easily available you will need certain props to be pulled and later put back.
5. Cut the clutter and cut out, de-stash, donate, or sell props you aren’t currently using or used often enough to have space for new props to come in.
6. If your home, office, studio, or apartment doesn’t have a lot of space or a lot of extra space, get creative, headbands, hats, and clothes can all be hung on a clothes line, hats and headbands can compress easily as they are small, fold your blankets in a way that doesn’t take up too much bulk of your space, for theme photo sessions use prop pieces that can also be displayed as knick-knack pieces around your home, baskets can be used for multiple purposes, vintage soda crates can be great for photo sessions and later for newspaper/magazine/book storage.
7. For all the businesses that I have connected with over Facebook and Twitter and Etsy, when my props are mailed to me usually a Thank you card and/or business card is included in the package. I found a great way to keep them all in one place is to add them to a Pin Board so they aren’t shoved in a drawer, thrown away, or left in a pile of papers to never be found again. I keep this pin board close by to my props in case I need to contact or re-order certain items.
Now when I order props I already know I have a bin waiting and a label that can be made, a shelf to store it on and a way to organize it in a neat way. An organized prop system makes it all the more pleasurable to be able to go in and select and be able to find what I need when my sessions booked require prop usage.
I hope that these prop storage tips will help you along the way. I’m only sharing what has helped me, so if you can find anything useful to move forward with I’ll feel like I have done my job with this post. Please enjoy this small gallery below showing how some of my items are organized and please feel free to comment on the blog here below! Oh and I hardly ever get to use my Antique Preset so I used it here below, hehe!