2017 was for me an unexpectedly transformational year: one of professional growth, frustration, bewilderment, excitement and above all, constant change, getting organized, and facing fresh challenges.

For starters, I was able to focus on my business website with the help and patience of the talented Kim Bultsma at Content a la Mode I had already decided to exchange the corporate work environment and steady paycheck for the working/not working adventure of self-employment, and a website is a necessity. While my new career combined my knowledge and love of photography, publishing and organizing, living the freelance life took some getting used to. But I come from a long line of entrepreneurial salespeople, so the transition felt like a natural progression on many levels. And working with clients right after launching confirmed the value and ongoing need of professional photo organizing for anyone dealing with image overload in their photo archive.

We’ve all heard the saying it’s hard be of assistance to others if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. With that in mind, the first thing I did when starting out was to get my personal photo collection organized, which was fairly straightforward, as it is relatively small (about 1000 print and digital photos). The reason for that is twofold. First, I lost most of my childhood photos in two house fires. Those events were devastating on many levels. Yet they taught me valuable lessons in my desire to hold on to possessions, as well as how difficult it is to lose one-of-a-kind images forever (there was no internet or back up/ cloud storage options back then). Second, thanks to ongoing training with APPO (the Association of Personal Photo Organizers) that I belong to, tightly editing my photos is an ongoing passion and pastime.

Once my core personal photo collection was organized, I looked around to see what other areas of my life needed that sort of attention. As a solopreneur working from home, my wardrobe seemed the next best place to focus. I did a search on minimalism and found the work of simplicity experts and bloggers Courtney Carver and Cait Flanders. Their wisdom was a revelation and a guide in how to not get overwhelmed when starting to declutter. Courtney’s suggestion of considering a wardrobe of 33 and fitness routine, so getting rid of clothes that no longer fit became easier (especially if they were from my office-working days). I had too many clothes and shoes I never wore, and until I was able to part with most of them I hadn’t realized their emotional weight. Reminders of my previous work life no longer served their purpose in helping me transform into the current version of me.

My husband recently suggested this mantra for 2018 and beyond and I’m running with it: Save the Best and Delete the Rest! Perhaps you can find ways to incorporate the best/less philosophy into your life – be it digital or analog photos, clothing, sentimental items, unhealthy habits, excess stuff, etc. You may find having less makes you feel richer. It certainly does now for me, and it’s worth the effort.