photo album stock photo

Each photo album was very well labeled with the name of the family on the outside binder and the years that the album covered.

I learned this week where I got my sense of organization. Well, maybe I knew it all along, but this week it become much more apparent.

My dear mom lost her battle to Alzheimer’s late last week. We laid her to rest on Monday. We are at peace knowing that she now knows who all of us are and is no longer confused.

As we were picking out her outfit, and looking for jewelry for her to wear, we found that all of her jewelry was in mini cupcake trays or regular size cupcake trays. They were stacked in her drawers. The earrings were together in the mini trays and then necklaces and bracelets were in the larger trays.

My mom was 84 years old.

I thought it was clever to use cupcake trays. I know during the time that I have been a professional organizer I like to recommend ice cube trays to organize small pieces of jewelry. They are lightweight and stack very well on top of each other. Mom was way ahead of her time!

Next up was getting together photographs for the display boards and the video that would play during the visitation. We knew we wanted to have a picture of each grandchild (15 in all) with their grandma to display.

Each photo album was very well labeled with the name of the family on the outside binder and the years that the album covered. I knew that I could find pictures of my three kids with grandma in the Randall album.

What we did not realize is we would know exactly when and where each photo was taken because Mom was great at documenting every single photo on the back. We shared so many memories while flipping through those pages of photo albums.

Of course, most of us could place the location and close to the correct year, but the old black and white photos would have been a challenge.

My mom had made a scrapbook for her high school years and early marriage (65 years ago). All in black and white back then. Every photo was documented again, with the date and who they were. This made our job so easy.

As we removed photos from the various albums, we wrote down exactly where each photo came from so, we could return them to their proper place.

Finally, as we were locating the photo albums, we came across another sign of organization. We found a three-ring binder with page protectors, each holding a page of lined paper full of writings. There were a couple photographs, too.

My mom loved to write, especially rhymes and poems. She would write poems to the grandkids for Valentine’s Day each year.

This binder contained many poems but also many stories, some of which we had never heard. Every page was dated and signed.

As we read through these pages, we uncovered some wonderful history about our family. We laughed and cried while reading through it.

Mom’s writings showed us how much she loved our dad and each and every one of us. How much she enjoyed her life and felt blessed.

We decided to read three of her writings at the service as her eulogy. It was perfect and everyone in attendance heard a little piece of our dear mom. We were all so happy to have found that album.

So yes, I would say my mom was very organized, and I in turn also am very organized. In our case, I do believe organization is hereditary, but I also believe every single person can learn how to be organized, too!

Beth Randall, of Illinois, is a professional speaker and professional organizer. She can be reached through the Daily Journal at