8 Photo Organization Tips
January is the time to make New Year’s resolutions—whether it be losing a few pounds, getting your finances in order, spending more time with family and friends, or getting organized. The latter, specifically with your photos, is oftentimes at the top of people’s lists but ends up losing priority as the months tick by. But why? Because we all share the same overwhelming feelings of where to begin, how to tackle the project, etc. Add to that the emotions that go with photos, as they’re our memories at their finest, and it’s easy for this project to take a backseat.
If, God forbid, you suffer from fire, flood, or theft, everything in your home (minus children and pets) is replaceable with an insurance policy—except for your precious photos and memorabilia. Yet this is the one thing most of us ignore or put off because we don’t know what to do. We have a deer-in-the-headlights approach, and somewhere between guilt and fear, we freeze.
Is there an easy answer? Unfortunately, no. Yet, there are solutions. Follow this list to ensure 2019 is the year you make your photos into forever memories.
1. Commit to getting it done. Breaking it down into bite-sized chunks will result in success. The other key to this whole process is to begin with the end in mind. You must know where you’re headed, what your final goal is, and what you desire your photo collection to look like.
2. Ask yourself: What is the end goal? Albums, organized boxes, scanned photos, organized digital collections, framed photos, digital frames, etc. are all options. Everyone deserves one album that celebrates their childhood: toddler to teen. If your children haven’t graduated from high school yet that can still be an end goal and setting a plan in place will assist in making that project easy once graduation is on the horizon.
3. Don’t save every photo. Be selective when taking photos and add details to each one to identify the specifics of the memory. When taking a coffee break, add a photo delete break, and create albums for easy access of your memories.
4. Gather all your photos into one location, whether printed or digital. This means gathering all the printed photos that are stored away in boxes, drawers, closets, etc. For digital photos that means downloading from the multiple devices that are currently housing your photos. Then, create a system. For digital, choose a software that works best for you. Create folders for each year with sub-folders for each month. For printed, unless you already have some sort of chronological order to your photo mess, ditch that whole chronological thought and think people and themes. For example, for Son #1, themes include baby, birthday, school, etc. As photos are filed into themes, you can create a chronological order within the theme. For example, birthdays can be filed from first to most current.
During the process, delete or toss the extras—the duds, the blurry ones, and the duplicates. If you’re having a tough time purging more, wait until all photos are in one place, then go through and choose only the best ones. Remember the above example of your third birthday when you’re 50.
5. If you have both printed and digital photos, merge them. I’m not a big fan of scanning hundreds of photos unless you have them organized, purged, and have a plan. For example, if you’re going to create a digital album of your child’s life or are going to share with family and friends, I believe in the value of the printed photo. The chances of a printed photo getting lost, tossed, or misplaced is much less than that of a digital one.
6. Transfer and back up regularly. Invest in the cloud or external hard drive and back up your photos monthly. Be redundant and make extra copies for your family.
7. Print your photos and share them. Get your photos out of your computer, phone, and boxes, and share them with family and friends.
8. Along with your photos, and equally as important, is your memorabilia—from report cards to travel tickets. These aid in telling your story and deserve to be included into your photo collection organizing.
Truly, your photos are the most important possessions you have. They help us celebrate, remember, and honor who we are, what we have accomplished, and who we’ve impacted along our journey. We all have a story to tell, and photos are the best avenue to tell that story.
Take these tips, be diligent, and focus on the end goal you set for yourself. Here’s wishing that all of your New Year’s resolutions are good intentions that become reality.
By Melinda Hollis of Out of the Box and Judy Bujold of Captured Moments
For more info, visit otbphotoorganizing.com and judybujold.com.