I just heard someone say that he takes thousands of photos a year, and then spends one day cataloging and organizing them all. For a few minutes, I sat there shocked. The organizer in me was thinking, man, I bet that is one very long day!
I do not take thousands of photos a year, but I probably take hundreds of them. And I do spend a lot of time filing them, but I work on them about once a month, not once a year. If I waited until once a year to manage my photos, it would take me days and days to finish that project. It’s like that old saying… “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” But why wait until it becomes an elephant? Tackle this project a little at a time when you only have a little bit to tackle.
I store my photos a couple of different ways. One, I still print a hard copy of most of my pictures, and I store these in a photo storage box. More on that in a minute. Two, I store my digital pictures in files on my hard drive and automatic copies of them in Picasa. Again, I’ll explain more on that. Three, I make a photo album every year using my favorite photos and a website like Shutterfly, My Publisher, or Snapfish.
I buy an archival photo box like this. I can store several years’ worth of photos in each box. Label the index cards that come with the box, or purchase your own. I label the index cards with the year, and then I put photos in sandwich bags in order to divide them into easily accessible chunks. Each sandwich bag is labeled with the month and then important dates that happened that month.
ONLINE AND HARDDRIVE STORAGE
Storing photos on your hard drive is easy to do, and it’s very easy to file them in date order. First, my pictures folder is divided by year, then by months. If I took a picture in April of 2007, it is easy to find it. Also, as we upload photos to our computer, they are automatically sent to Google’s Picasa photo storage. I never have to worry about losing photos if my hard drive gets wiped out because they are stored online in the cloud. (I really don’t understand this, but I know that it works.)
Every year in January, I work up an album using online photo album websites like here or here. It takes no time at all; I finish the album over the course of a week or so, working a little bit at a time. On a side note, if you scrapbook, I think that is wonderful. I used to scrapbook. But if you have big plans to scrapbook, and instead you have guilt about never getting to the scrapbooks, maybe it is time to give up the dream, and do a quick online baby book. Save yourself the time and guilt! These online books are incredible and a great way to save your memories.
OTHER PHOTO STORAGE IDEAS
I have friends that use Project Life. I have never used it, but have heard great things about its ease of use. Also, sites like Picplum, CanvasPop, Printstagram, and Snapstagram print your instagram pictures in a variety of formats for your viewing pleasure. So fun!
A few years back, we had to go through a suitcase (literally, a suitcase) of photos without names, dates, or any kind of distinguishing marks from my grandparents. We didn’t know who was in the photo or why it was taken, and we took to guessing a lot. I hope that my grandkids will be able to go through my photos with a little more ease, and they will know for sure that the photo they are looking at is of their mother posing for a Facebook selfie.